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Viikki Food Design Factory

Germinator Programme


Food Systems Pitching Competition @ Y Science 2023

Viikki Food Design Factory’s Germinator programme is for innovators

with Food System transforming solutions. 

Check here for more information on the Viikki Food Design Factory Germinator programme

The program participants have access to:

  • Coaching by dedicated food innovation professionals with expansive experience of the industry

  • Laboratory experimentation and testing facilities at the Viikki campus

  • Food & agri networks

  • The chance to pitch their idea during the Food Systems Pitching Competition at Y Science


The startup teams participating in the 2023-2024 season of the Germinator programme were selected through an entry pitching event on June 6, 2023.

At Y science, the Germinator teams get to pitch to the prestigious audience, meet possible investors, network with potential partners and experts in the fields of their solution, and also get a Slush ticket. The winner of the pitching competition will be granted 5,000 EUR to take their exciting idea further!


Timeline of the Germinator programme and Food Systems Pitching Competition @ Y Science

April: Applications open
May 15: Applications close
June 6: Pitching for programme admission 
August: Germinator programme and coaching starts 

November 24, 12:00 - 13:00: Final meeting regarding the pitching competition
November 29, 15:30 - 18:30: Dress rehearsal of the competition
November 30: Food Systems pitching competition at Y Science 
December 2023 – February 2024: Further concept development and prototyping

Jury for the selection of the 2023 finalists

  • Antti Isokangas, Team lead, Leipurin Oyj (sponsor-mentor representative)  

  • Jari Karlsson, Chief Marketing Officer, Foodiq (sponsor-mentor representative)

  • Harri Latva-Mäenpää, CEO, Foodwest (sponsor-mentor representative)

  • Minja Miettinen, Director, Growth & Innovation, Verman (sponsor-mentor representative)

  • Saara Pöyry, SVP Technology and Product Development, Valio (sponsor-mentor representative)

  • Heli Töykkälä, New Business Manager, Raisio (sponsor-mentor representative)

  • Jouni Lounasmaa, Foundation & Startup Executive 

  • Keith Bonnici, Investment Director, Tesi 

  • Elena Inguglia, Business Developer Manager, Helsinki Innovation Services

  • Marko Berg, Deputy Chief Investment Officer, University of Helsinki 

  • Silvia Gaiani, Senior Researcher in Innovation and Entrepreneurship towards Sustainable Food Systems,
    Ruralia Institute, University of Helsinki

  • Maija Tenkanen, professor, Bioproduction chemistry, University of Helsinki

  • Reetta Andolin (previously Kivelä), Chief Innovation Officer, Raisio Group

  • Laura Forsman, Manager, Viikki Food Design Factory

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