Polar Bear Pitching reinvents itself in a week

Press release from Polar Bear Pitching

Can coronavirus be an instigator for reformation and a negative domino effect be turned into a positive one? Northern Finnish business event is virtually reborn just a week after cancellation due to COVID-19.

The rapidly expanding coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic has knocked down events one by one. One of many is Polar Bear Pitching, an annual business event where talks are given while standing in the ice-cold water of the frozen Baltic Sea. Only 8 days before March 12th, when the event was due in the city of Oulu, Northern Finland, it had to be cancelled. However, the event organizers refused to see this freezing moment as a definite end – they wanted to explore if it could be turned into an opportunity instead.

“We realised it’s over only if we let fear guide us and refuse to act. We decided to bounce back and change our perspective! Could this be the beginning of something new? This is not the first time we’re faced with a literal freezing moment. We were, after all, born in 2014 in the pool that was left behind when the Nokia mobile phone business froze. Having ice cold water in our DNA helps, because we know that in order to survive, we need to act fast,” explains Mia Kemppaala, Founder of Polar Bear Pitching.

Finnish people have always been resilient, even so that they have their own word for the specific mindset of “sisu”, which has no direct translation in English. Sisu is a combination of attributes such as resilience, persistence, and bravery; it refers to the innate power that emerges when the going gets tough and giving up seems like the only logical option. Finns have adapted to their Arctic environment; the opposing winds, the long periods of darkness, and the freezing temperatures.

The organisers challenged themselves to create a virtual event in 7 days from ground zero, even though they had no previous experience of such. They were motivated to take action to experiment what can be accomplished in a week. Could they organise the event in a more sustainable way and reverse the negative domino effect sweeping the world into a positive movement?

“By tackling an almost impossible quest, we want to try to prove the point that if we refuse to take counsel from our fears and decide to confidently take action to turn obstacles into opportunities, the future will be brighter. We want to challenge individuals to revalue their freezing moments and kiss fear goodbye,” Kemppaala continues.

The harsh circumstances and the pressing timeline compelled the event organisers to think outside the box and find ways to create a virtual event and go green while keeping the ice hole still cool. So, on March 12 at 5 p.m. (GMT+2) Polar Bear Pitching goes live. The entire virtual event can be found for free on the matchmaking platform Brella, by joincode “morethanmeetstheice”.

In 2020, the live show focuses on global challenges that are troubling many. It seeks to turn the tone of conversations fromproblems into solutions and fear into confidence through case examples of entrepreneurs who have decided to act and tackle these challenges. Staying true to the nature of Polar Bear Pitching, talks are given in the icy waters of Oulu River either in-person or virtually by entrepreneurs from Estonia, Finland, India, Israel, Japan, Sweden and the UK.

Leading experts, such as Chris Heivly (Techstars) and Gregory Shepard (BOSS Capital Partners) from the USA, share their advice on how to successfully take your idea forward. The emotional story of injured athlete Pekka Hyysalo, the embodiment of Finnish Sisu, shows how resilience can help in the battle against all odds. Hyysalo has demonstrated how even the hardest of battles can be turned into one’s best version of oneself.

A virtual press conference is organised after the livestream as a Zoom webinar.

More info:
Virtual Press Conference:

Please, register for the Press Conference with the above link. After registration, you will receive an automatic email message, where you will find the link for joining our Press Conference. The waiting room will be opened on March 12, 2020 at 5pm (GMT+2). Please note that the Press Conference will start immediately after the Polar Bear Pitching live show (approximately at 7pm GMT+2). Welcome to chat with us! Your email will not be used for marketing purposes.

Polar Bear Pitching 2020 live show:

Embedding code:
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Brella Matchmaking platform:
Download the free Brella app from Google Play or App Store or use Brella through your browser by clicking the link:https://next.brella.io/join/morethanmeetstheice, Join code: morethanmeetstheice

The event consists of a livestream on March 12th at 5 pm (GMT +2), free and open for all matchmaking 24/7, and keynotes on Brella app, as well as a Virtual Press Conference.

Background story:

Social media channels:


Date of publication: 11 Mar 2020

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