Innovation competition introduction

The Wholesale Market and Teurastamo area Testbed Innovation Competition

The innovation competition is organised to find new technological and other innovative solutions relating to food, plants and their production, packaging, circular economy and cleantech.

The deadline to enter the competition was on 19 November 2018. The project team and the jury will go trough the received 60 applications during the next month and will decide the most promising ones on December.

The Wholesale Market’s and Teurastamo’s open innovation competition is looking for new ideas for developing services and diverse entrepreneurial activities and for more refined solutions. The best ideas will be given €1,000–€50,000 for piloting new service and product innovations during winter and spring 2019. Additionally, the further development of the most innovative ideas will be advanced through acquisition of research and further studies and the arrangement of mentoring, for example, for internationalisation.

The Wholesale Market area in Sörnäinen, Helsinki, is a unique and busy trade centre next to Helsinki city centre and the new neighbourhood of Kalasatama. The area includes the lively food and urban culture area of Teurastamo, which was opened to the public in 2012 and hosts a variety of events, and a cluster of businesses involved in food production and retail as well as in traditional food and horticultural wholesale trade. There are currently around 150 companies in the Wholesale Market area, and it provides approximately 1,000 people with jobs directly and a 5,000 more indirectly. The area has excellent prerequisites for conducting B2B pilot projects and reaching young people willing to experiment and interested in food and culture, as well as people in the neighbouring districts.

Students, educational institutions, start-up companies and more refined companies are all welcome to participate. The bid can be either a preliminary idea or a more developed product or service concept.

The innovation competition is organised as part of the Wholesale Market’s testbed and innovation platform project, financed by Business Finland and the City of Helsinki.


The best bids will be awarded €1,000 and mentoring services to develop their idea into a more specific business concept. The mentoring services will be provided by business advisors from NewCo Helsinki. The awards will go to students and other participants without a business ID (e.g. communities and private persons).

The most promising business concepts and product and service solutions will be advanced by conducting pilot projects with a budget of €5,000–50,000. In addition, research, communication and mentoring services will be available for pilot projects in the Wholesale Market, Teurastamo and Kalasatama area during winter and spring 2019.

The mentoring services for business concept projects are provided by the University of Helsinki, Aalto University, Futurice and various communication specialists. The main themes of mentoring are the quick piloting of a service or product and its business model and target market, communications, market research, internationalisation and securing further funding.

What kind of innovation are we looking for?

The innovation competition is organised to find new technological and other innovative solutions relating to food, plants and their production, packaging, circular economy and cleantech.

What are we not interested in in this competition?

Product and service solutions with low levels of novelty or feasibility or solutions that cannot be piloted in practice.

What happens next?

  • 12 October – The innovation competition is opened
  • 23 and 25 October – Open workshops in Kellohalli, Teurastamo. The theme of the event on the 23rd (1–5 p.m.) is food, plant and packaging production. Circular economy, cleantech and logistics are the themes of the event on the 25th (9 a.m.–1 p.m.)
  • 31 October and 1 November – Open pre-pitching meetings to develop your ideas with mentors.   
  • 19 November – Final deadline to submit your bid (11:59 p.m.)
  • 11 December – The most promising proposals are selected and negotiations are initiated.
  • January 2019 – Pilot project contracts are signed at the beginning of the year, before the projects start.
  • Spring 2019 – The innovation pilot projects are conducted between January and the end of May.


The innovation competition is organised to find completely fresh ideas and refined service and product concepts. We believe in cooperation, quick experiments and co-creation. This is why we will be providing participants with support throughout the competition.

We will provide mentoring services to develop your idea and solution throughout the entire competition. Each theme has its own workshop. The workshop on food, plants and packaging is on 23 October at 1–5 p.m., and the circular economy workshop is on 25 October at 9 a.m.–1 p.m. in Kellohalli, Teurastamo. In the workshops you will learn more about the progress of the competition, hear inspiring presentations on the themes of the workshops and become aware of future trends. We will also provide you with Futurice’s tools to help you develop your idea before entering the competition.

You can also sign up for a pre-pitching event to present your idea on 31 October at 1–7 p.m. or on 1 November at 9 a.m.–12 noon in Teurastamo. The slots will be filled on a first-come-first-served basis. At the pre-pitching event, you will have an opportunity to present your solution and receive feedback from the Futurice mentors before submitting your bid to the innovation competition.

The winners will be selected in December. 3–5 ideas will be awarded. 3–10 developed solutions will be selected for pilot projects, which will be conducted in spring 2019. The names of the members of the jury will be announced in November.

Who is eligible to participate?

Best ideas (€1,000)

  • Students and other private persons
  • Participants without a business ID


Business concepts and solutions (€5,000–50,000)

  • Companies in the Teurastamo, Kalasatama and Wholesale Market area
  • Start-up companies, including start-ups in business accelerators
  • Small, medium-sized and large companies in the food, horticultural or cleantech industries
  • Companies with a valid business ID that meet the requirements for participation

Assessment criteria

  1. Value of the solution. What is the solution about? We want to know the details of the target market and what opportunity or solution to a problem the idea provides. How is the idea novel?
  2. The commercial potential of the solution. How will the idea become self-financing? What is the business model of the idea? How can the solution be scaled and what is the size of the market?
  3. Solution supply. The idea becomes valuable only when it enters the market. We are interested in how customers can hear about the idea and acquire it. Who are your team members and what skills do they have? If you are offering a digital solution, please provide a description that is sufficiently technical.
  4. Quick experiments and piloting. We believe in quick experiments and operative piloting of new solutions. Interviews to identify the target market, quick prototypes and other methods. We encourage you to refine your idea and solution in practice during the competition phase, and to develop and describe the method of conducting the pilot in your bid.


