Toivo Hursti, Chair
Toivo is a student of Political Science in the University of Helsinki by day, and a failed entrepreneur by night. A couple of years ago Toivo founded a company that provided insects as a sustainable alternative to the more commonly consumed sources of protein. Regardless of the hype around this new meat-free option, Toivo’s company failed horrendously, as he discovered how people weren’t actually too keen on the idea of eating bugs.
Nevertheless, the experience taught Toivo more than anything else had ever taught. At Think Company, he wants to provide the same opportunity of learning-by-doing to everyone who might be ahead of their time (as for example wanting to feed bugs to people). Today Toivo works in the field of entrepreneurship education alongside his studies. On his free time, Toivo enjoys buying books and rarely reading them, cooking and foraging for wild ingredients.
Elisa Paljakka, Vice chair
Elisa is finishing her Master’s degree in Finnish Literature at the University of Helsinki. Besides arts she is passionate about outdoor living: roaming around in the forests and making experiments in the garden. Elisa initially got involved in Think Company by participating in the challenges of DEEP and Ruokakiihdyttämö, as she feels passionate about agroecological innovations for more sustainable farming. Lately she has also been interested in regional politics connected to social sustainability. This year she wanted to take a more active role in the organisation itself, as taking the seat of vice-chair.
Elisa wants to share her knowledge on impact entrepreneurship and problem solving strategies, which she has learnt at Think Company herself. She sees Helsinki Think Company as a warm and welcoming community, where you can develop yourself and drive real societal impact through cooperation.
Kevin Dietrich, Secretary
Kevin is a German expat, living in Helsinki since August 2021. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Business and a Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Oulu. During his studies, Kevin was involved in many voluntary works regarding international students and business networking. He initially joined Helsinki Think Company by participating in the Helseed student entrepreneurship programme.
His interests lie in journalism, green economy, sustainability, purposeful entrepreneurship and economic politics. He is confident that the green economy will become a major part in the future business mindset, so he wants to take action by informing and consulting young change-makers. Also, fostering the integration of international professionals into the Finnish business environment is one of his main goals.
Dina Nyström, Treasurer
Dina is a Finnish-Egyptian dentist, entrepreneur and owner of Cosmetics By Dina Nour startup-company. She studied dentistry in Egypt and entrepreneurship in Finland. She worked in Egypt as a general dentist and also as an administrative and teaching assistant at Misr International University. She has also experience as a course coordinator in a quality assurance team and as an official smile designer in the digital dentistry field. Lately she has been working as COO for a dental start-up in Finland, being in charge of finances, international communications and product design.
She has several skills that she wants to bring to the table in her board work at the Helsinki Think Company: organisational and management skills, communications, public relations as well as experience in organising events. However, she is also looking forward to learning new things during her board tenure, as for example nailing down the art of making a good pitch.
Eelis Lehtinen, Board Member
Eelis is a 20-year-old student, originally from Lahti, but currently living in Espoo. He studies Marketing at Aalto University School of Business andomputer Science at University of Helsinki. He enjoys a lot of things, and sometimes has a hard time choosing what he wants to do the most. In his free time he likes to play football or music, and do all sorts of tinkering with Legos, computers, or Arduino.
Eelis was inspired to join the Helsinki Think Company because of his genuine interest in entrepreneurship. He thinks that with entrepreneurship, there is a possibility to shape the world. He knows that being a part of Helsinki Think Company provides a great chance to develop skills in regards to that.
Carl-Emil Wickström, Board member
Carl-Emil is a Politics Master’s student at University of Helsinki, reporter at a Norwegian newswire, and former management consultant with insight in the energy sector. He is based in Helsinki for several years now, barring a two year stint the Swedish speaking Finn spent in Stockholm. He has studied entrepreneurship at Hanken, and besides Think Co he is also engaged in the WEC Future Energy Leaders program. He is highly interested in the energy sector; ranging from energy start-ups disrupting established utility giants, to the geopolitics of gas and the green transition in the Nordic power market. For him, Helsinki Think Company at the City Center was initially the “new fancy building on campus”, but after looking it up he found out that it was much more. Carl-Emil’s interest in entrepreneurship partially stems from ambitions of having his own venture one day. In his free time, he enjoys watching Formula 1 racing and lifting weights at the gym.
During his board term, he looks forward to helping university students with their entrepreneurial ambitions – be it through grants from the Think Fund to their ventures, or developing the association to better serve their changemaking needs. In addition to that, he looks forward to getting involved in any potential energy related programs and events himself.
Tareque Mahmud, Board Member
Tareque, while originally from Bangladesh, has been living in Finland now for nearly 13 years. Finland is a second home to him now. He’s currently doing his Master's degree in International Business at the University of Vaasa. In addition, he is also a professional video producer focusing on building his own video production company in the Helsinki area. In his free time, he loves to play acoustic guitar, read books and learn different video editing techniques.
Tareque was inspired to join the Helsinki Think Company as a board member because he believes it is the way to give back what he receives from society. Also, he wants to further promote entrepreneurship in our society, because it is the way to create more job opportunities and erase unemployment. Also, he wants to get familiar with Finnish organisational culture through his board membership and board work.
Jens Christian Trier, Board Member
Jens is a Danish-Swedish social entrepreneur based in Helsinki. Before moving here, he lived in London where his startup is still based. He’s interested in sustainable development and politics. Jens has a degree in International Relations and Law from the University of Gothenburg. In his spare time, he enjoys travelling, experiencing art in various ways and watching football, hockey and American football.
Jens hopes to widen his network in Finland while bringing his experience in board work and social entrepreneurship to the table; supporting both the board internally and the beneficiaries of Helsinki Think Company.
Group photos: Suvi Välimäki, Individual photos: Sanna Kujala