In EBS, every Estonian student takes part in an Entrepreneurship course in which the lecturer is beloved Ülle Pihlak. It’s a place where students can try out founding and running a real company and in the case of having a great idea, team and supportive opportunities, they can fly high with their newly established business.
In this blog we will be closely observing the progress of one team throughout the whole entrepreneurship course, to find out if their idea is going to blast to the sky like a rocket or will it be just another failed attempt to learn from. We can see what these participants will learn during their journey, and where this experience takes our four ambitious students, through whose eyes we are going to experience the whole process.
The names of the students have been changed for the blog.
WHAT WAS DONE IN THE FIRST LECTURES?
The goal of this course is to even up first-year students’ knowledge of entrepreneurship and to create a solid base for learning any following entrepreneurial courses. As a result, the first courses were mostly for introducing the course and Ülle’s inspiring character.
As one could guess, this course is a nice combination of obtaining knowledge and getting loads of action. Even the course’s home assignments, in addition to lectures themselves, are a really good opportunity to individually learn more about entrepreneurship. Every home assignment topic is related to what we learn during lectures and give us a great opportunity to put all that knowledge into practice. Fortunately, Ülle didn’t make that introduction to be too long. Students were able to take action right away, by taking on the first significant home assignment. Our blog’s first hero Markus, who is a very confident and determined young man, hungry for success, will talk more in depth about this homework. The business idea that this blog is focused on, is the one of his proposed ideas.
Markus: “For the home assignment, Ülle asked us to individually come up with business ideas that we would have to pitch in front of the class. We were given a week for this. She suggested paying attention to our everyday life – What pisses us off? What are we lacking of? What problems need better solutions?
The first three days went by without a worry in the world. As if there was no homework at all. On the fourth and fifth day I started asking others to find out what they were doing and what awesome things they had come up with. It seemed like my friends had the same strategy as I did. On the sixth day I was suddenly in a hurry, and because my cramped brain didn’t have any light-bulb moments, I left all of my hopes on the last day. “Timeless student’s methods,” I’d say. Fortunately, I have always wanted to start my own business and thanks to that I had written down all of my most promising ideas at some point in time. There were actually two amazing ideas! Firstly, an app, where people can rent their own parking spots, and secondly, a platform, where people can lend their possessed items. For example an iron or a shovel. As I personally didn’t have a shovel or an iron, but there were a few spare parking spots in our family, I decided to continue with the first idea. In the morning of the presentation day, I was at home in front of the mirror and told myself charismatically: “Let’s do this!” After a short while, I was in room 415, standing in front of our course. I pitched my million-dollar-idea and I was left slightly disappointed, since my course mates had very few questions. I couldn’t understand if my idea was a good one or a bad one.
While listening to others’ ideas, I fell more and more in love with mine. After the pitches, everyone had to choose an idea which they would want to work on and develop together. I peeked into others’ ideas and looked at other opportunities besides mine, but I decided to stay with my baby and wasn’t going to adopt anyone else’s. It seemed like others actually did like my idea as well, since I had seven people coming up and joining with me. Wow, right?”
But why did people choose this idea?
The other three characters of this blog will respond: Loreta, Gustav and Christopher.
Loreta: “There were ideas from all sorts of areas to choose from. The chosen idea seemed to have a large market, because it solves the problems of many people who are lacking required parking spaces. Another thing that intrigued me with this particular idea was its benefit to different parties. Not only a specific firm will profit from it, but it solves many car owners’ parking problems and gives people with spare parking spaces a possibility to earn some extra income. Thanks to this idea the space in the city could be used more wisely.”
Gustav: “Problem, that the idea solved, felt very realistic to me from the beginning. It is something that needs to be solved, because creating new parking spaces is too expensive. I thought that since no one is actually providing this kind of service in Estonia, why not just do it ourselves and keep the cityscape clear of cars. It was enough to win my attention!”
Christopher: “I chose this idea, because I own a few parking spots myself, which stay empty most of the time. I had previously tried to find solutions to this problem and investigated if there is someone who offers a service, where I could rent my parking spaces for a short period of time, but I hadn’t found one yet. I communicated with many acquaintances, who had the same problem, but their only solution was to take a picture of the parking space and put the advert up in the hall of the apartment building. I figured that it’s a real problem and it needs a solution!”
Loreta: “The team’s first joint homework was to compose a client profile, during which we had to profoundly describe the profile of a potential client. During the first assignment, the teamwork was seamless, although coming to an agreement in a team of 7 was quite time consuming, because you had to find the golden mean of everyone’s opinions. This work gave us a good introductory overview of to whom our service is targeted to and what should be our targeted market like.
After that we had to conduct a competitive analysis. During the task we understood that it would be smart to divide different competitors between team members, for the assignment. That way every member could dig really deep into one company and share the information with others, later on. All in all, the competitive analysis was very thorough, which at a later stage could help us turn the competitors’ shortages into our advantages.”
The idea has been chosen. But an idea without realization is like a fish without fins. Whether and how seriously are our heroes going to take this idea up, and what decisions will be made? Stay tuned, since we can see if the idea will swim or sink, already in the next blog post!