Setting up a real online business is a dream for many students Commerce Entrepreneurship & Organisations. This dream comes true during the Digital Student Company project. In the online final on April 22, the top five teams have the honour to pitch their ideas to the jury. Today, the students can show they already are proper entrepreneurs. Which company is most likely to succeed?
Setting up an online business
During the project the students work in teams towards setting up their own online business. They come up with a product or concept, do market research and draw up a business plan. And of course they really get to work: from building a website and purchasing to financial administration and marketing. In short: everything that comes with running a business!
Pitching online for a professional jury
No finals on an external location this year, but everything will be digital. The tension is still there though! The students talk enthusiastically about their companies and sticks their heads together during the challenging questions of the jury members. Jury chairman Sébastien Willems (CEO PressPage): "What will you spend your marketing budget on, besides Instagram?", "How will you distinguish yourself from competitors?" and "What are your goals or targets?"
The top 5
Once all the student teams have pitched their ideas, the jury goes into deliberation. Hold on, here comes the top 5!
- No. 5
Jesper de Wit, Raoul Maes & Sam Vanderzaken from Tio Rotterdam have set up Studentenplanning.nl. With this site they help bachelor and vocational education students with a customized study planning within 24 hours. They even take into account the unique reading speed per student.
- No. 4
The team of Floris-Jan Keus, Kim Nolten, Job The, Sybren Giesbers and Merijn Awater (Tio Utrecht) came up with a concept to reduce waste in restaurants. On the online platform Discount Dinner, restaurants can place their dishes last minute at a discount rate and visitors can buy these directly and reserve a table.
- No. 3
Startboxy is the company of Joost van Lange, Anouk Loenen, Kim Loenen and Damian Matthew of Tio Hengelo. For every room in the house or for special occasions they offer boxes with supplies: from the Kitchen Boxy and the Bathroom Boxy to a special Christmas Boxy. Anouk: "The first Boxy has already been sold! We're going to register with the Chamber of Commerce, so we can buy from wholesalers and grow."
- No. 2
Kim van de Poppe, Eva Komin and Ronin Frantsen (Tio Amsterdam) talk enthusiastically about their website My Tabbo, on which they sell subscriptions for packages with tampons, sanitary towels and panty liners of their own brand. Jury chairman Sébastien Willems: "A good business model, which is scalable in the long term. A very good idea."
- No 1
And the winner is... Simplace! The company owners are students Jesse Simons, Ruben van Dongen, Bas Nell, Noah Wilken and Reinier Dix of Tio Utrecht. Simplace offers a market place with the largest offer for game simulation (such as race, flight and boat simulation). The students have an extensive marketing plan including Google Ads, social media and SEO. With passion they tell about their ideas.
Best online Tio company of the year
Student Jesse Simons (Tio Utrecht) from the winning team tells about the project: “I came up with this idea because I used to want to become a pilot and I was in a flight simulator once. Through market research I found out that there was no overview of the total range of game simulators. Simplace now offers this market place! We are 100% sure to continue with this company so that it can grow and we want to focus more on international markets as well. I already have contacted people in America and Australia.”
Finally, what did Jesse think of the online final? "Well organised! Given the situation, Tio has come up with a great solution to allow this final to continue. This way we were able to present our idea well. I want to thank Tio for giving us this opportunity to start an entire company from scratch! It was a great battle, we learned a lot.”
Entrepreneurs in the making
Jury member Edwin van der Horst, entrepreneur and director of Digital Publication Makers, was impressed by the finalists. "I really saw a number of entrepreneurs today. On many occasions I thought: wow, how nice! Yes, I was really surprised. I've seen some really great things and it was also educational for me. The finals took place online and that worked out fantastic. Such an online final is easy, saves travel time and is cost effective. It was also convenient for myself, as a jury member. It’s a very good solution. Just keep it this way if you ask me!”
Prize money and flowers
The top 3 will receive 500, 250 and 100 euro prize money respectively, which the teams will invest in their company. Because the finals took place online instead of on an external location, the winners will receive their flowers at home!