It's time to turn your dream into a reality

Have you been thinking about a business idea for some time but have been afraid to take the first steps? 

Spark Academy is teaching you all the skills you need to start your business from scratch and turn your dream into a reality. You will learn how to create an innovative company that makes an impact on many peoples’ lives.

In the free 3,5-month program for women and non-binary people, you will learn together with a group of likeminded people, to set up your company for long-term growth and build meaningful connections along the way. 

Our first cohort of 2023 will take place from 28th of February till 13th of June. 

Apply until 5th of February to ignite your Spark: 

Max 25 Participants

3,5 Months

Entirely free

"Joining Spark Academy has been a game changer for my business."
Minaë Tani-Lafleur, Founder Zestii Kitchens
"I realized being a young female founder was something to be proud of, not a weakness."
Alejandra Cobos, Founder Atlas
"The community at Spark Academy was truly inspiring and gave me the confidence to pursue my dreams."
Blen Hailu, Founder KotiBet Home Services
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It's time to turn your dream into a reality

Have you been thinking about a business idea for some time but have been afraid to take the first steps? 

Spark Academy is teaching you all the skills you need to start your business from scratch and turn your dream into a reality. You will learn how to create an innovative company that makes an impact on many peoples’ lives.

In the free 3,5-month program for women and non-binary people, you will learn together with a group of likeminded people, to set up your company for long-term growth and build meaningful connections along the way. 

Our first cohort of 2023 will take place from 28th of February till 13th of June. 

Apply until 5th of February to ignite your Spark: 

Max 25 Participants

3,5 Months

Entirely free

Woman Coding

Bridge the gender gap

Did you know that women make up only one fifth of IT sector employees in Finland? 

We need the female perspective to create technological solutions that serve the needs of both women and men. 

The Shortcut Spark Academy wants to help bridge the gender gap in the tech industry and give you the opportunity to learn basic coding skills to build your own business or manage tech projects.

What You Will Learn in our full-stack development module

You will learn front and back-end development, including building a website and performing tasks related to website architecture. 

These are highly sought-after skills, which will enable you to get started on developing your own product, or help you find a job in the ecosystem.

You Will Go Over...

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Spark Academy Woman Computer

What is the spark academy


The Shortcut Spark Academy is a free eight-month program for women and non-binary people who are interested in the world of entrepreneurship and innovation that is running yearly in 2022 and 2023.

We’re teaching the necessary entrepreneurial skills to open up the door to two paths: entrepreneurship and employment in the startup ecosystem.

Our participants will get the tools to start their own business but we are aware that entrepreneurship might not be for everyone. The skills we are teaching will also give our attendees a higher chance of getting employed in the innovation and tech industry.

Spark Academy Group

What is the spark academy

Spark Academy is a program aimed at getting more gender diversity in entrepreneurship. The goal is to build a solid pipeline of future female and non-binary founders who can inspire the next generations to come.

The program is a coherent 3,5-month training program with a clear path towards starting your own business. Most of the teaching is done in-person in Helsinki, Kamppi, however hybrid format is possible for some sessions to allow more flexibility in participation. Teaching will be six hours a day, three days a week (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday), mostly between 9-15. Fridays are for mindset and wellbeing coaching sessions.

We will run two cohorts in 2023:
Cohort 1: 28 February – 13 June
Cohort 2: 23 August – 12 December

Who is it for

  • You have been thinking about a business idea for some time or have already started your business recently
  • You are passionate about making an impact with your business and solving a larger problem
  • You are ready to learn and grow together with a group of likeminded people
  • You are willing to commit to the full program
  • You identify as female or non-binary
Spark Academy Minae

What You'll Learn

Spark Academy will teach you how to start a business from scratch. These are some of the topics you will learn about (plus many more):

  1. Idea validation 
  2. Financing your company
  3. Marketing basics 
  4. Sales & Pitching
  5. How to set up a company

6. Coding basics for business owners 
7. Choosing and running a team
8. Legal basics for running a business
9. Accounting & Taxes
10. HR basics 

Join SPARK LITE - Thrive as a New Entrepreneur

Spark Lite is our coaching & wellbeing program that is open to anyone, not just Spark Academy participants. You will learn the day-to-day skills entrepreneurs on how to cope with the challenges of the entrepreneurial lifestyle: managing your stress levels, dealing with uncertainty and strengthening your resilience to be successful.

