RSM bachelor teams dominate entrepreneurship competition
Three teams of bachelor students from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) have won the final rounds of the RSM minor Entrepreneurship & New Business Venturing competition at the Rotterdam Science Tower in the centre of Rotterdam, home to the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship.
They won places on the ‘Get Started’ programme from the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship (ECE) after a 64-day challenge in which they came up with a business idea and developed a professional business plan. The prize also included tickets to the Netherlands’ Get in the Ring event.
Turning business ideas into reality
A total of 73 bachelor students took RSM's minor Entrepreneurship & New Business Venturing from August to November 2016. In the minor, students experience what it takes to become an entrepreneur by dreaming up their own business idea in a team of students. The competition involved 73 students, divided into 18 teams, from schools including RSM, Erasmus School of Economics, and Delft University of Technology. Some of the students in all three of RSM’s winning teams are international students on study exchanges from universities worldwide.
Get in the Ring
The competition was the final assignment of the bachelor minor, in which each of the 18 teams of student entrepreneurs presented their business ideas. The 18 teams were divided into three groups of six teams. They addressed customer profiles, the value proposition, the revenue model and feasibility. The best two teams from each group pitched their business idea in the finale, which took place in a ‘Get in the Ring’ pitching competition style.
During the first round, all six teams presented their business idea and progress to the other five teams in their group, and two teams were chosen to take their business pitches a stage further. In each round one winner was chosen; after three rounds, there were three winners.
Ultimately, the Snapkey team won against MijnOber, an app that makes easy mobile ordering in the hospitality business possible. The STUART 010 won against the Guide Your Destination team, a platform that connects travellers with local guides. And The Earth Coffee team won against Two Ton Cricket team that developed a 100% natural hot sauce made from crickets.
- Team Snapkey (Alex Jin, Raïs Lall Mohamed, Stefan Peterfi and Olivier Woo) introduced a concept that solves frustrating lockouts by backing up physical keys with a digital 3D-scanned model stored on an encrypted cloud server. If a customer loses the original key, they can use the phone app to request a new key to be cut at one of Snapkey’s local partner suppliers. Snapkey promises express delivery of keys.
“Halfway through the course, we had a viable product; we could successfully create a 3D-model of an existing key, 3D-print this model and create a new metal key,” said Stefan Peterfi. Olivier Woo: “I think we won because we were extremely motivated, our shared variety of skill sets and our will to become part of the next big thing.”
The Snapkey team is still working on making its idea happen. The students are investigating a company that turns plastic waste into filament for 3D printers and speaking with other interested parties, including insurance companies, lock manufacturers, lock resellers, an IT security firm, and a marketing and PR agency.
- Team STUART 010 (Veronica Albio, Beauregard Berton, Demi Verloop and Raphael Schuler) created a website that offers people art created by students for affordable prices, which also creates connections between artists and the wider public through events and social networking. The team approached art students at the art academy Willem de Kooning in Rotterdam.
“We deepened our knowledge of the art market and how to position ourselves in it. Then we learned the core essence of entrepreneurship – taking action, validate with customers and lastly build our value proposition around that feedback,” said STUART 010’s Veronica Albio.
Raphael Schuler: “Our success stems from the ability to listen to professors, artists or potential customers. This allowed us to be creative when processing their input. We still had a clear and appealing vision in mind – making art more accessible but also supporting upcoming artists.”
The students said RSM and the ECE were really helpful when working on the project. “Applying the principle of effectuation encourages an entrepreneur to work with his own means and thus come up with feasible solutions. Also, applying theoretical knowledge from courses focusing on role behaviour and communication in working teams allowed us to work efficiently on our plans and ideas,” said Beauregard Berton.
- Team The Earth Coffee (Josephine Engel, Pedram Rabanne, Stefan Ivanov and Shermaine Yeo) worked on a project that emphasises a shared passion: environmental sustainability. It produces compostable coffee capsules for Nespresso machines, filled with high-quality, fair-trade, organic, and local coffee. “We wanted to create a highly sustainable product that allows our customers to enjoy a great tasting cup of coffee without impacting the environment negatively,” said Pedram Rabanne.
This competition taught us that validation is key. We had many assumptions in the beginning and only a few of them turned out to be true. We did not only learn in which way we should adjust our assumptions but also learned from suggestions participants gave us,” said Stefan Ivanov.
Coming up with the perfect capsule and way of filling it was difficult. The team created more than 50 different samples with different grinds, capsules and coffee. Team The Earth Coffee found a technique to fill the capsules that resulted in good-tasting coffee but is still researching to get a capsule that is even better; regarding both, the taste and the environmental sustainability.
“We used our general understanding of business, ways of working, and the network we have developed during our time at RSM, to win this competition,” said Josephine Engel. “Our idea hit the nerve of a contemporary issue: climate change. It is something many people can relate to and want to do something about, but feel it is too difficult. Apart from the idea itself, we believe that our business concept was very well developed and thus convincing to the judges.
Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s leading research-based 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 carry their innovative mindset into a sustainable future thanks to a first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes. Study information and activities for future students, executives and alumni are also organised from the RSM office in Chengdu, China. www.rsm.nl
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