*ship happened this year (2017) on 11-13 of July, partly at the same time as the Tall Ship Races and Kotkan Meripäivät (a sea-themed summer festival). A usually quiet small city by the ocean became much more lively and surrounded by people from all over the country and thanks to *ship, from all over the world. The whole week started from Monday, July 10 demanded full dedication from the whole *ship team and volunteers. With joined forces, we all pulled it together and created a startup festival we’ll never forget!

Volunteering at *ship was an amazing experience! To meet people from around the world sharing the same passion towards entrepreneurship and persuading that passion is such an inspiration. Let alone all of the inspiring mentors that arrived to share their years of experience and valuable advice to us all. These three days were consisted of dreams, ideas and courage to fulfill them, which opened my mind to all the possibilities that entrepreneurship has to offer.

As a volunteer you usually don’t get to do the “cool” jobs and are mostly stuck in the background not really knowing where you’re supposed to be. Luckily the team spirit was supportive and encouraging, which lent me a positive mindset throughout the whole experience. I learned that all great things and ideas are born from the basic matters such as building the arena and driving guests around. To make *ship happen we had some serious team effort going on.

As an overall experience I didn’t really know what I was getting into when I started but I’m glad I did. I learned a lot about pitching and how startups operate, I got to talk to successful people and hear their words of wisdom, I got experience in a beautiful harbor city and became a part of a community that shares a passion towards making their dreams into reality.

For my future personally, this experience has provided lots of new assets and knowledge if I choose to continue on to an entrepreneurial career. Who knows! I was dazzled by the variety of ideas and creativity this event brought upon me and now I truly believe anything is possible. V2 hall was filled with open and friendly people and great team members, lots of connections were made.  All of it lighted an interest inside of me to maybe start studying and pursuing a business related future for myself. Know I’ve had the exclusive chance to be behind the scenes while successful and passionate people take the stage and that alone is an awesome experience!

Author:  Sanni Suikki graduated from high school this spring and is currently living in Kotka, hoping to start studying in a university soon. Being a part of *ship was a happy surprise for her.