The win led to rapid progress with the idea

Last year's winner of the Start Me Up competition was Apila Group Oy and its idea of ​​using waste to remove metals from water. Entering and winning the competition have accelerated matters:

- We entered the competition when our idea was at a fairly developed stage, so when the win came through we knew what to do with both the cash prize and expert service. In our case, the competition accelerated the development of our idea and we will be ready to enter the market in just two years. We are pondering the long-term future of our business models, says Dr Kirsi Mononen, Business Development Manager at Apila Group.

Apila Group Oy Ab was established in 2006 with the aim of creating a new, innovative and successful business in the circular economy. The company provides material-efficient product development and research – from laboratory to pilot scale – based on expertise in materials chemistry. These are aimed at production and producer communities.


The winning idea was invented by Mervi Matilainen (in the photo) and Apila Group Ltd.

The special strength of the Apila Group lies in its strong expertise in chemistry and materials science, combined with know-how in environmental technology and management. The company's operations and the product are based on a strong belief in combining environmental friendliness with good business:

- A number of favourable development paths lie behind the idea. The effects of climate change are likely to create needs for our product. On the other hand, our fully emission-free process will help to combat climate change. In addition, we can return metals removed from water to the product cycle, which means back into use, since many metals are becoming rare, says Mononen, referring to the phenomena giving rise to the product.

Mononen points out that participation in the competition led to major progress with the project. Development since then has been partly based on work done for the project, which required focusing on the core of the idea and how the issue could be convincingly presented to others:

- The Start Me Up victory has provided our idea with much more credibility, especially in the local area. This is a clear indication that others believe in the idea in addition to us. Belief in our own work increased alongside the victory. The contacts we have gained through the competition were also important, says Kirsi Mononen, explaining the competition´s importance to a company seeking to enter the world market.

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