UNA.TEN Challenge brought together more than 100 students and coaches from 7 universities across Europe. Helsinki Think Company together with the University of Helsinki took a part in the challenge solving the challenge “travelling post COVID-19”. UNA.TEN challenge culminated on Final Presentations online on Friday 8 May, which happened to be just one day prior to Europe Day 2020. As the general secretary of Una Europa Project Emily Palmer stated on her opening speech, working together for Europe is important:

”Europe is still much under construction, so keep up the good work!”

Advocates from all seven participant universities greeted the teams at the beginning of the day. Everyone thanked the sense of community, which was build up during the 10-day challenge.

”I’m really grateful for this connection that we have across the Europe! From now on it will be a lot easier to reach out to our friends on the other side of Europe” 

–  Rosa Salmivuori, CEO of Helsinki Think Company in her opening statement.

During 10 days 19 student teams worked on solutions to four different challenges related to time after the current COVID-19 crisis. The themes were to rethink culture and entertainment, online digital consent, food supply chain and travelling post COVID-19.

Helsinki University team, Hanna, Nina, Sofia and Tero, worked on the travelling post COVID-19 challenge. The team focused on sustainability and micro travel entrepreneurs in Uusimaa. After the COVID-19 restrictions start to loosen, travel entrepreneurs need a kick-off for their business within a short period of time. The team came up with a platform for them to network and share information.

”Finnish people are ”mökkikansaa”, and they value local culture”, team member Tero described on their final presentation.

The platform enables collaborating in a new way and to creating sustainable travel experiences. The platform can also provide educational material, for example online webinars and live streams.

And how was it to work with the team online, without meeting at all in real life?

“There are pros and cons in working remotely. Sometimes there are problems with communication, for example with connections, but on the other hand you can focus solely on the subject when you don’t have to think about things like how you look”, Tero sums up.

“During the first days I was wondering how is this going to turn out, but in the end I’m happy I participated”, says Hanna.

“Yes, at first ideation didn’t feel as spontaneous as when you can gather around the same table. But I think our team’s communication worked really well after all”, continues Sofia.

UNA.TEN challenge is a great example of how we can still stay connected and come up with innovative and great ideas for a better tomorrow, even we are all living under special circumstances at the very moment.

Text: Laura Lahin