The International Entrepreneurship Challenge (IEC) Programme provides organizations (new ventures and corporate new ventures) in Finland with the opportunity to engage a team of MSc students in their final year of study at the LUT School of Business. Now in its 17th year, IEC has paired over 600 students with dozen of companies in Finland.

These students work with key members of the organization to address strategic business issues and to develop a comprehensible and independent plan for internationalization. The tailor-made plan provides specific recommendations for each participating company.

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Important deadlines and how to apply

IEC Programme Application Deadline is June 7, 2024. Please fill the Online Application application form.

For questions regarding the application process please contact:

Contact us

For further information concerning the IEC programme, and application process please contact: See also campus arrival instructions.

Or contact directly the people below. 

International students studying in classroom in LUT University

For the companies

The IEC Programme matches companies with a team of three or four MIMM and MIBE students. Each participating company will be assigned a team which conducts a field study project for the company.

The programme is free of charge for the selected companies. Each team collectively contributes in the region of 800 hours to each company, which most firms would find cost-prohibitive at typical consultant rates. The students complete an in-depth internationalization / international marketing plan to enable the company to move to the next stage in their development.

The Master's Degree in International Marketing Management (MIMM) and International Business and Entrepreneurship (MIBE) are specialized two-year programmes and IEC is a core module in both. 

The student body in the IEC-programme is highly international representing a mixture of nationalities. The students possess wide array of knowledge in business functions, especially in marketing, international business and technology management.

The plan typically involves:

International market entry strategy: Selecting the best market (or markets) for market entry.

  • Formulation of the initial go-to-market plan for selected market(s) and plan for building presence in the chosen market(s).
  • Creation of the plan for marketing, sales and recruitments.
  • Creation of the plan for customer support and training.
  • Creation of the sales and expense budget for the first 2 years.
  • Formulation of the action plan: Creation of the "bullet-proof" plan for getting the first 20 customers.

In general, the plans consist of strategic, marketing, operational and financing recommendations based on extensive analysis of primary and secondary research. Plans also include product concept, customer, competitor, and SWOT-analyses.

IEC timeline 2024

Frequently Asked Questions

Internationalization Handbook for the Software Business

Internationalization Handbook for the Software Business is one of the tools the student teams use to prepare internationalization plans for the participating firms.

This handbook is written by Toivo Äijö, Olli Kuivalainen, Sami Saarenketo, Jani Lindqvist and Hanna Hanninen. The Internationalization Handbook for the Software Business is produced for the Ohjelmistoliiketoiminnan osaamiskeskus (OSKE) and OSKE is the copyright holder of the material.

The aim of the book is to provide a common language and framework for the organizations involved in supporting the internationalization, and to help a firm to recognize and understand its stage of development regarding internationalization, and enable a firm to implement its internationalization plan effectively.

Faculty advisors and wider LUT IEC Network

IEC student teams are supported by the LUT School of Business and Management faculty advisors/mentors from the LUT network.

Each student team is assigned a professor from the LUT School of Business and Management and a mentor who has an interest and industry track-record in international business/marketing/entrepreneurship. The role of the faculty advisor and a mentor is primarily to advise the students on their field study projects; they do not directly manage the interface with the participating companies.

Faculty advisors

Mentors and wider LUT IEC Network

Here you can read about the mentors from the past. For example Antti Vilpponen, Kirsimarja Blomqvist, Veikko HaraPetteri LaaksonenJari Varis and William Frost have been the mentors for the teams during the past years of the IEC programme.

International Entrepreneurship-Scholars

Some of the mentors may come from different countries as LUT School of Business is a founding partner in the International Entrepreneurship -Scholars network


The IEC has been originally developed  in co-operation with Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation - which is now Business Finland.