Students create real businesses in entrepreneurship challenge

More than 850 second-year bachelor students worked in small teams to build their own start-up company as part of their curriculum in the BSc Business Administration/Bedrijfskunde at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM). In the annual RSM Entrepreneurship Challenge, which took place in April and May 2020, every team was challenged to come up with an innovative business idea, that after validation could be brought to market. This year’s winning team involves healthy snacks, sustainability aspects and a solid scale-up plan.



In the bachelor course ‘Entrepreneurship’, taught by Dr Laura Rosendahl Huber and Dr René Bakker, students explore their entrepreneurial skills and ambitions. They learn the key elements of entrepreneurship, and why it is indispensable from our economy and society. Part of the course is the RSM Entrepreneurship Challenge, in which students develop a real, innovative business idea in two months.

Five finalists

Each of the 163 teams was guided by tutors and coaches from the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship (ECE). All teams presented their business ideas by recording a video, in line with the covid-19 regulations. Ultimately, five finalists were determined by evaluating the desirability, feasibility, viability, and innovativeness of their business propositions.

The finalists were:

  • Rushing Rabbits, created by Wouter van Wijk, Mark Verhoeven, Matthijs Belder, Tom-Bosse Bout en Marc Visser

Provides healthy meals, snacks and smoothies that can be ordered via an app and can be picked up or delivered in an environmentally conscious way.

  • Fitleeze, created by Sammie Zwaan, Axel Geers, Nina van den Cruijsem, Anna Aapkes en Maurits Krabben

Affordable subscription to work-out equipment that is delivered monthly to make it easy, accessible and effective for people to exercise and stay fit at home.

  • Playbox created by Valérie Dop, Sven Heijne, Sam Snijders en Koen Hoozemans

A toy and game box, which is swapped for another ‘playbox’ every two months. Parents don’t have to go to toy stores, children experience exciting new games regularly, and it supports the circular economy plus responsible delivery by bicycle.

  • Buurtplein, by Emma Berghuis, Florence Barker, Maud van Deuveren, Milou Hajer and Thijs van Zijl

A platform where local entrepreneurs can offer their products and consumers can easily order them – there is personal connection by sharing the stories of these regional products too.

  • Wrabbee, by Jelmer Roelofs, Maud Visser, David Lacruz, Shemara Lindveld and June Van Thillo

Replaces cling film, aluminum foil and plastic disposable bags with a combination of three natural products: beeswax, cotton and coconut oil. The reusable ‘Wrabbee’ is multifunctional and can be used up to a year to keep food fresh longer.

“It was a very close competition, and each of these teams did a tremendous job achieving the objectives set for this course and came up with real marketable business ideas,” says Dr Laura Rosendahl Huber, an assistant professor who teaches in the entrepreneurship course.

A solid business model

The jury was made up of expert judges, who are successful entrepreneurs: Charlotte van Slobbe (De Investeerdersclub), Bernard Groen (Rubarb BV, No-code Heroes), Jasper Groot Koerkamp (V.O. Patents & Trademarks), Michel Willems (H1 Webdevelopment and BimBimBikes.com), and Alex van Kempen (Stapelfinancieringen Rotterdam).

The winner of the jury prize was Rushing Rabbits. The jury noted that the healthy food delivery service has shown the market opportunity and value very well. They were also impressed with the team’s plan to start and test with a pilot, and to scale up further if successful. The franchise business model was well-developed, and the jury also appreciated the environmentally conscious aspect.

Rushing Rabbits was created by entrepreneurial students who say the elective gave them a structured framework to lay a solid foundation for the future of their company. Due to Covid-19, the concept was developed completely digitally; some members of the team have never met in person. They are currently fine-tuning their concept. The five members of the winning team can participate in the Erasmus Startup Programme at the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship.

A sustainable way of operating

There were two awards to be won. In addition to the jury prize, every student enrolled in the course was allowed to participate in the popular vote, which was won by Fitleeze. The team members all received the book The Lean Startup by Eric Ries.

“Our team is very convinced of the need in the market and we have put a lot of time and energy into our business plan. We offer our customers sports equipment that is rented out after use. This new way of sharing is a sustainable way of operating, so we hope to be a force for positive change,” said Axel Geers.

“We learned a lot in RSM’s entrepreneurship course at RSM. Working with the theory of a Lean Startup method means we now have a comprehensive picture of the process prior to starting a company,” said Nina van den Cruijsem, adding that the team encountered many challenges, but the students also noticed that this allowed their company to get more out of itself and continue to grow in a healthy way. “We also discovered as a team that supporting each other and building on each other's personal qualities is very valuable.”

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top-ranked 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. www.rsm.nl

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 mschouten@rsm.nl.

Type
Bachelor / Bedrijfskunde , Companies , Homepage , Newsroom , Strategic management and entrepreneurship , Sustainability , Positive change