An elevator pitch in the car park and a real Dragons' Den. Those were two highlights of the minor in Business Innovation that took place in the autumn of 2020 at HAS University of Applied Sciences in Venlo. Over the course of 10 weeks, 30 students developed a business idea, guided by HAS University of Applied Sciences lecturers and experts from the professional field. Students Eva van Houtum, Wessel Sanders and Youri Timmermans talked to us about their experiences.
Before that, lecturer Esther Vennekens explains exactly what the minor - which ran for the 5th time - entails. “At the beginning of the minor, each student comes up with three ideas they would like to bring to market. They can also make contact with a company to solve a new business-related issue for them. In the following weeks, they continue to explore these ideas and issues. Based on this, the students choose one idea for which they develop a complete business concept according to the Business Model Canvas.”
“There are two main presentation moments," continues Esther. “The first is the elevator pitch. We normally hold this in the Innovatoren tower in Venlo. We literally get into a lift with a student who has the 39 seconds it takes the lift to reach the top floor to pitch their business idea. Due to corona virus rules, this wasn’t possible this time, so we had to think of an alternative. This time we did a car park pitch: each student walked from the car park to Villa Flora, next to the Innovatoren, and pitched their idea to a ‘passer-by'.”
The car park pitch took place at Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo.
“The second presentation moment is our Dragons' Den, held for the first time this year. During this meeting, the students were allowed to present their plans to a panel of 7 entrepreneurs: Corine Fleuren (Fleuren Tree Nursery), Jos Tholen (Agrifirm), Jeroen Rondeel (Blue Engineering), Merijn Luijkx (Rabobank), André Boudewijns (ABC Tractors), Marcel Verdellen (Satori Holland) and Funs Ebus (Ebus Planten). In the space of 10 minutes, they were able to discover the professional field’s reaction to their idea and receive valuable feedback. This was a valuable experience for students and professionals alike and everyone went home full of renewed inspiration.”
A mix of students
About 30 students from various HAS study programmes participated in this edition. There were also 3 students from three other Universities of Applied Sciences: Hanze, Fontys and HZ Universities of Applied Sciences. Students Eva van Houtum (Food Innovation), Wessel Sanders (Food Innovation) and Youri Timmermans (Business Management in Agriculture & Food) were keen to tell you more about why they chose the minor and what their business idea entails.