The birth of the StartupMill project
In its economic programme for 2013–2016, the City of Lappeenranta has emphasised as one key item measures that can be used to create an increasing number of competence-based businesses in the region. One goal is to generate 100 new competence-based jobs in Lappeenranta by the end of 2016. The StartupMill services will respond to this measure and these goals. In the spring of 2013, the City of Lappeenranta gave Wirma Lappeenranta Oy an assignment to start building a broad provincial model. Numerous operators committed to this operational model and developed it in concert.
The StartupMill services will continue the work done on several projects implemented in the region. The most significant of these include the Innovaatioitupankki project and the Skinnarila Innovation Factory project. The Innovaatioitupankki constructed a processing and support process for competence-based ideas. This project built a cooperation model with the region’s educational institutions and, for example, adopted a tool called "Idea Prässi" for processing ideas. The processes and tools implemented in the Innovaatioitupankki project will be used in the StartupMill service package. The StartupMill project will continue the services developed by the Innovaatioitupankki.
The Skinnarila Innovation Factory project helped start LUT Entrepreneurship Society (LUTES), an active student-run society targeting entrepreneurs and entrepreneurially minded students at Lappeenranta University of Technology. LUTES still works as an activator for students, and encourages entrepreneurship by arranging different kinds of events and occasions. Through LUTES, students enthusiastic about entrepreneurship and new ideas are naturally included in the sphere of the StartupMill services.