In our free life & career coaching and wellbeing sessions, we teach you the kind of mindset, information and skills you need to succeed long term as a business owner. Connect with likeminded people and learn hands-on skills in a safe space (instead of spending hours alone googling by yourself).

Our soft skill workshops run every Friday during Spark Academy. You will get an invite straight into your email two to three weeks in advance with info about the workshop and get priority access to join. 

Sign up now and prioritize yourself:

Spark Lite Woman
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FAQ

Before Applying

Anyone who resides in the greater Helsinki region and identifies as a woman or non-binary. Applications from men will also be considered but the program is primarily targeted towards genders that are currently underrepresented in the startup ecosystem.

We expect you to be fluent in written and spoken English to ensure a successful learning experience.

Applications will be evaluated based on motivation and commitment to completing the program. If you are accepted to the Spark Academy, we expect active participation in the sessions.

We will select 20-25 participants for Cohort 1 running during spring (28th of February – 13th of June 2023).

It would be good to have some experience with working in the private sector. In any case, we expect you to be fluent in written and spoken English.

The program is designed as a hybrid model. We plan to have most of the workshops/activities taking place in person at Maria01, but some workshops might take place online. This will help you get to know the other participants and benefit from face-to-face interaction with coaches and mentors.

Most likely no, but you need to contact your own TE-office or municipality caseworker, because it depends on your specific situation and if you have participated in any trainings before while being unemployed.
If you are over 25 years old, it should be possible for you to participate while getting unemployment benefits, as long as you maintain your job search at the same time and remain available if a suitable position is offered to you. However, we cannot guarantee this, as the decision remains with the unemployment officials. See the relevant link for more information: 

Studies under 25 hours/week can be counted as part-time study. Our academy should qualify for this.

The Application Process

The selection process includes two rounds:

  • 1st round: Online application 
  • 2nd round: Phone interview with The Shortcut

The online application is open from 16th of January to 5th of February 2023. Suitable participants will be interviewed by phone. Phone interviews will begin during the application period. The final decisions will be announced by 13th of February.

You will receive a decision via email from The Shortcut by the 13th of February.

Unfortunately, you cannot postpone nor attend part-time. If for any reason you can no longer participate, please contact us, so that we may offer your place to someone else. We require active participation from the attendees.

About the program

About the program

The program language is English.

The academy teaches all the necessary skills in marketing, sales, tech, and entrepreneurship, to support you in establishing and running your own business or a startup. In addition there will be mindset-coaching and wellbeing workshops offered regularly throughout the program.

The Cohort 1 of the program runs from 28th of February to 13th of June, 2023. We are kicking off the academy with an opening day on the 28th of February 2023.

The estimated time investment into the program is 20 hours/week and we expect active participation from our participants. If you have any questions or doubts regarding this, contact the Spark Academy’s Program Manager via

vivian.maar @theshortcut.org

 

No, the program is free of charge for all participants.

You can expect to get both theoretical and practical support for founding and running your business/start-up. You can also expect to be part of a community that believes in you, and where all the topics of being a founder and finding your way as a female or non-binary entrepreneur can be honestly discussed. In addition to group-based studies, you will be supported 1-1 in your business. Last but not least you will receive coaching in resilience, mindset and wellbeing, which are all integral parts in succeeding as a fresh business owner.

First, we expect active participation in the sessions and commitment to the program.

By the end of the program, we expect our participants to: 

  • Deliver us an executable business plan for their idea
  • Have an early version of the website or social media presence ready for their company 

We will of course be supporting you fully in taking those steps.

The Shortcut Spark Academy is a meaningful, practical, and intentional program that is designed to pull the curtains back on the startup ecosystem, by offering training in entrepreneurship, marketing, and digital skills with the focus of helping you to found and run your start-up dream. To set up our participants for success, we will also coach them in the emotional resiliency needed to succeed. It is the first program of its kind built by women for women, that specifically addresses the challenges, unique responsibilities, and professional biases that women and non-binary people face.

What participants say

The schedule

16 January – 5 February: Application Period

13 February: Suitable Participants are Informed

28 February: Orientation Day with Inspirational Keynotes and Workshops

28 February – 13 June: First Cohort of 2023

23 August – 12 December: Second Cohort of 2023

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Sign up for more info about Spark Academy 2023 and get an email notification when applications open: 

PROJECTS PARTNERS

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2
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ECOSYSTEM PARTNERS

Espoo Logo
TNA Logo
Startup Foundation Logo
IWWOF Logo

Got more questions?

Reach out to our Project Manager: 
Vivian Maar, [email protected]