48 hours. Nine teams. One company. Last week the Sustainability Challenge 2021 took place and was summed up in a live stream, hosted by StartUP Jönköping, where six pitches were shown followed by the announcement of the winners. The winning team consisting of Max Stark, Sonsoles Pico Gil, Marcel Lindner, and Somayya Afentaous, performed a broad pitch to loop-it that covered everything from looking at the user perspective to see how to engage more users, to looking into the system itself, and a different approach on partnerships.
Both Anna Conrad, the Event Strategist of StartUP Jönköping, and Raja Schäfer from SSA agree that the event went even better than expected. Anna didn’t really know what to expect beforehand, it may be an event the students participate in their free time, but she was very impressed with what the students came up with in just 48 hours; creating aesthetically appealing videos with great content, presenting feasible ideas, and getting out in the world to speak with potential partners. Raja was also impressed by the quality of the videos and the time put into them, but also how much different teams invested in their research and their creativity. She enjoyed the various videos with different approaches and opinions on what sustainability and innovativeness are.
“They did so much for this whole event, so I was so proud of the students to be honest”, says Anna.
In the process of deciding on the winners, Anna had provided all jury members with a grading sheet which had some criteria that had to be fulfilled to win the prize. The grading sheet related to the NABC model which is quite popular when it comes to entrepreneurship involving the requirement for the solution to cover the need, have a feasible approach, and show some outstanding benefits. They also included the sustainability criteria to make sure the participants also aimed with the solution to fulfill the sustainable development goals and considered the triple bottom line. For this event the sustainability aspect was weighted more than the entrepreneurial criteria. All jury members watched the nine pitches and filled in the document, then Anna summed it up and selected the top six pitches to be shown during the live event.
“A few hours before the live event the jury members got noticed with which pitch, they would provide feedback during the live stream”, says Anna.
Learning is a part of life, which also includes this event. Raja realized she really enjoyed watching and, to a little extent, analyzing all the videos, which she would like to do more of to ensure that her impression of the video would not change her opinion on the idea conveyed in the video. During the preparations of the event she, personally, realized the importance of communication even more. Raja hopes to take part in a similar event in the future and would like to be more involved with the sponsor and partner finding process.
For Anna, the Sustainability Challenge was the first event she was organizing and describes how she couldn’t have done it without the great teamwork. She really felt that she could rely on her team and how everyone was helping her out, which made her not feel afraid or anxious during the process. Her lesson learned from the event is that students from all different faculties can come up with creative, feasible and sustainable solutions no matter their experiences, but also the power of working in a great team.
“We just have to team up with somebody else who shares the same mindset, the same vision and then we all can do amazing things together. And I think that’s the great lesson learned, like really you should trust in ourselves because together we can do so many great things”, concludes Anna.