Still a bit sleepy but excited about the day ahead, the first university affiliates arrived at Toni Areal in Zurich on Saturday morning at 8.30am, ready to explore their startup ideas. An intensive all-day program with many challenges and exciting tasks lay ahead.
After a brief welcome address by Jacques Hefti and Matthias Hölling, the Co-Directors of STARTUP CAMPUS, the group took part in an ‘elevator pitch’ competition, in which participants took turns to present about 40 startup ideas. The Business Concept course funded by the Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI) focuses on innovative, scalable, and technology-based startup ideas.
The aim of this first task was to pitch their ideas to the other participants as well as to the coaches and get as many votes from them as possible. Teams form around the five to eight best ideas of each cohort. In the weeks following the Business Concept course, these teams will further develop the idea, work on key aspects, and design a scalable business. Finally, in the final course week, (i.e., after about 12 weeks), these startup ideas will be presented to potential investors. For some participants, this final pitch could be the ticket to their own startup. This is why the Business Concept course focuses on developing participants’ pitching skills.
In the afternoon, the newly formed teams faced their first team assignment: the ‘Marshmallow Challenge’, a fun opportunity for participants to prove their ability to work in teams and get a sense of their fellow team members, at the same time preparing them for the afternoon ahead. Agreements within the teams, such as a team contract, are an important prerequisite for smooth collaboration within the teams and have a great impact on the quality of the final idea. At the end of the course, it will be revealed which team manages to sell their idea effectively and convincingly.
As the name suggests, Boot Camp is an intense part of the course, which the participants can all confirm. After a productive day, participants and coaches met at a reception and an evening of karaoke at Chez Toni. People’s initial reluctance to take a turn at karaoke disappeared quickly as one song followed the next until well into the night.
For more impressions from Boot Camp, visit Flickr. Have fun watching!