Combining Sustainability with Entrepreneurship: Venture Cup
By: Dermot Hikisch
Six adventurous MSLS students decided to test their business ideas against some of Sweden's best this year. With sustainability on their minds and the allure of prize money up for grabs, the group pooled together to submit a total of 6 business proposals to the national competition known as: Venture Cup.
Venture Cup is an open annual business plan competition held in Sweden that helps students, researchers, and other entrepreneurs take their idea from concept to actual startup.
Through hands-on coaching, events, and workshops, the Venture Cup motivates participants to develop their ideas beyond just simply being ideas. The event provided a unique opportunity for students in this year's class to meet Swedish business professionals from Karlskrona and around southern Sweden.
In particular, students were able to form friendships with several business owners and entrepreneurs currently working in Telenor City, the industrial park on the hill above the BTH campus. Through open and ongoing conversations, many of these local business people were happily surprised to learn about the sustainability knowledge that is present just a few steps down from their office doors.
Anastasia Dewangga, Simon Goldsmith, Dermot Hikisch, Ben Kneppers, Brendan Moore, and Shawn Westcott shared their ideas and know-how to produce 6 interesting business proposals for the competition. These ideas included: a discreet carrying device for storing and reusing plastic bags, a portable white board design, a fashionable bicycle addition to enable transport of friends, and a franchise model of a retail store focused on selling climate friendly products.
In total, 256 proposals were submitted in Sweden. Although the group did not place in the top 10 at the prize ceremony held in mid December, a good time and great learning experience was had by all.
Simon, an MSLSer from the UK, commented "the competition helped me focus my business plan and reinvigorated the development of my invention."
While the competition may be over for this year, the new relationships have continued. MSLS students have returned to visit Telenor city in the past month to speak with local entrepreneurs and help them understand how to incorporate sustainability into their own businesses.
Special thanks to Richard Blume for providing logistical support and capable driving ability to handle the challenges of the Swedish countryside.
This article is included in the Spring 2008 edition of the Trunk & Branches. Download the full newsletter here.