Photo: Creative Business Cup

CBC national winner: butterfly feeder that builds on fact

Imagine a peaceful kaleidoscope of butterflies in your yard. Fluttering their little wings for a small flight, only to soon land back on a beautiful design feeder for some nectar.

Isn’t that a soothing thought? As it should well be: just a 10-minute nature experience can lower the blood pressure.

Miia Liesegang from Belightful Design relies on the magical appeal of butterflies and research-based information. The butterfly feeder she has designed took the first place in the finals of the Finnish national competition of the Creative Business Cup (CBC) held in the city of Pori on 13 July 2016.

The business idea created by Liesegang and co-founder Taina Tallala is based on solid background research. The markets for the butterfly feeder are global: the beautiful design product will soon be hanging and attracting butterflies in English gardens, by the windows of senior citizens in Finland, inspiring meditation in Asian homes, in the backyards of American nature lovers – anyplace!

“I’m not a butterfly freak. I came across a butterfly bar some years ago when I was working on another project. I started looking into the market and realised that there was nothing happening there”, Liesegang recalls how the business idea was born.

“Pleasurable moments in everyday life mean a lot to me – they shouldn’t be underrated.  Moments like that can be offered by something as small as a butterfly feeder.”

Underlying the project is also concern for biodiversity: in recent decades as many as half of the butterflies have disappeared from Europe, and many of the species are in danger of extinction.

The Belightful Butterfly Feeder of Belightful Design has also won awards in other competitions. Liesegang regards competitions as fundamentally important due to the new networks that are born in and around them.

“Prizes prove that others, too, see your business idea as convincing. When a woman speaks about butterflies, people may smirk in her face. I confess that I find it unnerving.  But we have done our background research well and this is real business for us”, Lieselang huffs.

The smirks are likely be wiped off the faces as the Belightful Design duo make their way ahead in the world. One of the stages on the journey is the CBC global finals that will be held in Copenhagen this autumn.

The three best contestants from the national competition will be going to Copenhagen. The second place in the competition was taken by the “Lovia – Traceable Design” business idea. With its exquisite ecological design accessories, Lovia aims to become the world’s best known brand in its markets by the end of the decade. In the third place was the innovative, material-efficient Koepala Takeaway food packaging solution by Koepala Packaging, which serves as a plate, a bowl and a cup, all in one.

Altogether 22 business ideas were entered in the competition. The five best contestants pitched their concepts on the morning of the day of the national finals. The best ones were selected in the top three to present their pitches at the culmination of the finals, a luncheon hosted by the Finnish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment (TEM), the Federation of Finnish Enterprises and the Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff in Finland – Akava.

“The jury unanimously shared the opinion that this pitching competition was of exceptionally high quality. My expectations were exceeded by how well the participants did at pithing their products, how good and ready their business ideas were and how committed the entrepreneurs were. I’m glad they that they all look outward and are ready to conquer the world”, rejoices the chair of the jury, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment Jari Gustafsson.

In addition to fame and glory and a trip to Copenhagen, the three best enterprises will receive Finland’s first innovation vouchers, worth 5000 euros each. The experiment is launched by Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation.

“A startup seeking to grow can use the innovation voucher to, for example, refine, market or design its business strategy. The general purpose of the innovation voucher is to encourage businesses to use outside expertise”, Olli Rehn, Minister of Economic Affairs and patron of the CBC Finland competition, remarks.

So what will Belightful Design use its innovation voucher for?

“My business partner and I are thinking it over. We are hoping to create a longer-term IPR strategy, which we will need help with. And with export regulations.”