The criteria and the evaluation are also described at the bottom of the entry form.

How can I participate?

The platform where you can submit your bid will close on Monday 19 November 2018 at 11:59 p.m.

Contact us

The Wholesale Market and Teurastamo Testbed Development Project Project Manager Jouni Spets, telephone +358 (0)40 5927320 or

The innovation competition is organised as part of the Wholesale Market’s testbed and innovation platform project, financed by Business Finland and the City of Helsinki. The project is about constructing a platform and development environment for new and growing businesses in the Wholesale Market, Teurastamo and Kalasatama area in accordance with the economic development policy of the City of Helsinki.

More information

  • Frequently asked questions
  • Entry requirements
  • The processing of participants’ personal data
  • Procurement contract

Frequently asked questions

  • Can I submit more than one bid?

Companies can submit several bids for different challenges, but only one pilot per participant can be awarded.

  • Can I use the City of Helsinki as a reference if my solution is selected?

Yes, the pilots can be used as public references.

  • Will I be provided with a workspace in the Teurastamo area?

The premises in the Teurastamo and Wholesale Market area are in active use, and there are only limited spaces available indoors or outdoors. If your proposed solution and piloting it require the use of premises in the area, please provide more details about this need for premises in your bid. You can make preliminary enquiries about the options available in the area with the City of Helsinki or other companies in the area. The availability of premises provided by the City of Helsinki is determined individually for each pilot.

  • Are associations and organisations eligible to participate?

Yes, they are.

  • Are we eligible to participate if we already use mentoring services or have secured funding?

Yes, you are.

  • What is the difference between an idea and a solution?

The main criteria for the assessment of solutions are the possibilities for quick commercialisation and piloting of the suggested solution and practical testing during the project. The assessment of ideas is based on an evaluation of the idea’s uniqueness and commercial potential, but the idea does not need to be ready for operative piloting during the project.

Students and other parties that do not have a business ID can submit ideas. The award is €1,000 and mentoring services to develop the idea further provided by Helsinki NewCo.

  • What does “innovation” mean in the context of this competition?

The competition is primarily about new products, services, processes or concepts with authentic commercial or ecological potential and regional impact.

  • How must the Wholesale Market and Kalasatama area be taken into account?

The Kalasatama area provides an excellent setting in which to pilot new products and services. There are lots of households and companies in the Wholesale Market, Teurastamo and Kalasatama area that can be motivated to participate in the piloting of the solutions in the role of customer.

  • My idea fits all the themes and categories of the competition: circular economy, packaging and food production. What should I do?

It is best to select the theme of the competition that corresponds best with the idea or solution pilot.

  • To whom do the idea’s intellectual property rights belong?

The intellectual property rights belong to the inventor of the idea or solution, who has protected these rights. The project does not take a stance on the protection of intellectual property rights. Instead, its purpose is to advance the testing and implementation of the best ideas and solutions.

  • Can the bid be submitted confidentially?

The bids are confidentially processed by a jury, and at the very least a public description of the winners’ ideas/solutions will be published during the project.

  • Will the winning ideas be announced to the public?

Public descriptions of winning ideas or solutions will be published on the project’s website by the end of the project, in spring 2019.

  • Is the competition intended for the B2C or B2B target markets?

The ideas and solutions can serve both target markets or only one of them.

  • What does piloting mean?

Piloting is a way of testing the feasibility of the solution proposal from the perspective of the execution process and customer satisfaction. The pilot focuses on testing and assessing the company’s internal value chain and the value chain between companies in the production of the service or product, the external method of execution and the service path of the customer.

  • In what languages can I submit my bid?

You can submit your bid in Finnish, Swedish or English.

Entry requirements

  • If you submit your bid as a company, you must be included in the Finnish Trade Register.
  • The taxation details and the social security and pension contributions for employees and entrepreneurs must be in order.
  • The properties of the product or service must comply with legislation (e.g. data security in the processing of personal data).
  • Piloting and mentoring must be able to contribute significantly to the development and internationalisation of the product or service.
  • The companies selected for piloting shall invoice the City of Helsinki for conducting the pilot projects. One half of the sum allocated for the pilot shall be invoiced before the pilot and the other half after the pilot project has been executed. The company will be responsible for conducting the pilot in accordance with their bid. (The invoiced sum cannot be used for investments, but only for the purposes of conducting the pilot in spring 2019.)
  • The idea/solution must be in accordance with the request.

The processing of participants’ personal data

The personal data required for the competition are collected and stored in the Helsinki City Executive Office’s Business Support and Entrepreneurship Advancement register. The City provides instructions on how personal data are processed on their website at, where links to the personal data file descriptions can also be found.

Procurement contract

All winners of the Solution competition must enter into a contract with the City of Helsinki. The individual contracts are based on a City of Helsinki contract template with each pilot project’s unique characteristics. The preliminary contract documents are listed below:

The procurement contract, which defines the objectives of piloting, for instance.

General terms of contract, which includes information on the responsibilities of the parties and termination of the contract, for instance.

The City of Helsinki Data Security Appendix, which becomes applicable if your product or service collects personal data. Here, you can see the internal processes the City of Helsinki requires its suppliers to conduct.