The SHIFT Business Festival took place, as usual, near the end of August, this time on August 25 and 26. The event was also featured multiple side events and unofficial get-togethers.
This year, the focus was on sustainability, with particular emphasis on future foods and new business models based on truly forward-thinking innovations. The event’s choice of setting reflected this mentality of innovative reuse. In recent years, the former infamous prison of Kakola at the heart of Turku has been transformed into a stunning space that houses a hotel, a brewery and restaurants, among others. This transformation made Kakola a natural fit for this year’s SHIFT.
The programme consisted of keynotes, panels, workshops and networking, with an immersive multi-day SHIFT retreat available for those looking for a deeper dive. Amid the speakers (ranging from foodtech CEO Lauri Reuter presenting burgers made from air to Silicon Valley AI gurus talking about AI’s importance) and the panelists, there we local, regional and national companies, organisations and universities setting up their booths and networking with the event visitors. Last year’s entirely online SHIFT translated to a hybrid model this year, with programming, exhibitions and networking taking place online as well as at the event grounds at Kakola.
In addition to the physical and virtual Turku Business Region stands, Talent Turku was present on both days in the guise of the #TalentedByNature Ambassadors!
While the rain made a dent on the outdoorsiness of the event, the organisers were prepared for the fickle Finnish summer weather. The Innovation Stage had both a live and streamed audience, and occasional bouts of rain failed to affect the programming taking place on the stage in any way. Both days saw sunshine as well, with networking and booth discussions going strong whenever there was a break between shows.
Overall, SHIFT in 2021 showed that despite the occasionally overwhelmingly negative news coming from all over the world, that same world is full of individuals, companies and organisations helping to tackle the big issues of our day: climate change, AI and sustainable food practices, among others.