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The Pre-Incubator Program for the Creative Industries!

Do you have an interesting idea?
Want to turn your creative skills into a superpower?

The next call for applications opens in January 2024.

About you

Digital creatives come in a dizzying array of different aspirations, ideas, styles and dreams. Some of you just want to explore, some create something tangible and new, and some aspire to radically change the world.

To apply you need to have a background in the creative industries and a business idea you would like to explore further in this program. Previous business experience is not required.

The business idea could be inspired by, but is not limited to, the following topics: 

  • new methods and formats for audiovisual storytelling
  • technology-enhanced art, design, and entertainment
  • augmentation of human creativity through computational methods
  • creation of novel interactive experiences
  • platforms for/by the creative industries

About us

Aalto Digital Creatives pre-incubator program aims to help creative industry students, researchers and practitioners on their path towards entrepreneurship.

The program is supported by the City of Helsinki and it’s part of Helsinki-based higher education institutions’ campus incubators network. Aalto Digital Creatives program is coordinated by Aalto Startup Center and Aalto Studios.

Aalto Startup Center

Aalto Startup Center is a hybrid accelerator offering its own incubator and accelerator services, as well as several partnership programs. Its focus is on sustainable research-based and innovative deep-tech startups.

Aalto Studios

Aalto Studios is the media center of the future. It brings together people who have an interest in using and exploring digital media for their studies, research and work such as designers, filmmakers, youtubers, game developers, performing artists, educators, angel investors and public sector organizations.

The professionals at Aalto Studios are eager to help you with film, TV, games and animation, VR/AR/XR, product and user experience testing, sensor data analysis, digital communications and maker culture inspired fast prototyping.

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Aalto Studios logo

Aalto Digital Creatives program

Making use of Aalto University’s From Ideas to Impact® model, the core of this pre-incubator program is to coach early-stage teams to seek out and maximize their own unique potential to grow and scale up.

With the help of Aalto Startup Center’s business advisory services, the teams produce new business ideas, connect with potential industry partners, iterate their business plans, define potential customers and plan how to attract them.

The program runs for 13 weeks and there are two batches per year, one from March to June and a second from September to December. There will be 10 to 15 teams or a maximum of 30 people accepted into each batch.

The program consists of six modules which introduce the basics of Asset Development, Solution Development and Business Development.

Each module consists of workshop days, face-to-face coaching and online sessions with the selected keynote speakers. Coaching sessions and workshops are organised at Aalto University’s campus in Otaniemi, Espoo.

Mentoring is offered to the participants throughout the program together with access to training and networking events, help with matchmaking and connecting with industry experts.

What you get from the program in a nutshell?

  • Access to Aalto Startup Center’s premises, trainings and events
  • One-to-one coaching with business advisors and creative industry experts
  • Access to Aalto University’s entrepreneurial ecosystem’s services
  • Full membership of Aalto Fablab’s services (one per team)
  • Matchmaking with companies from the creative industries
  • Access to Aalto Digital Creatives events


The next call for applications opens in January 2024.

Applications are accepted from teams or individuals with a background in the creative industries whether it is education or experience. Your focus should be in combining creativity with new digital technologies.

The application process is split into two parts. To apply, first fill out the application form which will be available on this website when the application period opens.

If your application is selected for the second part of the application process you will be requested to send in a pitch deck. Instructions for creating the pitch deck will be provided via e-mail.

If you have questions about the application process, please contact us at digitalcreatives@aalto.fi


Time: 16.30 – 19.00 Place: Musiikkitalo | Mannerheimintie 13, Helsinki

Are you seeking a co-founder, business partner, or team member with specific skills for your startup to level up? Have you struggled to find someone with a business, tech, practical, or creative background? Are you just starting up with your idea and unsure how to begin building a team?

Six diverse universities from Helsinki metropolitan area are joining forces for a matchmaking event, bringing together entrepreneurial minds with business, technology, creative, research, artistic, design, VR/AR, engineering, and software backgrounds.

Register for the event through Deal Room Events, see who else will be there and book relevant meetings for the event day.

Hosted by Arcada University of Applied Sciences Entrepreneurship Hub, Aalto University’s Aalto Digital Creatives, Hanken Business Lab, Helsinki Incubators, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences’ Turbiini Campus Incubator and Uniarts Helsinki Hub

Powered by: Business Helsinki

Register here

Time: 15 – 16 Place: Hybrid Stage | Otaniementie 9

When designers externalize their thoughts we gain access to their minds – their cognition. This talk presents the results of studies that explore the cognitive behavior of designers based on their verbalizations as they design. It describes how these verbalizations of their thoughts can be turned into a form that allows for the quantitative understanding of designing, for comparisons of different designers, designing under different situations, and designing for different design requirements. To do this an ontology of design cognition is presented. The talk will cover:

  • Design fixation
  • What designers are doing when they design
  • Where designers spend their time as they are designing
  • What happens in design teams
  • Differences between novice and expert designer
  • The effect of VR on students in design crits
  • Computational models from cognitive studies

The talk will conclude with a discussion about the connection between design cognition and design neurocognition, ie, what is happening in the brain.

Read more and register here

Time: 14 – 16 Place: Hybrid Stage | Otaniementie 9

Join us in the world of AI-driven gaming innovation, where virtual realms enhanced by intelligent algorithms shape player experiences and push the boundaries of what’s possible in digital entertainment.

Read more and register

Creative Technologies seminar 6.10.2022

Time: 14:00-16:00 | Place: Hybrid Stage, Makerspace, Harald Herlin Learning Center, Otaniementie 9, Espoo

Aalto University launched a new seminar series in the field of Creative Technologies in autumn 2022. The purpose is to build a community to raise the quality of research in the area of creative technology among the international network of researchers in Aalto University.

We welcome you to the second Creative Technologies seminar on 6.10.2022. At this event we will have presentations from Hironori Yoshida (Future University Hakodate) and Mary Lou Maher (UNC Charlotte). Hironori Yoshida’s presentation will focus on design and fabrication with non-standard materials, in relation to the recent and future interaction technologies. Mary Lou Maher talks about interacting with creative artificial intelligence and the opportunities given by the intentionally designed interaction. 

MAGICS Gala 27.10.2022

Time: 14:00-16:00 | Place: Hybrid Stage, Makerspace, Harald Herlin Learning Center, Otaniementie 9, Espoo

More information will be published by the end of September.

Creative Technologies seminar 3.11.2022

Time: 14:00-16:00 | Place: Hybrid Stage, Makerspace, Harald Herlin Learning Center, Otaniementie 9, Espoo

More information will be published in the beginning of October.

Contact information

Aalto Digital Creatives favicon

Marika Paakkala

Head of Aalto Startup Center
+358 40 829 2286

Bengt Forsström

Bengt Forsström

Business Advisor
Aalto Startup Center
+358 40 703 4984

Dimitra Kakaraki

Dimitra Kakaraki

Entrepreneurial Coordinator
Aalto Startup Center
+358 50 593 3696

Marcus Korhonen

Marcus Korhonen

Aalto Digital Creatives favicon

Ari Kivimäki

Events and Partnerships
Aalto Studios
+358 50 411 4141

Heidi Rintala

Communications & Impact Specialist
Aalto Studios

Katja Reinikka

Katja Reinikka

Network & Events Producer
Aalto Studios
+358 50 434 8872

Aalto Digital Creatives favicon

Sakari Heiskanen

Communications & Impact Specialist
August 2023 – April 2024
Aalto Studios
+358 40 733 67035