RYE Connect Conference 2018

Rural Youth Entrepreneurs Connect, or RYE Connect for short, is a European Union funded program meant to support and inspire young entrepreneurs across Northern Europe and the Arctic. Aimed at young entrepreneurs aged 16 to 30, the purpose of RYE Connect is to help young people to set up a new business, to help them to expand their existing business, while at the same time to provide support and guide to those facing difficulties. As a Finnish student I ended at the RYE Conference through NY Start Up course at Kajaani University of Applied Sciences, where I currently study Video Game Development.

RYE Connect Conference 2018 was held in the end of January at the Levi Ski Resort in Lapland, Northern Finland. The nine-hour bus drive took us from KAMK campus in Kajaani to Levi, where we met with the international guests from several countries, including Northern Ireland, France, Iceland and Greenland. The three-day conference consisted of workshops, networking and guest presentations, including one by Laura Peippo – the “happiest entrepreneur in Finland” 2017. The conference culminated in the RYE Cool Awards, after which we all enjoyed a nice supper in an underground Lapp restaurant called Saamen Kammi.

During one of the workshops we were assigned in small groups, in which we had to come up with a business idea that would at the same time make the world somehow a better place. Many of the foreign visitors were commenting about the amount of snow, so we came up with the inevitable idea of melting the snow into water to save drinkable water used in toilets. After some brainstorming we came up with an elegant underground container system inspired by the Venetian wells I’d read about earlier. Our company, Aquaput, did not quite win the vote for the best business idea, but at least we won the vote for the best company logo!