Northern Stars Seminar 2016

On Friday 13th of May Nothern Stars Seminar 2016 was organized by students of Lapin AMK in cooperation with student union InnoBarentsLab. The core team consists of the project leader Denis Ivanov, together with students from IB14: Ekaterina Bogoaivlenskaia, Alesya Gritsuk and Sergei Tarasenko.


Planning phase of the project started already in February, where the team was formed and the actual work began by planning the timetable for the next few months. From time to time along the way there appeared some challenges (time management, financial support to mention a few) but despite those the project was completed according to plan and our lovely organizers got some valuable exprience from real working life!

Seminar Day 13th of May 2016

The Seminar Day began with registration, where IBL members Nina Niskala and Laura Ukkola took care of collecting the participants’ signatures and giving out the broschures where the workshop groups were marked for the later of the day. We were expecting for over 250 people to arrive based on the online registration form beforehand, but around 150 came. Still we soon noticed that even with two people it was quite of hazzle sometimes at the registration desk, so we luckily got some help during the busy moments.



After that – little bit behind the schedule – began the first session of the seminar called ”Business opportunities in the Arctic”. As a surprise, a shaman made quick appearance and blessed everyone with forest spirits – that certainly caught everyone’s attention and made this day even more unique and memorable!


Our host Thomas Draper introduced the first speaker – vice-rector of Lapin AMK Reijo Tolppi who officially welcomed everyone and provided an overview of current challenges in the Arctic.



We had the honor to welcome a very important and well-known guest to our seminar as key-note speaker – former prime minister of Finland and member of Finnish Parliament Matti Vanhanen! He disclosed the strategic importance of the Arctic region and told how important transportation routes are for the development of the Arctic. Later after his speech he told also about the government’s plans to make life of young entrepreneurs easier.



Julia Chechulinskaya, Experience Manager of Santapark (Rovaniemi, Finland) told about their mission to make every moments of the stay as a lifelong memory for the customer. In her presentation she also covered the operational areas of ProSanta Ltd and introduced new innovative project ”Tree House Hotel”.


CEO, Shaper & Co-founder of Treeform LTD & ILAHU Boards (Finland) Jan Erik Leutola told about the journey of how his passion became his business – ”Think outside, no box required!” Main focus on his part was to discuss about the  personal lessons learned while becoming and working as an entrepreneur.


After the lunch break session 2 ”Youth Entrepreneurship in the Arctic”. As the name suggests, this part was for our dear students and youth to realize their potential and get valuable advices. First up was group of tourism students together with some exchange students – Eetu Ollikainen, Nadine Sviridova, Patricia Spörk, Suvi An Kluvich, Marian Van Doorsselaere and Laura Ukkola –  from MTI campus of Lapin AMK. They presented their marketing plans for promoting Ranua region as a whole, specially focusing on Ranua´s rural tourism destinations, small villages called Kuukasjärvi and Kuha.


Tonny Mathiassen, project leader of Nord-Troms regionrad (Norway): ”My journey as an entrepreneur already started when I was a kid.” He basically told the whole story about how he became the person he is now and what challenges he faced along the way.


Alisa Bogatyreva, Russia who is a current student of Lapin AMK but has already experience as an entrepreneur: ”There are many opprtunities for young entrepreneurs in the Arctic!”. She told the story behind her business, all the way from planning to the end (bankruptcy). Even though her business didn’t succeed for that long, it taught her still valuable expriences. It was her very first time to held a presentation for such a big audience but she did it well!


Annika Konttaniemi – entrepreneur from Susivilla Oy, Finland presented her story from a lost student to Osaka. She is a weaver and knitting enthusiast from Lapland, who considers untouched wilderness and natural fibers really important things for her.


After coffee break it was time for the Breakup Session. Due to a smaller participation amount on this part of the day, only 4 workshops were conducted according to plan; case 2 (start-up idea: Logistics Network), case 3 (creative entrepreneurship in the arctic as an alternative to resource based business), case 4 (modulation case ”Adios Santa”) and case 5 (arctic is not only about tourism and natural resources). Most of the workshops were hosted by Northern Stars team, with the exception of case 3 being hosted by Anzelika Krastina and Anitra Arkko-Saukkonen, project managers of Creative Steps 2.0.



Afterparty! All guests who participated in the workshops got free entrance tickets to Half Moon – the official afterparty of Northern Stars Seminar. It was the perfect ending to a perfect day!

On the behalf of the Northern Stars team, Lapin AMK and InnoBarentsLab I would like to thank everyone who helped to organize this event and of course our dear guests – without you this would not have been possible!


Nähdään ensi vuonna!


Author: Nina Niskala

Photos: Anzelika Krastina & Nina Niskala