08 Dec 2017

Taking Tech for Good to Finland

By Jessica

Last week we brought the tech for good movement to Helsinki to coincide with Slush, Northern Europe’s largest tech conference.

Over 200 people came to our Slush fringe event which we held at Demos Helsinki. They came to hear about tech for good and meet entrepreneurs from around the world using technology for social change.

While we showcased startups from Silicon Valley and London – including BGV alum Aparito – there were plenty of examples of tech for good in Finland to celebrate.

ResQ Club is a Finnish startup that wants to eliminate food waste. Their app connects people with restaurants and local businesses that have surplus food to sell at a reduced cost. Launched in January 2016, the service is now growing fast in Finland, Sweden and Germany, and this year they merged with German social startup MealSaver.

Despite this success Sauli Böhm, their chief revenue officer, acknowledges that they’re still a long way off reaching their end goal. He said the current product is like a band aid on a broken system, and in order to eliminate food waste they will need to work on changing the system altogether – a challenge they’re ready to take on.

Aape Pohjavirta is founder of Funzi, a startup delivering education and learning programmes which people access on their mobile phone. While it was originally designed for African markets with courses on employment and entrepreneurship, it’s being used in Finland to help refugees. Their ‘learning package’ provides refugees with information on the country’s everyday life, language and legal system, to ease the arrival and assimilation process.

We also heard from Fira, a Finnish construction company that wants to work with startups to improve the sustainability and impact of the construction industry. They’ve been using technology to create tools to help them co-design with the community, creating better buildings that meet the needs of the local area.  

We partnered with Demos Helsinki to deliver the event, they’re an independent think tank focusing on creating a more democratic and sustainable society. They’ve got an existing community of people and organisations working at the intersection of technology and social change – so it was a natural fit to bring them together under the umbrella of tech for good.

The event last week proved that there’s a strong demand for tech for good in Helsinki, and we hope there will be many more of these community building events long after the slush has settled and the snow has melted away.

It also proved that we can help people get tech for good events off the ground by sharing some of the lessons we’ve learned running the Tech for Good meetup in London, and opening up some of the branding, values and resources we’ve developed. We want to help grow the tech for good community, so this is something we hope to do a lot more of.