8th grade pupils presented their ideas in the Shark Tank

​Pupils at the International School of Vantaa got the chance to learn about entrepreneurship and different kinds of business activities through teaching provided by Laurea exchange students. The exchange student project group visited the school to teach the pupils once a week over a five week period. During the course, the upper-school pupils got to hone their business ideas, which were then presented in a ‘Shark Tank’ styled final event.

Serving as judges for the event were Laurea’s Director of External Affairs and Marketing Teemu Ylikoski and Director Kati Komulainen. Prizes were awarded to both the judges’ pick and the participants’ favourite.

The exchange students that organised the event have come to Laurea to study Business Economics using the P2P (Peer-to-Peer) model. The practical study approach has had an impact on them.

- The approach to studies in Laurea is very different to that of my own university in France. There our studies are more technical, with lots of lectures and writing. Here there is much more practical experience involved, and I’ve enjoyed it a lot, says exchange student Margaux.          

New innovations and ethical solutions

The teams’ business ideas ranged from solar-powered mobile cases to auto-attaching wristwatches. In total, there were seven business ideas from seven teams, all of which were composed of pupils from three different grades at the International School of Vantaa. The public vote was won by American Food (AF) – the goal of the business concept was to bring different kinds of well-known American snacks and food products to Finland.

– Snacks brought from America are cheaper and they are popular in Finland. We think the traditional brands would attract Finns as well, explain the concept’s authors Niko, Roni, Alvar and Isa.

The judges’ choice was the SolarCase – a mobile phone case which can be used to charge a phone both with solar power as well as a normal USB connection.

- We came up with the idea at quite an early stage. We had a lot of different ideas, but we decided to focus on the SolarCase. In the end, it took us around three weeks to brainstorm and then develop the idea. We wanted to offer an ethical and compact solution to a topical present-day problem, explain the SolarCase inventors Heidi-Maria, Fiyi, Laura and Zaineb.

Tips for idea development

- If we establish a business, then the first thing that came to mind is that we need an experienced expert to help us. In the Shark tank, we can make an impression on the judges and get good advice from them, said Elias and Jussi, inventors of the J&J magnetic mobile case.

Laurea’s Director of External Affairs and Marketing Teemu Ylikoski was impressed by how inventive and even concretely achievable the upper-school pupils’ business ideas were.

- In my opinion, all the teams that participated in this splendid event are winners. This joint project has certainly provided valuable experience to all those involved, both the organisers and the participants. I have been particularly impressed with how much the participants invested into their ideas. It's great to see, and great to get to talk with these young people who will be shaping the future.

Modified 5/3/2017 4:35 PM