The Baltic Sea is a truly exceptional, yet fragile natural environment that needs special protection. At the same time, the sea has great potential for sustainable business.

To combine protection with the development of the blue bioeconomy, we introduced DEEP – Baltic Sea Challenge in February 2018. In a nutshell, DEEP is a unique two-track challenge aiming to create sustainable business from the Baltic Sea.

Organised by Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), Finnish Water Forum, Ålandsbanken and Helsinki Think Company, DEEP called for applications from both and individuals ready to create concrete solutions for the following challenges:

Challenge 1: Sustainable business from the Baltic Sea

This track was aimed for teams of 2–5 persons with pre-existing business ideas in either (or both) of the following focus areas. The ideas could be anything from preliminary blueprints to more polished plans. For inspiration, we wrote this blog post!

  • solutions for a cleaner Baltic Sea
  • new food and non-food products from fish, algae and aquatic plants.

Challenge 2: Better policies for the Baltic Sea

This track was aimed for individuals with a passion for better environmental policies. Participants applied as individuals, and we united them into three teams that worked together to develop or reform policies to create better opportunities for sustainable business from the Baltic Sea.


DEEP supported all team with tailored mentoring from dedicated content matter experts sourced from our large networks. After the three-day challenge weekend culminating in a pitching final, the best three teams were granted prizes of 1 500, 1 000 and 5oo euros as well as networking opportunities. Even more importantly, all of the teams had gained new contacts and tools to make a real impact.


DEEP was open for all – researchers, students, entrepreneurs and other enthusiasts –, and the amount of applications took us by surprise. A total of 9 teams we’re selected to the Sustainability track and around 20 participants to the Policy Track.

Get acquainted with all 12 ideas born during DEEP here!