Exercise has been proven to improve learning outcomes. It is already known that short-term physical activity directly boosts the brain's ability to receive and process information.
The aim of the Finnish Muuvit service is to make physical activity a natural part of the school day and children's daily lives. The service provides teachers with a tool for organising active lessons and encouraging children to exercise. A simple idea lies behind Muuvit: each and every round of daily exercise earns the class points; collecting enough of these earns the class an adventure trip around the world.
"Muuvit began with a physical exercise adventure campaign developed by the Young Finland Association, in which around 200,000 children and young people participated each year in the early 2000s. Five years ago, we realised that there could be international demand for the idea," says Mika Merikanto, Managing Director and a founding member of Muuvit Health & Learning Ltd.
From the basis of the yearly campaign, Merikanto and Villanen went on to develop services specifically aimed at companies and organisations in the health, education and sports sectors. Muuvit Health & Learning Ltd was established in 2011. In addition to Finland, customers in countries such as Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Brazil use the service.
"Operating on the international market has been important to us from the very beginning and we have been able to grow rapidly, particularly in the European area. After a short start-up phase, we are also highly active in Brazil."
R&D supported by Tekes led to rapid growth
Tekes has played an important role, particularly in developing the Muuvit service. In the early stages, running the service was so resource-intensive that – in practice – they could only take on one major project at a time.
"Thanks to the R&D support we received, we now have a platform based on which we can provide our customers with ready-made tools, using fewer resources than before. By selling highly packaged services and charging based on service use, we can also move into new market areas more quickly," says a delighted Merikanto.
In the future, the service will be modified to make it lighter and easier to tailor.
"We have managed to create an international service product, which has so far reached more than 3 million children and young people, on the basis of a small Finnish campaign. However, we must not rest on our laurels – we aim to continuously improve Muuvit and, in the near future, to build services aimed at families as well," summarises Merikanto.
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Author: Kaiku Helsinki