Last Tuesday, April 4th, I participated for the first time in an activity by ‘CEU Emprende’: CEU Emprende Valencia Thinking Challenge. This is a project of the university, sponsored by its Vice-Rectorate for Students and University Life, which helps students to contribute with innovative ideas to solve a real problem. We pretended to be entrepreneurs and make a possible startup for an issue that the jury proposed.
Business model canvas (BMC) and Brainstorming
This is a business modelling tool designed by the Swedish Dr Alexander Osterwalder. BMC has become a powerful tool for both new and perennial business startups to form intelligent, specific and successful strategies. It contains nine core groups, which can be referred to as the nine tactics that make up the organisation of a company, including Key Partners, Key Activities, Value Proposal, Relationship with the Client, Channels, Customer Segmentation, Key Resources, Structure of Costs, and Sources of Income. Moreover, in each unit, there will be guidance questions in order to speed up the thinking process.
In spite of the model, I think the power of brainstorming is essential. All members of the management team are contributors to the business. By sketching the models on large sheets, members can discuss with each other, think about the ingredients in the BMC, and give their opinions. This will facilitate the emerging of new ideas.
Problem solved in 1 hour
We were divided into 10 groups of six to eight people, not from the same faculties of course because one of the aims is to meet and work with new schoolmates that may have a totally different way of perceiving a given task. In the V edition of ‘Thinking challenge’, each group had to suggest a solution in order to help international students integrate into their lives in Moncada. Apart from the entrepreneurship tutors, who are from all faculties of the University, we were happy to have two guests from the local company Pisos Moncada. Their roles were inspiring as to create products that could connect both the necessity of the student and at the same time, the local business and university also get the benefits.
To be honest, one hour was not very long, and all teams had worked with enthusiasm and high concentration. Seven out of ten teams chose an application to perform in front of the jury. I think they were impressed with our presentations, which lasted only 2 minutes but compressed every strategy and strength of the proposal.
The winner is…
The third, second and first places were announced shortly after the marking time. The team which combined well the two factors stated above will have the chance to go to Barcelona, to the Universitat Abat Oliba-CEU and compete in a bigger scale startup competition. Group 6 deserved the first prize for the app called SAMI (Student Alfara Moncada Information), which is potentially useful in promoting the area around the school and available for all international students (Erasmus and long-term residents).
I think I have learned many new things after this session. The final purpose was not to win, but to challenge myself in a field that I have never thought of (as I am a student from Health Sciences), working collaboratively with students from Advertising, Journalism, Law and Politics. I encourage you to take part in this kind of activities because you can improve your Spanish and above all, understand that in CEU we are always trying to be creative!