Bachelor teams tackle entrepreneurship challenge with lean start-up method

Bachelor students from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) built up companies in six weeks, as part of the RSM Entrepreneurship Challenge. The final took place on campus on 30 May 2018. Out of the 132 student teams, a web-based service platform to match hockey referees to games won the challenge, based on their use of the lean start-up method, market investigation, value proposition analysis, and finding a scalable market opportunity. The total of the teams’ profits was donated to charity.

The RSM Entrepreneurship Challenge is part of the second-year BSc Bedrijfskunde (Business Administration) course Entrepreneurship, and challenges students to develop a value proposition and turn their idea into an innovative and profitable company.

Around 132 teams, each consisting of three or four students, were given a €5 seed funding and six weeks to create as much value as possible, using the lean start-up method. The challenge resulted in a large number of creative ideas, and a profit of €19,957.90, which was donated to KiKa Children Cancer-free Foundation.

Collaboration and reflection

Ultimately, the three final teams with the most innovative and profitable companies pitched their ideas in front of the jury, which consisted of Remy Ludo Gieling, editor-in-chief of Sprout; Maurice Peeters, director Young Capital Professionals; Eric Roelofsen, endowed professor at RSM and consultant at PwC; and Virginia Yanquilevich, CEO of Dopper.

“It’s fantastic to see how these students collaborated, reflected on themselves and presented their start-up in front of a full room with such conviction,” said Maurice Peeters. Virginia Yanquilevich agreed: “It’s beautiful to see this, because this is how all ideas come about.”

In six weeks, the teams built up a company following some basic theory learned in the entrepreneurship course, including the lean start-up method, investigating the market, value proposition analysis, feedback reflection, and finding a scalable market opportunity.

Adapting the business approach

The winning team was Students Rutger Heiner, Bastiaan Mensink, Wouter Scholtens and Marc Sonneveldt had created a web-based service platform where people searching for hockey referees and vice versa can find each other. The platform can offer a match between demand and supply immediately, without an agency and with a reasonable compensation.

“Putting everything into practice within six weeks and earning money was the real challenge,” Marc Sonneveldt said. “Only focusing on the initial idea is not the way to do it. For responding in the right way to the market demand or opportunity you need feedback, evaluate the acquired information, and adapt your business approach to be able to take the next step: the lean start-up way.”

Jury member Virginia Yanquilevich said the winning team “showed great perseverance and belief in their idea. We really think that they can grow in the future because of their determination and passion.”

Other finalists

‘BugBites’ consisted of Victor Bloem, Nigel van Selm, Rick de Vries and Max Akerboom. The Bug Bites team presented how it plans to introduce insects to the Dutch diet as meat substitutes in an accessible way for consumers to reduce their personal carbon footprint.

“We tested if the market is ready for the introduction of insect-based food such as cricket-bitterballen [a Dutch snack]. As a second step, we’re developing pasta made of cricket flour to make a positive impact on the environment,” Victor Bloem said, explaining that one portion of pasta contains the same nutritional value as a steak, at a fraction of the emissions.

Team ‘LeatherPack’ consisted of students Nino van den Bosch, Timothy Deschuttere, Kevin Lichtendahl and Robbin Sonneveld. The handcrafted and durable beer bottle carrier is made from leftover leather. “The LeatherPack is the perfect business gift, but it can also serve as a present for every beer lover,” Nino van den Bosch said.

Corporate entrepreneurship

As part of the final day’s programme, one of the jury members was also an inspiring guest speaker sharing a real business case. Virginia Yanquilevich, the CEO of Dopper, discussed social entrepreneurship. And Jan Kees de Jager, who was formerly the Dutch state secretary for finance (2007-2010) and Dutch minister of finance (2010-2012) and now CFO at KPN, spoke about the macro-economic importance of entrepreneurship, corporate entrepreneurship, new business and innovation, and his experience as a student entrepreneur.

Together with the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship, students had examined entrepreneurship from an academic and practical perspective in the Entrepreneurship course. It also touched with other business administration courses, such as Strategic Management and Marketing Management.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top 10 business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers. Study information and activities for future students, executives and alumni are also organised from the RSM office in Chengdu, China.

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Marianne Schouten, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at

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