Last Friday the finale of the first Startup Week Wageningen took place. For 7 days the 33 participating students and recent graduates had been working on their idea for their own start-ups. During the finale a total of 5 groups presented their plans to the jury. This jury announced ‘Dutch Coral’ as the winner. As a reward the team obtained the possibility to request a micro-loan from StartLife.
The participants first came together at student incubator StartHub Wageningen one week in advance of the finale. During this program of 7 days, the students and recent graduates became acquainted with different business models, they learned how to uncover the needs of their customers in a proper way, and they went to the market in Wageningen to do customer research.
‘Dutch Coral – Coral up your life’
To work with dead coral from Dutch aquaria and to support the coral reefs in Bonaire. That was the goal of Erik. In collaboration with Chantal, Anne-Johan and Chris he further developed this idea into a business plan to sell dead coral remains as house decoration or as ornaments. In addition they created the concept ‘Coral for Coral’: supporting a coral restoring foundation in Bonaire by buying Dutch cultivated Coral.
Kick-off by Ento Pow(d)er
The kick-off of the finale was done by the Ento Pow(d)er team. Tom and Bart, brothers, were drawn to the weekend with the initial idea of doing something with insects. Together with Borja, Thierry and Bjorn they elaborated on their plans and decided to write their business plan about protein shakes, based on proteins from insects for athletes with a lactose intolerance.
After Ento Pow(d)er’s story Patricia tried to convince the jury of her plan: making consumers aware about healthy food by selling burgers and providing workshops. This year her focus will especially lays on beans, the FAO’s annual theme for 2016.
Subsequently Laura presented her business plan on alternACTivities. This recently launched company aims at making consumers more aware about their consumer patterns. The jury was impressed by her enthusiasm and they encouraged Laura to remain focused, in order to make her company more efficient and more profitable.
The finale ended with Circle Smart’s presentation. They presented a plan that should benefit the local circular economy by connecting the waste streams of companies to other people that are looking for residual waste, such as the use of coffee pulp to grow mushrooms.
Jannet de Jong, Incubation Manager StartHub Wageningen: “I am pleasantly surprised about the level and the quality of the propositions. Within one week all participants had visibly learned and developed a great set of skills.”
Hans de Haan, Startup coach and jury member: “The Dutch Coral team has got a lot of passion, they have got access to a very large network of suppliers and they have taken an open perspective regarding possibilities with new techniques such as 3D printing. Dutch Coral was also aware of potential competitors.”
On the photo Erik shows the coral to the jury. Photo by Sven Menschel