Organised in the darkest time of the year at Messukeskus Helsinki, Slush is Europe’s leading annually organised start up and investor event. Slush was organised for the first time in 2008 and it gathered approximately 500 visitors. Since 2015 Slush has also been organised in Tokyo on Beijing, and in 2016 it gathered 17,500 people to Messukeskus Helsinki. Needless to say that growth has been immense.
The purpose of the event is to offer a unique experience to its visitors, to inspire, and to function as a platform for new companies to get new business partners and funding. The event brings together people with a similar mind-set. Slush is mainly organised by volunteers, by a non-profit organisation consisting of investors, entrepreneurs and students.
Header photos by: Kai Kuusisto
Slush brings together start-up companies and investors. It inspires visitors and supports entrepreneurs. Annual growth is also one of the goals, expanding across national borders to spread the word of Slush and to encourage companies to enter the international markets. The aim is to bring together growing companies, investors and media and to help all parties succeed.
Growth, Success, Slush
Slush was established to fill a need in the market which is also one of the reasons for its success. The idea to change business culture was one of the central aims initially, the want to create a movement on a grassroots level that would serve new entrepreneurs. To create a culture that would encourage and support new businesses. Venla Väkeväinen, member of Slush’s marketing team, states that it is easy to list the keys to Slush’s success: the hundreds of dedicated volunteers that make it all happen and who are also praised by the visitors year after year.
All visitors have their own reasons to visit. Some visit once, some return every year. However, all visitors have one thing in common: their passion for entrepreneurship and start-ups.
Marketing the event
The marketing team of Slush consists of six people. Social media is the number one marketing channel together with other digital marketing channels. Also the huge Slush network plays an important part. The partners, participating companies and visitors all spread the word and the better the experience, the more it spreads. Marketing is the key tool in communicating even the wildest ideas to the public. One crucial marketing tool is the Slush team that travels around the world and participates in different events to share the amazing story of Slush.
Organising an internationally acknowledged event
An event that attracts visitors and business partners from around the world creates challenges. The 17,500 visitors represent 120 different countries which also means that cultural differences must be taken into consideration. For instance, drinking tap water is a very Finnish thing but can be strange to people from other countries. Some very basic things might need to be reconsidered. Luckily a vast network of companies, investors and students from around the world are part of the Slush team.
The premises of Messukeskus Helsinki work well for Slush for many reasons. One reason is its good location near the city centre and the well-functioning public transportation of Helsinki.
Tips from the organiser
We asked Venla Väkeväinen for her top three tips in organising an international event of this scale. She answered on behalf of the whole team:
- Make sure you know all costs in advance. People don’t always realize what everything costs which might cause problems later.
- There are no small problems that can be dealt with later. All problems must be solved when they occur.
- Make sure that all team members feel useful and have a clear idea of the common goal and how their input affects it. It is important that everyone knows what part they play in creating something bigger.
Slush in a nutshell
Halls 1 and 2, 6 and 7, 27 meeting rooms.
Tailored restaurant services and menus by Fazer, SVV’s audiovisual services. Active role in preparations and, for example, planning general safety and fire safety in cooperation with the city of Helsinki.