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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Helping art make cents

At Finlandia's business incubator, artists gain business skills and opportunities

In Hancock, Mich., snow is measured in feet and weathering economic woes is an art form. But it’s there that Finlandia University nurtures the health of both local artists and the economy with a bustling student-business partnership.

In a former hospital, the ELCA-related university and its global partners started a business incubator that weaves artists’ creativity and vision with entrepreneurial wisdom and synergy. It’s patterned after Finland’s education system, which sends students into businesses for hands-on experience before graduation. Through a faculty exchange program with the Kuopio Academy of Design in Finland, one Finnish professor became a Finlandia dean and helped design the business incubator.

From product design to interior design for companies and homes, Finlandia students receive a wide range of classroom and practical experience.


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