New year, new team


Annual meeting full of curious people eagerly waiting to get to know the new board


December, the month commonly known as the time when Santa Claus comes to visit your house. It is not only Santa Claus with beard that December is known of, but also because of LUTES chairman for year 2016, Caro Pohjola. The new board members were selected in the beginning of this month and the new board, the vice board as well as the team members selected were pure diamond! Now first challenge for the new board to keep up the good work and take LUTES even further! As the most important criteria for angel investment is said to be team, so it is for LUTES as well. Therefore, I have strong belief that next year will be awesome!

board viceboard


The change in life feels huge, now that I write this in train back to Helsinki and have returned the keys to my apartment in Lappeenranta. It feels wistful to be in front of such a big change, but as John F. Kennedy stated it, Change is the law of life. And those who look to the past or present are certain to miss the future.  Therefore, it is my turn to look forward, follow my dreams and become the favorite superhero of my childhood years, Leonardo da Vinci from the Turtles. If you bought the previous one, I am sorry to disappoint you: I have not found mutagen and therefore cannot turn into a turtle. Therefore, I will use my plan B and will go to France for another master’s degree instead. Most important, I can leave this country with peace in my mind, as I know that the new LUTES crew will surely kick ass! The year has been full of changes in LUTES. With limited resources, we have been able to create even better events than before! It has required a lot of hard work and ingenuity to reach that point and all the credits go to the board and team members around, who have made it possible!


Current chairman practicing his future career as Leonardo


Because LUTES activities are important only when they bring results, in our case, inspire students to entrepreneurship or form new companies, we have changed the direction this year more towards interactive direction, meaning more workshops than speaker events. This has happened, because workshops are great chances to form new business ideas, when you have a chance to brainstorm with the others of lightly restricted topic areas that help to focus to keep the forming ideas realistic. It is also coded in human nature that we need activities constantly and we do not just want to sit around and listen. Yet, speaker events are still crucial as they inspire and more importantly, encourage people to start their own company. Changing the direction of LUTES can be easily reflected by considering those two new concepts we launched this year: LUTES Hackathon and Startup fair. The first one is already known in IT –world, but we have modified hackathons to suit our own needs: we do not want to restrict creativity and we do not assume that all the students would withhold programming skills, so the idea in LUTES hackathon is instead to solve a given problem by any means. This means that whether your skills are for example in environmental technology, IT, business or mechanical engineer, the problem can be solved. The best solution is being formed, when you can benefit of your own expertise! Startup fair instead was formed to inspire and introduce already existing startup culture of Lappeenranta to the students. The fair was a success and who knows, maybe on one beautiful day we will have our own “SLUSH” in Lappeenranta!

With these words, I hope fruitful future for Lappeenranta’s startup culture. I believe there is no other direction, as recently there have been huge improvements in the entrepreneurial culture in Lappeenranta and startups and entrepreneurship has become ‘a hot potato’ within the region. Therefore I start my own journey, let LUTES to continue theirs and rest my case here.


Sincerely yours,

Lord Joni Saarela

Chairman of the board 2015