When Europe discovered Finnish mobility innovation…

The European Startup Prize for Mobility (EUSP) doesn’t seem to get enough of Finland these days. The Prize brings together EU institutions, multinational companies, national authorities, and philanthropists to jointly scout, rank, and boost Europe’s most promising clean mobility startups. In its 5th edition, the Prize recognized Finnish Vapaus among its Gold winners, a second time for Finland, this time for the innovative bike company.

European Startup Prize 5th edition Final Ceremony from Sobovitz Dan on Vimeo.

The winning startups were awarded generously: the Prize included major visibility and media coverage, access to an acceleration programme, mentoring, investment and partnership opportunities, and *drum roll* an European Tour to showcase the winning solution.

Shortly after the Award Ceremony in the European Parliament in Brussels, the winning startups travelled to Lisbon, Lucerne, and Helsinki. As the EUSP was one of Slush 2023 partners, the delegation came to present the individual contributions of the winning startups, as well as that of the entire Prize’s ecosystem. They also came to discover what Finland has to offer when it comes to clean mobility innovation (spoiler alert: a lot).

On the margins of Slush, Vapaus and other winners even recorded in a cosy Helsinki studio the ‘What were they thinking?’ podcast, featuring the stories of the winning startups from all across Europe. Episode 1 : Mikko 🇫🇮 • Podcast • What were they thinking? (podcastics.com)


What’s next? EUSP is now building its ecosystem for the upcoming 6th edition launching  in November in Monaco under the patronage of Prince Albert II. It means, companies and possible sponsors who wish to take part in this fast-paced innovation ecosystem, should hurry and ask to join. Startups who wish to apply should wait only a few more months as registration will open on November 13th 2024. The final ceremony and winners will be announced early 2025. “For Vapaus, the journey has been remarkable. I’ve always known we were onto something special, but facing such strong competition, I have to admit, I had my doubts,” says Mikko Ampuja, the founder of Vapaus. Despite these doubts, Vapaus emerged victorious, securing a gold award alongside three other winners (RailWai, Stellar, and C2A Security) after three rounds of evaluations. “Winning this competition has opened several doors for us in the European market. It serves as a seal of quality and approval. Our brand may not yet be a household name, but mentioning our EUSP gold win instantly grabs the attention of customers, investors, and the media,” continues Mikko.

Testimonial: Vapaus – Top 10 winner 2023 from Sobovitz Dan on Vimeo.

Dan Sobovitz, Managing Director of the European Startup Prize for Mobility, explains: “The EUSP was created to identify, rank, and boost Europe’s most promising clean mobility startups from all over Europe. Last year, we evaluated a record of over 700 startup applications using a rigorous methodology developed by the Boston Consulting Group and Via ID. Applicants were assessed by a cohort of independent evaluators on their written applications and the Top 50 were then interviewed by a professional jury. 

More importantly, the Prize winners and partners are already embarking into synergies which will boost such innovation which is so needed. That’s what the Prize is all about”. The winners indeed enjoy the full acceleration programme but even for those who don’t necessarily win, applying to the Prize puts them on the radar of all the partners for potential collaboration!

Stay updated by following the EUSP on LinkedIn, Facebook, or X. Vapaus from Finland has clinched the Gold at EUSP 2023. Next year, it could be you!