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WoodSense won the Start Me Up 2023 business idea competition, UEF-based ColdXRay and Eco Boards were also awarded

The winner of the Start Me Up business idea competition is the high-quality WoodSense product manufactured by Mielikki Nordic, a manufacturer of cosmetic ingredients in Rääkkylä. Mielikki Nordic redeems a prize of EUR 132,500, consisting of money, investments and versatile expert services for the internationalisation of the company. The company will also have business premises at its disposal, for one year, in Joensuu’s Science Park.

The main prize and the prizes of other competition categories were awarded at the Award Gala, held at Joensuu Science Park, on 24 May 2023. The value of the main prize is EUR 132,500 and the total value of the prizes exceeds EUR 160,000.

WoodSense is a completely new functional skin care ingredient and concept for the cosmetics industry, the secret of which lies in Finland's Arctic nature. The ingredient combines extract compounds from both Arctic fungi and wood into one natural ingredient: An elixir with a significant anti-inflammatory effect. WoodSense is intended to be included as one ingredient in the final formulations of consumer cosmetic products.

The unique functional ingredient is the result of the long-term product development work of the Mielikki Nordic team, which includes Henri Vanhanen, Marta Cortina Escribano, Petri Kilpeläinen, Jarkko Hellström and Markku Leppänen. The team has a strong research, product development and production background in the fields of food, wood and microbial science. Marta Cortina Escribano is currently a visiting researcher in wood material science at the University of Eastern Finland.

A patent is pending for the WoodSense ingredient, to protect the production method, the Arctic fungal strains owned by Mielikki Nordic, as well as the extraction technology to manufacture the anti-inflammatory product. The win of the Start Me Up business idea competition enables the company to grow rapidly and, in particular, increase its marketing and sales resources.

“Over the past few months, we have witnessed the market's good response to our WoodSense product and brand. Now the key is to increase sales resources, for which the main prize will give us significant support,” Henri Vanhanen rejoices.

ColdXRay received award in research-based business idea category

As a new prize, the Research-Based Business Idea prize was awarded for a value of EUR 3,000. The prize was won by ColdXRay, a research-based deep technology start-up at the University of Eastern Finland.

ColdXRay is an innovative solution for X-ray imaging based on X-ray cold cathode source. Most of the X-ray apparatus on the market use technology that is more than 100 years old and is based on hot filament, thermionic electron sources. Old X-ray technology has restricted the development of compact and more efficient X-ray devices on the market.

Patented ColdXRay’s X-ray Cold CathodeSource, with graphene-based material, enables the creation of smaller, more energy-efficient and more cost-effective X-ray sources. The solution opens up new applications in the fields of medicine, security and industrial inspections. It enables compact, lighter, longer lifetime energy-efficient X-ray equipment, including hand-held and table X-ray equipment.

The winning team’s Petr Obraztsov, Alexander Obraztsov, Yuri Svirko and Sergei Malykhin are experienced entrepreneurs, engineers and researchers, with strong expertise in X-ray technology and product development. They have successfully completed the first phase of the technology development plan and are moving towards the commercialisation of ColdXray.

Nanoscale awarded in student category

The student category winner of the University of Eastern Finland is Nanoscale Oy, which develops electricity and emission-free Eco Boards for better indoor air quality. The solution of Wujun Xu and Junyan Chen, from Kuopio, was awarded a prize of EUR 3,000.

The company's sustainable development ECO board products, such as wall panels, correct the humidity problems of indoor air in rooms and facilities, by combining Finnish plant-based forest products and advanced nanotechnology.

Eco Boards products have a very high humidity control capability. The boards reduce humidity and pollutants from indoor air, such as formaldehyde and nitrogen oxides, with a unique process. High humidity indoors causes mould in objects and structures, as well as condensed water and metal corrosion in electrical devices. The boards can be used to automatically control the humidity of the indoor air, without additional operating and maintenance costs. Compared to similar competitor products, Eco Boards benefits from low energy consumption, efficiency and sustainable raw materials. In addition, the product is recyclable and emission-free.

Official testing of the humidity control capability of the product has already been carried out, and testing of the ability to remove air pollutants is currently underway. The first target market identified by Eco Boards is China, where the prototype has already been sent for official testing. In Asian countries, such as China and Japan, the humidity of indoor air is high due to special climatic conditions, causing problems with rust, mould and the condensation of water in structures and furniture, in residential buildings, public buildings, museums and art galleries. Structures with water and mould damage accumulate microbial contaminants in indoor air, which can be prevented by Eco Boards.

Source: Business Joensuu

For further information, please contact:

Business Joensuu

Tomi Haring, CEO and President of the Start Me Up jury, tel. +358 400 380 130,

Kirsi Svärd, Business Coach, tel. +358 50 475 4136,

Janne Pakarinen, Business Coach, tel. +358 50 575 8859,


Petr Obraztsov, tel. +358 50 463 5749,

Jyrki Saarinen, Professor, Head of the Department of Physics and Mathematics, University of Eastern Finland, tel. +358 50 595 4348,

ECO Boards, Nanoscale Oy

Wujun Xu, CEO and Co-Founder, tel. +358 40 355 2348,

Junyan Chen, tel. +358 41 721 0069

Jyrki Saarinen, Professor, Head of the Department of Physics and Mathematics, University of Eastern Finland, tel. +358 50 595 4348,