Tuesday, April 30, 2013

University students are the next entrepreneurs

Every month i hold a pitch session at a different university with university students. Often like in Stellenbosch university my partners are university students with a strong drive toward entrepreneurship. The students organise the events and drive students to come and pitch and they become real partners. The vision with the Stellenbosch model is called Pitchin and the students who are partners and i hope to grow the pitchin events to all university's soon. What i love most about these events is the beer and the popcorn. Honestly, where do you go to pitch a business idea with a beer in your one hand and popcorn in the other. Its honest and its fun and thats what this phase of business should be. In the last pitch session which happened last friday the quality was excellent:
Everyone can pitch in any form they like: The objective for me is that people be brave and pitch. That students encounter a positive environment rather than a critical one. and that students all get some feedback on their business ideas.
These were some of my comments:
1. Bernie
Brand: Wikisun ( exam papers online)
A truly great product and something that could definitely be turned into a business. This will definitely work at schools ( especially maths and science) as well as universities. The most important thing is to prove that there is a difference between those that use the products and those who don't. Together with mentorship this is a great product. It would be worthwhile doing a proper budget for the expansion of the business

2. Tom ( sustainable farming and more!)
Sustainable brothers
In terms of an offering he has so much to offer students. Soil measurement and change, black gold, Putting hands in soil, volunteers. I think that many of the ideas and evolve into something quite special.I also love the concept of planting and harvesting all over stellenbosch for students and connecting this with a Facebook type site where students become involved in the whole business.

3. Vida Ryan
Milk crates at schools
A great recycling idea. This can work with crates as they are and with melting crates and remoulding the plastic into something else. I would love to see this concept taken forward and tested.

4. Anya
Lectures as audio books
It was fantastic that she got up and promoted her idea as an impromptu pitch. I really liked the idea and believe she should be encouraged to make a test pilot of a few lectures and see if anyone would be interested in listening to them or buying them.

5. Derek
Study group ( an online tool that acts as a diary for students to be reminded all the time of events, courses, lectures etc)
Well done to Derek. The fact that the pitched for the second time with an amended idea that has now been tested is brilliant. The next phase of this business is to actually commercialise and please change the brand into something much more catchy.

6. Liz Lowe
JAST
A lovely idea. So simple yet this is what the world is changing towards. A mixture of social media and social change. Brilliant ideas around taking candid pictures picking up litter, trash treasures ( this idea must be tested and i would help with this). I think a simple Facebook page to start and promoting amongst mattes students and surfers. The idea can also be extended to parks, streets etc. The brand also needs to change. 

I beleive that students at university can develop ideas for a very specific market and test them. There is no better model for entrepreneurs to start a new business. Most entrepreneurs struggle to identify their market while students dont need too. They understand what is needed and they build products and services for that market. A perfect match.