Säästöpankki Optia – part if the Savings Bank Group – is donating 150 000 euros to the student-led LUT Entrepreneurship Society LUTES. LUTES is the entrepreneurial community of students from LUT University and the LAB University of Applied Sciences. It encourages students to pursue entrepreneurship and provides entrepreneurial experiences on the Lappeenranta campus. In LUTES, students often take their first steps towards high-growth entrepreneurship. The society bridges the gap between students and entrepreneurship ecosystems of businesses. With its donation, Optia wants to mark its 140th anniversary and promote startup activity.
“Promoting responsibility is a core value for the Savings Bank Group. We annually donate part of our proceeds to foster local well-being and vitality. The board of Säästöpankki Optia has wanted to allocate donations to make a positive impact on business and industries in Eastern Finland. Supporting university education and research is an impactful way to further competitiveness and prepare for the future,” says Antero Savolainen, chair of the board of Säästöpankki Optia.
“Research and development involving entrepreneurship is also important for humanity and the well-being of future generations. That's why this donation is also societally significant,” explains Heikki Paasonen, CEO of Säästöpankki Optia.
LUT University uses cutting-edge scientific research to help businesses and communities identify business opportunities. LUT collaborates with a number of actors that support startups. LUTES is one of them.
“We greatly appreciate Säästöpankki Optia’s donation and the fact that the bank wants to support student entrepreneurship that pursues sustainable solutions to future problems,” says Petri Ajo, growth director at LUT University.
“The development of the high-growth entrepreneurship ecosystem in the region is long-standing, challenging work. The donation will help us cultivate our activity and find tools to help students start their own businesses,” outlines Venla Ollikainen, LUTES president.
Student-led high-growth companies in Finland have attracted over 1.1 billion euros in funding and employ more than 6700 people, reveals an entrepreneurship society impact report by the Startup Foundation.
Donations to LUT can be made by businesses, communities and private citizens. Donations are usually allocated to the university's general activity. However, donors of 10 000 euros or more have the opportunity to allocate their donation to one of three fields: technology, business or social sciences.