Hanken’s connections to practice are multifaceted and frequent and have often been assessed as a strength by external evaluators. This is a result of persistent development work. Hanken has structured broader corporate relationships under a Partner Programme, currently involving 20 partners that partake in events such as the annual career fair Hanken Network Day, the annual homecoming day “Hankendagen”, Hanken Research Day, and in events and conferences organised by the competence centres. The partner programme collaborates tightly with the Career services, where partners host e.g., CV check-ins and LinkedIn sessions. The alumni network forms another essential link between Hanken and the corporate world, with alumni engaged to bring corporate relevance to the curriculum and function as mentors to students. Almost all graduates choose to join the alumni network, and the strong commitment of the alumni is also proven by over 10 % of the alumni having participated in the fundraising campaigns.
The Business Lab
In supporting innovation, Hanken Business Lab is key. Founded in 2016, it is an innovative incubator with the goal of helping start-ups, scale-ups, non-profit organisations, and individuals to achieve significant growth. The operations build on five layers:
- Spiritual – entrepreneurial culture
- Financial – access to funding
- Digital – digital outreach
- Social – capabilities and networks
- Physical – outstanding facilities
The Business Lab’s community-based incubation model is built on active and relevant entrepreneurship research and education, and student-, industry- and international collaboration. “Torget” in Helsinki and “Stugan” in Vaasa are co-working spaces, where Hanken students, alumni, faculty and staff, as well as other collaboration partners can meet up. It is a creative and supportive environment with a low threshold, with activities not only for start-ups, but for anyone wanting to create something new. The Business Lab offers the students an atmosphere of entrepreneurial spirit, access to a mixed network including funding possibilities, consultations of an Executive in Residence, and a forum to test their business ideas.
The Business Lab now has 50+ member organisations, and in the fall of 2022 the operations have been expanded by a pre-incubation Ventures Studio built in collaboration with the City of Helsinki as part of the Campus Incubator Program. The Venture Studio aims to support early-stage business from idea to first sale via a dual track-accelerator program, ‘The Playground’, an alumni network ‘MentorX’ that pairs students with mentors, coaches, and experienced co-founders, and an entrepreneurial community and communication channel, HankenX. The Playground, pairing teams with individual mentors, is a 16-week accelerator held biannually that takes 10 teams from early-stage idea to first sale through a series of weekly workshops and activities. HankenX communication channel amassed a community of 80+ active members and 20+ mentors, coaches, and speakers.
The HUMLOG Institute
Hanken embraces innovation and takes a positive stance to starting up functions that are in line with the strategy and do not require too large an initial investment. An example of an initiative that has grown into a success is the Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Research Institute (HUMLOG), a joint institute between Hanken and the National Defence University in Finland established in 2008, when humanitarian logistics was quite new as a research field.
The primary aim of the institute is to conduct research in humanitarian logistics and supply chain management. Research is conducted with and for humanitarian organisations, in individual projects and international consortiums. The research contributes to education, with Hanken offering an MSc programme in Humanitarian logistics and PhD students focusing on topics in the subject area. The research has impact on society, through customised trainings in partnership with practitioners and through communication, dissemination and exchange of knowledge via events and seminars.
The development of the HUMLOG activities have continued in line with Hanken’s strategy to strengthen academic excellence, internationalisation, societal impact, connections to practice and responsibility. Throughout the years, the Institute has worked in close cooperation with several international organisations and is considered as one of the top research centres in humanitarian logistics worldwide. During the past three years, the HUMLOG Institute has witnessed an exponential growth particularly with regards to international projects (such as the Health Emergency Response in Interconnected Systems project), and thus also meets Hanken’s strategic goal to increase funding from diverse sources.