Have you always wondered what it’s like to lead a health and life sciences startup hub? Get to know our General Manager, Iiro Uotila, who has steered the ship of Terkko since early 2021!
1. Hello! Who are you?
I’m Iiro Uotila, the General Manager of Terkko Health Hub, and I steer the ship of Terkko to the best of my ability through these tumultuous times.
I’m an example of a budding scientist turned commercialization enthusiast. My academic background is in neurosciences and cell physiology from the Viikki campus. Additionally, I’m an alumnus of Helsinki Think Company, joining their ranks in 2017 in the Meilahti team since the inception of Terkko Health Hub. I have been part of Terkko’s activities with the main addition of creating the Terkko Health X program in collaboration with the former General Manager of Terkko Health Hub, Kiira Grönroos.
On the personal side of life, I’m a rugby aficionado (My Super Rugby fantasy team is not doing well at the moment, and it is giving me a headache) and a gaming nerd of both video and tabletop games.
2. What’s your role at Terkko?
I lead the operations of the whole Terkko Health Hub and Terkko management team as the General Manager. Poetically said, my job is to make sure my team succeeds in what they are doing. In actuality, there are a lot of duties involved, from stakeholder management to even everyday event organizing.
If my main responsibilities need to be named, there are a few. Naturally, I’m in charge of the admin side of things like reporting, budgeting and invoicing. Another responsibility is to spread the word about Terkko to end-users in the ecosystem and sell our services to our niche startups.
I also work on the other end of the spectrum, liaisoning with our steering board, making sure Terkko Health Hub’s strategic goals are met and developing our overall action plan to fit the ever-changing innovation and startup ecosystem landscape. My work also involves a lot of stakeholder management with other actors in the ecosystem, especially with local innovation actors like SPARK Finland, Health Incubator Helsinki and CleverHealth Network.
3. What’s the best thing that has already happened this year? What are you most looking forward to in 2022?
The most exciting thing for Terkko is the kickoff of the University of Helsinki incubator program which Terkko Health X is also part of. The program has brought more focus to innovation and startup themes at the University of Helsinki. It has also given us more allies to share our ambitions and goals in the ecosystem. Also, COVID restrictions lifting has been exhilarating since co-creating and developing the ecosystem is so much more efficient and inspiring in person, at least personally.
This year, I’m most looking forward to strengthening our collaboration with other ecosystem actors and the university’s incubator team. Health Incubator Helsinki took its third batch this April, Helsinki Innovation Services joined our fold, and on the event side, we are also collaborating with SPARK Finland. And lastly, we are working on a digital platform with Viikki Innovation Platform and HiLIFE. So many things happening and to look forward to!
4. What it’s like to lead Terkko Health Hub?
There is a certain draw to working with Terkko since you get to see what is happening in the life sciences and health tech startup and innovation ecosystem. And when you lead to the whole shebang, you get the same thing but at least tenfold.
There is also a need to adjust within this position since you wear several hats daily. We are at a crossroads dealing with fast-moving smaller organizations like startups and bigger organizations like HUS and the University of Helsinki. That is an intricate landscape to operate in. The theme of commercialization and startups has become more acceptable in the five years I have been working in this ecosystem, so it’s becoming easier every day.
It is also exhilarating to work in this setting since you see early-stage companies joining our midst, and you are there to witness how companies grow and flourish while being part of your community. If any of that success is due to our contribution, we can view it as a success.