On January 30, 2013 a new networking event for the emerging health and wellness cluster in Finland called Health Spa gathered some 100 participants and 25 start-ups to meet, demonstrate and find synergies. The event was held at the EIT ICT Labs Co-location Centre in Otaniemi, Finland. “There is a lot of things bubbling in this sector in Finland, and we wanted to bring creators and influencers together to discuss collaboration, internationalisation and clustering in the spirit of open innovation”, explained Marko Turpeinen, Director EIT ICT Labs Helsinki.
"Health & Wellbeing is an area where Europe can credibly claim the position of a forerunner in global competition", continues Marko. He targets to do the same with health and wellbeing companies as what happened 10 years ago with the gaming industry clustering. The HWB area is going through tremendous changes with digitalization and mobilization of services. Wearable computers and different sensors will revolutionalize the way we see ourselves. Social media is a source for peer support and motivation to do more sports and to eat healthier.
HealthSpa - a platform for collaboration
Michael Quarshie, founder of the Wellness Foundry, believes that by combining web communities and individual coaching the health sector can reach a whole new level. Digital services and tools like Meallogger will help wellbeing specialists to reach a great deal more customers. These experts could even share their customer base and thus provide added value to the customer who would get more individually targeted services e.g. for nutrition, sporting, sleep.
A pioneer in the wellbeing area, Polar, and their director Raija Laukkanen supported strongly the establishment of such a collaboration platform. When Framgo, a start-up sitting in the EIT ICT Labs premises, presented their muscle and fat measurement belt, Raija immediately proposed further discussions for cooperation. "This concrete matchmaking was the highlight of the event. This reflects exactly the spirit that we wanted for HealthSpa", says Christian Lindholm, CEO of Koru that focuses on social jewelry.
Call for SMEs
When combining research and the companies producing wellbeing innovations EIT ICT Labs can foster the European HWB cluster. We will strengthen, integrate and mobilize local ecosystem actors of four EIT ICT Labs nodes: Trento, Helsinki, Eindhoven and Paris.
EIT ICT Labs will select 3-5 SMEs from each node, with the aim of involving them in our HWB activities and connecting them better with each other. The companies get to identify new business opportunities, both cross-node and outside EIT nodes as well as to understand differences between geographic markets.
For more information about the Call for SMEs, please, contact Director Marko Turpeinen.
List of all start-ups that participated on the HealthSpa can be found here
Images from the event on Flickr