Elaleh talvimaisemassa ja Kipnis sisätiloissa.
Elaheh Aryapour ja Abraham Kipnis

LUT-University students Abraham Kipnis and Elaheh Aryapour win the Imatra Development Competition

Cooperation with universities was repeated in almost all student work.

In the Imatra challenge, the task of the competitors was to create an action plan on how Imatra would achieve the 2030 vision of Imatra described in the assignment. A jury of decision-makers and experts praised the plan of Abraham Kipnis and Elaheh Aryapour. The winners handed out a grand prize of € 3,000.

They make proposals related to infrastructure, tourism, community and industry.

Kipnis and Aryapour propose, among other things, improved connections between Finland's largest wooden school and the city center, cooperation between the board and packaging industry and a new type of food industry in Imatra, surprise awards for tourists, sightseeing of the hydropower plant's green energy production and many other small and large development ideas.

– The proposal had taken into account existing actors and services and thought of something new that could attract Imatra's international attention and interest to international students and be an interesting city for students to find employment and build a future, LAB's student agent Kaisa Vainikka evaluates the winners' competition work.

The second place was shared by the competition work of Kati Makkonen and Onni Kyrkkö and the proposal of Pauliina Fuss. Both received a prize of € 750.

Saku Tihveräinen, an executive recruiter and researcher who guided the students in the competition, says that he is surprised and grateful for how deeply the 27 proposals looked at Imatra's challenges and proposed solutions.

– The students' proposals repeatedly showed cooperation with the students, building and developing the startup hub not only into regionally, but also as a nationally and even internationally significant player, Tihveräinen sums up.

Peter Sjöberg, CEO of Santander Finland, who served in the jury, considers the competition entries to be thorough.

–  Environmental issues related to responsibility also came up in many works, he adds.

Razi Latif, a member of the jury of the UN Department of Finland, says that the race was an interesting peek at the challenges of a Finnish city suffering from a migration loss. Latif hopes that the one-off Imatra challenge will become a more continuous activity in which all the citizens of the city can participate as the exceptional circumstances recede.

– It could be on some themes such as landscaping, reducing greenhouse gas emissions or improving opportunities for entrepreneurs with disabilities,” Latif outlines.

Deputy Mayor Kaisa Heino has promised that the competition entries will be distributed to new city councilors and will be available to city residents.

More information:

Executive Talent Agent and researcher Saku Tihveräinen, saku.tihverainen@talented.fi, tel. 050 50 63 442

Deputy Mayor Kaisa Heino, kaisa.heino@imatra.fi, tel. 020 617 2206

Feedback discussion

See the discussion of the jury, Deputy Mayor Heino, Chairman of the City Board Anna Helminen and Expert Nishan Chelvachandran and the winners after the competition.

Indoor farming agritech startup facilities is the most promising idea

City of Imatra asked several questions to the winners of Imatra challence. This is how they answered:

1.    What are your feelings now after hearing you won the first price in the challenge?

Abraham: I have a lot of ideas about how to make the world a better place, and it was fun to share them creatively and collaboratively. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be of service to something greater than myself, and to be recognized for the work. I’m excited to see what comes next and looking forward to the next challenge. 

Elaheh: I am a master's student in sustainability science and solution programme, my passion is to use interactions between natural and social systems to have a more sustainable future. I have good ideas and now I am excited to get a chance to convert my ideas into a reality. I gained self-trust by overcoming this challenge to face more challenging projects in the future.

2. What is the most promising idea, which Imatra should realize?

Abraham: We are big proponents of low emission food supply chains, so we proposed integrating TetraPak and Stora Enso lines with new indoor farming agritech startup facilities. We also recommend these companies train LUT and LAB students to join their workforces. 


3. What should Imatra do first to achieve that in 2030?

Abraham: The first step is assessing feasibility to show agritech can be sustainably profitable. The challenge remains for students, researchers, and industry to analyze food and waste infrastructure to realize a circular economy.

Elaheh: In my opinion integration of making Imatra a smart city and considering human well-being at the same time should be the first goal. If locals live happy and healthy and have a good career life, they would not move to other cities. This is why we proposed ideas that promote human well-being in Imatra. We believe in improving the healthcare system, creating job opportunities in different sectors of industry, and creating recreational activities.

Check out the competition's proposed actions

Imatra challenge competition works. Some of the works are in English, some in Finnish.