RSM OneMBA alumna in top 3 at entrepreneurship competition
Cécile Duriez, an alumna from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM), won second place in the Startup Weekend Amsterdam competition in June 2015. Duriez, who participated in RSM’s Global Executive OneMBA Class of 2014, founded Kidwi, an online platform for parents to support each other.
Startup Weekend Amsterdam 2015 was a 54-hour event that brought together designers, developers, entrepreneurs, and experts from different domains. Out of the 44 start-up concepts that were presented the first evening, the audience and organisers selected 13 finalists for the final pitch on Sunday evening, including Cécile Duriez’ idea Kidwi.
Online parenting platform
Duriez says Kidwi.com is the world’s first platform to connect parents with other parents to help each other by exchanging experiences and ideas over a coffee, arranging playdates or taking care of each other’s children through babysitting swaps. As the founder of the platform, which is also very active on Facebook, the RSM OneMBA alumna is on Kidwi’s general management board.
Lean Startup methodology
According to Duriez, the most exciting part of Startup Weekend Amsterdam was to communicate Kidwi’s concept and receive feedback from the audience, her new teammates, potential users of the service in the city, and the jury. “It was almost scary to let go of my original ideas. It could have gone in many directions, because a key point of the Lean Startup methodology we followed is to validate assumptions or pivot as quickly as possible,” said Duriez.
Refining the concept
The RSM OneMBA alumna believes their project stood out because the team knew Kidwi’s audience and managed to reach out quickly to have a validated concept to present to the jury. “We interviewed more than 30 parents in the street before refining the concept and coming up with the map as the centrepiece,” she said, adding that they then posted the refined concept on Facebook on Sunday morning and received hundreds of likes and positive comments on groups for mothers and expats before presenting it to the jury.
Duriez is happy with all the support she received for her concept and feels “very lucky” to have met an incredible team, consisting of Jaron van Golverdinge Schut, freelance java developer; Leona Lee, UX designer; Margaret Huz, co-founder of HealthyDNA; and Mireille Bobbert, co-founder of Whever and an alumna from RSM’s MSc in Business Information Management programme. “The weekend was also an opportunity to get feedback from start-up veteran coaches and mentors, as well as from an experienced jury,” concluded Duriez. “It proved that it’s always worth grabbing opportunities!”
Jury members at Startup Weekend Amsterdam 2015 were Don Ritzen, co-founder and managing director of Rockstart Accelerator; Esther Emmely Gons, founder of Wilgengebroed; Marc Wesselink, selection and alumni partner at Startupbootcamp Smart City & Living; and Joris van Heukelom, founder of MakerLab.
Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding start-ups and launching successful ventures. It is a large community of passionate entrepreneurs with more than 1800 past events in 120 countries worldwide. All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone can pitch their start-up idea and receive feedback from peers. Teams are formed around the top ideas as determined by popular vote, and embark on a three-day frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekend culminates with presentations to local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback. www.startupweekend.org
Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is a top-tier European business school and ranked among the top three for research. 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 carry their innovative mindset into a sustainable future thanks to a first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes. RSM also has offices in the Amsterdam Zuidas business district and in Taipei, Taiwan. www.rsm.nl
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