Meet the C-LAB Expert: Teea Makela

We are so excited to introduce Teea, who brings a world of experience and intellect to the upcoming C-LAB course! Read on to learn more about who she is and what she's excited about.

We are so excited to introduce Teea, who brings a world of experience and intellect to the upcoming C-LAB course! Read on to learn more about who she is and what she’s excited about.

What do you want us to know about you?

I am an entrepreneur myself and work to help other entrepreneurs develop their businesses and commercialize their innovations. So I personally know the experience of entrepreneurship, its highs and lows, exhilaration and challenges. That means that although I completed my PhD in international entrepreneurship, focusing on commercialization, I am not only talking on the basis of theory but I actually practice what I preach. And, I might add, I absolutely love it!

What do you do at Y-kampus?

I am the commercialization expert for C-LAB, focusing on the theme of making innovations practical and profitable in the marketplace.

What do you love the most about C-LAB?

The concept of bringing students, entrepreneurs, and experts together and working on real-life cases is brilliant. Students will truly get to experience real-life entrepreneurship and put what they learn into practice, preparing them for the real world. The entrepreneurs participating in the course are brilliant and we are sure to have an exciting joint learning journey ahead of us! Especially as this is a pioneering venture, we can break fresh ground together and shape the course in a way that benefits everyone optimally. We are sure to have a really fun experience!

Overall, I love how things are approached at Y-kampus, with an energetic, fun, and gutsy attitude. This attitude is great for tackling issues of entrepreneurship and learning (and life in general). Entrepreneurship and learning both require disrupting your thinking, leaving the safety of your former way of perceiving the world, venturing into the unknown, and creating something new. That requires courage, and inspiring that courage is one of the most valuable gifts you can give someone. And this is what Y-kampus does, infusing the journey of learning and entrepreneurship with fun, energy, and collaboration that are essential on the adventure to an uncertain yet gorgeously exciting future. Against this background, I am so excited about C-Lab and what it can do for all the participants!

Why did you choose to work in entrepreneurship, business development, and the surrounding ecosystem?

There are so many reasons for why I work in this field! One, I want to help make the world a better place. That requires a healthy economy and entrepreneurship is increasingly the main driver of economic growth. Two, there are so many brilliant innovations that could make life better, yet their potential is not always realized as commercialization is so challenging. Helping entrepreneurs in business development and commercialization is incredibly motivating. Among my most amazing experiences has been a project where I was able to support innovation development and commercialization of an organization developing new stem cell therapy for leukemia – the new treatment is already saving lives. Three, I love it personally as a way of life. It allows for freedom and creativity, especially as innovation increasingly happens in new ventures. So in short, this is my dream come true!

What are your superpowers?

I would say my love of learning. I genuinely find learning about new things – and new people! – to be fun and exciting. It turns out that this is a good trait especially as technological change is happening so fast that constant learning is a must.

If you could work with any company in the world, where would you work and what would you want to learn from that experience?

Right now, we have many companies in Finland doing really exciting things in the circular economy, where they combine savvy business with doing good for the world. One such example is Griffin Refineries, which makes business out of refining waste, simultaneously helping to solve huge global problems caused by polluting landfills and resource scarcity. I have been involved with part of their journey, but doing business in the circular economy is something I definitely want to learn more about.

If you had unlimited resources and could start (or invest in) any business, organization or movement, what would it be and why?

I would establish a non-profit startup incubator and accelerator that would provide a wide range of resources to entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs, including ones from unconventional backgrounds. My dream would be to help others realize their dreams, gain confidence in themselves, bring their creative ideas to fruition, and give back to the community.

What entrepreneurs and leaders do you look up to?

What I find most inspiring is when entrepreneurs solve problems in a way that is also beneficial for the wider community. For example, Relex Solutions helps retail to be more competitive though retail planning solutions, but this also results in reduced quantities of food waste. And when we waste food, we also waste all the resources that went into growing it and produce unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions. So this company is a prime example of good business being good for the world at the same time.

The leaders I look up to are ones who try to bring out the best in everyone while also wanting to contribute to the wider community. Among such leaders I would mention Antti Vasara, the current leader of VTT, whose passion is to help ensure that Finland stays among leaders in scientific, technological, and knowledge-based innovation.

What 3 books do you recommend for future entrepreneurs and leaders? Any podcasts or YouTube channels?

Sometimes classics are the best! So I would recommend the following books:
-Joseph A. Schumpeter: Essays: On Entrepreneurs, Innovations, Business Cycles and the Evolution of Capitalism – a classic work, among the most insightful analyses of entrepreneurship and its role in the economy
-Ronald S. Burt: Structural Holes: The Social Structure of Competition – a brilliant exposition of entrepreneurship as a function of combining resources, ideas, and information across networks
-Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience – the classic work in creativity, which is central to entrepreneurship
Podcasts: Stanford e-Corner – thought-provoking ideas from research and entrepreneurial practice

What is your dream for the students who come to C-LAB?

That they will learn how they can help entrepreneurs or companies bring innovations practically and profitably to market, possibly applying this in the future in their own startups!

Want to learn from Teea? Learn more about C-LAB and register here. The application deadline is September 23, so don’t wait too long to apply or you may not get in!