Press release: Million-euro funding award at Kasvu Open 2019

The new ‘Investor’s Favourite 2019’ award, announced at the Kasvu Open Carnival on October 25th 2018 provides Finnish SMEs an opportunity to receive 1 million-euros of growth funding. The award is offered by Innovestor and Nordea and will for the very first time be awarded at the 2019 Kasvu Open Carnival.

The new ‘Investor’s favourite 2019’ award was announced on Thursday, October 25th 2018, at the nationwide Kasvu Open growth company sparring competition. The winner of the award will be selected from amongst the growth companies participating in Kasvu Open 2019. With this award, Kasvu Open’s national partners Innovestor and Nordea provide Finnish growth companies a concrete way of supporting and accelerating their growth plans. The ‘Investor’s favourite 2019’ award will be 1 000 000 euros and is made up of a 500 000 euro investment by Innovestor and 500 000 euro growth loan by Nordea.

“There are interesting companies participating in Kasvu Open who have the desire and capability to grow rapidly. With our know-how and networks, we can bring considerable added value to these companies. Also through our co-investment service, we want to provide the opportunity for other investors to support one of Finlands best growth companies in the form of an investment” says Tommi Äijälä, CEO and founder of Innovestor.

Nordea has been Kasvu Open’s main partner from the very beginning and see’s the collaboration as a great platform for them as a company to fulfil their social responsibility. Nordea has supported the growth and business operations of Finnish companies by providing not only funding but also guidance and access to their networks.

“Entrepreneurship and partnership with entrepreneurs are at the heart of our business. That is why it is natural for us to be involved in the granting of the ‘Investor’s Favourite’ award. The growth loan, which is often combined with an equity investment and intended for accelerating business growth, is tailored particularly for more established growth companies,” says Vesa Riihimäki, the Head of Nordea’s Startup and Growth Unit.


Team’s capability and ability to drive business growth as main criteria

The Investor’s favourite 2019 award may be granted to any company, regardless of their industry or growth phase. The companies will be evaluated according to their growth plans, expertise as well as desire and ability to achieve growth. In order to receive the award, the finalist must fulfil the investment and growth loan terms. Coinciding with this award’s announcement, Kasvu Open also announced that next year’s themes will be growth funding and venture capital investment with the goal of supporting the participating companies growth and internationalisation.

“Over the past 5 years of its existence, Kasvu Open has become a significant sparring event for growth-seeking companies. To date, approximately 1,652 companies have participated in the free-of-charge sparring program. In addition to expertise and networks, next year we will place even more emphasis on growth funding and venture capital investment. The one-million euro prize provided by Innovestor and Nordea takes us to a whole new level,” says Uljas Valkeinen, the CEO of Kasvu Open Oy.

In the summer of 2019, 5–10 companies out of the 100 chosen finalists will be selected for the Investor’s Favourite coaching program. The program will be organised in early fall of 2019, after which the final winner will be selected. No matter who wins, all the companies selected for the Investor’s Favourite coaching program will benefit from the advice and knowledge provided during the program. The winner of the Investor’s Favourite 2019 Award will be announced at the Kasvu Open Carnival held at the Jyväskylä Pavilion on October 24, 2019.

In the media:

Kauppalehti – “Sparrausohjelma räväyttää uudella pääpalkinnolla: Yhdelle kasvuyritykselle miljoonan euron rahoitus” (in finnish)

Keskisuomalainen – “Kasvu Open täräyttää isompaan sarjaan: ensi vuonna Jyväskylässä jaossa miljoonapalkinto” (in finnish)

Additional information:

Tommi Äijälä, CEO, Innovestor Oy, tel. +050 36 41 825,

Vesa Riihimäki, Head of the Startup & Growth Unit, Nordea, tel. +358 40 826 2009,

Uljas Valkeinen, CEO, Kasvu Open Oy, tel. +358 50 5688 555,

Kasvu Open organises open sparring events to Finnish SMEs of all sizes and ages across Finland. The events are realised as Growth Track® entities. The free-of-charge sparring includes at least ten 45-minute sparring sessions with the experts. In 2018, 411 companies were selected to participate in 26 Kasvu Open Growth Tracks. Kasvu Open has been selected to represent Finland at the European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA). In addition, Interreg Europe, a program that promotes good practices, has recognised Kasvu Open as a ‘good practice’ model for supporting small and medium-sized companies.

Kasvu Open’s partners in 2018 include Nordea, Finnvera, Technopolis, Varma, If, Team Finland, BusinessJKL, the Regional Council of Central Finland, Grano, the Municipality of Laukaa, the Confederation of Finnish Industry and Employers, Jyväskylä Fair Ltd, Jyväs-Caravan, Isku and San Francisco Oy.