Grow your idea into a business – sign up for the Sprout pre-accelerator programme!

Do you have a great business idea that you would like to develop into a real business? Sign up for the Sprout pre-accelerator programme and get a chance to present your pitch in Italy. The 3-week programme starts on the 3rd April, but you can join until the 23rd of April.

The Sprout pre-accelerator programme offers you tools to develop your idea to a stage where you can consider starting a business with it. The programme is designed by the University of Vaasa, the Vaasa Entrepreneurship Society (VES) and the West Coast Startup (WCS) business incubator. 

The pre-accelerator programme is open to all university students in the Vaasa region: all you need is an idea and the ability to present it in English. Sprout is a low-threshold programme that you can attend in parallel to your studies or work. It takes about 9 hours of work in total during a 3-week period. 


The Sprout programme offers you:   

  • Bi-weekly meetings for progress monitoring and feedback 
  • An opportunity to pitch to the VES board, the University of Vaasa representatives, and West Coast Startup representatives 
  • 1–2 VES members to spar with 
  • 1–2 mentors for feedback 
  • A personalised startup portfolio 

Additionally, teams composed of students from the university of Vaasa, or teams having a member from the university of Vaasa may be selected to participate in the EUNICE Imagine Innovation Cup (EIIC) Final Phase!  

The Final Phase will happen in Catania, Italy, in the week of the 17th–21st of July. Travel costs and accommodation will be covered for the selected students.  

The EIIC provides an opportunity to pitch to an international board and get feedback on your business idea. Additionally, the winners of the cup will have the chance to access a special internship program. During this period, they will be able to visit EUNICE partner universities of their choice in order to be able to use the university environment to improve and test their business idea in different European contexts.


The programme starts on Monday 3rd of April, but you can sign up until 23rd of April. The sooner you start the 3-week programme, the more time you have to work on your final pitch.  

During the 3-week programme you will be complete the following stages: 

  • Week 1 – Problem Focus 
  • Week 2 – Customer Focus 
  • Week 3 – Validated Value Proposition 

Important dates: 

  • Pre-sign-up: 20.3.–2.4.2023 
  • Open phase (signing up still possible): 3.–23.4.3023 
  • Closed phase: 24.4.–14.5.2023 
  • Final pitch: 17.5.2023 
  • EUNICE Imagine Innovation Cup finals in Catania, Italy: 17.–21.7.2023 (for the best eligible team/team representative from the University of Vaasa) 

Sign up:  

To sign up, simply e-mail Riccardo Notarangelo ( with your team, relevant contact details and initial ideas. 


EUNICE European University for Customised Education 

EUNICE, the European University for Customised Education, is nurtured by ten universities’ intellectual and infrastructure input –Poznań University of Technology (Poland), Brandenburg University of Technology (Germany), University of Cantabria (Spain), University of Mons (Belgium), University of Catania (Italy), Université Polytechnique Hauts-de-France (France), University of Vaasa (Finland), Polytechnic Institute of Viseu (Portugal), University of Peloponnese (Greece) and University of Karlstad (Sweden)–.

This network, born from the European Universities initiative and funded by the European Commission, is building a solid network of interactions between educational institutions and other agents to work on social and economic challenges. 

The EUNICE Imagine Innovation Cup is a business competition between students of each EUNICE partner university. It is a key opportunity for students to get support in developing a business plan and launch a new company. By June 2023, each university will select one team to enter the final of the competition, which will take place at the University of Catania.

Vaasa Entrepreneurship Society (VES)

Vaasa Entrepreneurship Society (VES) is a non-profit society founded to support and enable students to chase their dreams regarding entrepreneurship.

West Coast Startup (WCS)

West Coast Startup is the business incubator of the University of Vaasa and VAMK Vaasa University of Applied Sciences. It offers early stage incubation support services for idea and concept development, startup establishment and entrepreneurial skills development. 

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