On December 5, TalTech School of Business and Governance hosted an event introducing students' business ideas. Since September, the students had worked hard on their business ideas, analyzed them comprehensively and planned their implementation. At the event, 10 ideas were presented in such a way that students from different disciplines were represented.
The business ideas were evaluated by a six-member jury, which included Kevin Murcko, founder of CoinMetro, co-founder of Ignium and the European Crypto Association; Aleksander Gansen, co-founder of WOF Labs; Kristian Sägi, head of the Dynatrace Tallinn laboratory; Reet Kaurit, co-founder and recruiting partner of TalentHub; Ivo Remmelg, founding partner of NestCap and president emeritus of EstBAN; Salman Saeed, entrepreneur and TalTech alumnus.
The jury rated the idea of the joint platform "EngineerX" by engineers Aleksandr Aleksandrov, Nikita Mikhailov and Pavel Rogov as the best.
The second place went to the idea of "Helpdesk" by Ioana Cercel, Kseniia Evdokimova, Anastasiia Ignatovich, Lilly Kusche, Ema Madaraszova and Kirsten Woods, a rewards and online collaboration environment. "Androgen" by Şaban İbrahim GÖKSAL came in third place. It is a dating app that assesses people's compatibility and suggests suitable partners, focusing more on biological and psychological compatibility. The fourth place was awarded to Ann Liisbel Petter, Sandra Lubi, Merely Laast and Fiona Eliis Protas with the idea "Shypel", which offers the company real-time inventory with automated ordering of goods and customer support.
The business idea poster competition was won by Kelli Tülp, Olga Vald, Markus Soodla and Cer-Lyn Luhasaar with the Checkerr idea.
The jury was very positive. According to them, the teams that got on the stage had obviously already gone through the sieve and thought their idea through well. They were also happy to see how enterprising the students are. Such events are very inspiring for those on both sides of the jury table, and many teams had a long discussion even after the event ended.
Interview with the winners - EngineerX
“It was a great experience for us to participate in this competition”
We would like to thank the university for offering us this opportunity. We also would like to thank other teams that were taking part in this competition. There were really nice ideas there.
We would also like to thank the juries who provided us with comments and ideas to improve our idea and transform it into something real, something big. A business that can operate in the future, not only in Estonia but worldwide.
We learnt that there are things that need to be done, to change our idea into a viable business. We need to go through our idea again, add new features, etc. We also gained valuable contacts and connections that can help us.
The original idea was that of Aleksander, who used to be part of the Formula team at Taltech. He got involved in slightly similar initiatives; however, he identified several ways to improve on it.
As we went through our “Basics of Entrepreneurship” course, we were expected to develop a startup idea throughout the course. So, as a team, we decided to take this idea forward. The core idea was developed by Aleksander, and the rest of the team was able to review it, improve it, and add some features and components to it by working hard during the whole course.
We learnt through the entrepreneurship course at Taltech to develop an idea based on the real needs of our community and not just based on our personal interests. We believe this was our main advantage in comparison to other teams who presented during the competition. They might have had cool ideas, copied successful startups, had a better commercial focus, or featured stronger team than us. But our idea was built using what we learnt during the course about recognizing real needs, developing a problem statement, identifying stakeholders, and validating our solution. We also learnt that the most important thing is how to present our idea to catch the attention of the audience. That’s why we focused on developing a rememberable pitch.
In addition, we believe the problem we are solving is a real pressing problem in Estonia right now, as confirmed by one of the juries. There is a high demand for engineers but not enough qualified skilled graduates. Hence, we focused more in our presentation on explaining the solution, how it works and how it helps the different beneficiaries: engineering students, small and medium size engineering companies in Estonia, and universities. Most other teams had their heads in the clouds by showing enthusiastic estimates, investment needs, ambitious timelines and future plans. But we basically followed your advice and what we learnt during the course. We also managed to follow up with the juries after the pitch to clarify a few points which were not clear enough.
The role of entrepreneurship courses at Taltech:
I think the entrepreneurship course gives you an overview on how you need to think first about your idea. Especially for us, as engineers, we think like engineers and not businesspeople. We have a plan and we do it. But if we want to start something, we must think differently.
This course helps to develop creativity thinking, and other needed skills. It is really important to be compulsory for each member of our university. As engineering or technology students, it is important to learn how to build things and work with machines and on computers. But in the future, you can be the owner of a business or taking part in building a startup. You can also lead a team in your company and will need to think like a business leader and consider the managerial and financial aspects of your role, and not just focus on developing a product. Thereby this course gives us a lot of knowledge in this space.
We think this course is an essential first step if you are interested in entrepreneurship and think you have a potential to start a business. It gives an overview of the different elements of entrepreneurship, what you need as a potential entrepreneur, and how to develop an idea through it.