Urban gardening sized for the balcony: German School of Milan wins International Finals with EasyGreen
A team from the German School of Milan convinced the panel of judges at the Theresianum in Vienna with their business idea "EasyGreen," a complete urban gardening service package—winning the International Finals of business@school, the educational initiative of the international consulting firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
Vienna, June 6, 2019. "One day, I was out on our balcony and thought, Gosh, it looks kind of bare out here. A few plants would sure be nice. And there are a lot of balconies in Milan that look like that," says Federico Reiter. Especially in larger cities, gardens are in short supply—but now, urban gardening concepts are becoming popular. "EasyGreen" brings the trend to every balcony: Besides seeds, potting soil, and gardening equipment, buyers get tutorials and instructions over an app. This business idea proved a winner for Federico (16), Rebecca Brambilla (17), Niklas Weinstok (16), Alessandro Legnani (16), Letizia Marocchino (16), Beatrice Romeo (16), and team spokesperson Leonardo Strada (17), all from the German School of Milan, at the business@school International Finals in Vienna yesterday.
"EasyGreen makes the world greener and you happier"—the team is sure of it. One of the features making customers happy is the different seed kit for each season—in spring, for instance, it includes peas, lettuce, spring onions, nasturtiums, bell peppers, and chives. Thanks to the instructions, even plant lovers who lack a green thumb are soon able to harvest their own vegetables and herbs.
High-caliber judges analyze student business ideas
The judges were impressed not only by the presentations, but also by the ideas and well-thought-out business plans. One judge, Nathalie Rau (Vice President Human Resources at Austrian Airlines), explained her commitment to the educational initiative: "I'm involved in this fantastic project because business@school allows participants to experience digitization in various nuanced ways: From prototype production and the use of social media and Internet platforms, to teachers learning about agile work methods, design thinking, and customer journeys and considering digital topics to prepare their students for life after school."
The judges included:
- Alexander Belcredi, Co-Founder & CEO, PhagoMed Biopharma GmbH
- Dipl.-Ing. Nikolaus Csernohorszky, Managing Director, Ing Emmerich Csernohorszky GmbH
- Dipl.-Ing. Stephan Dertnig, Managing Director, FUTURESPACE GmbH
- Dr. Lukas Flener, Partner, Fellner Wratzfeld & Partner Rechtsanwälte GmbH
- Dr. Gregor Gossy, Associate Director, Boston Consulting Group
- Solveig Menard-Galli, Chief Performance Officer, Wienerberger AG
- Thomas Niss, Executive Partner, EB Portfoliomanagement GmbH
- Nathalie Rau, Vice President Human Resources, Austrian Airlines AG
- Artur Schreiber, CEO Austria, Delivery Hero Austria GmbH
Teams from Vienna and Pogradec tie for second place
Besides the winning team from Milan, the other teams in the main round also impressed the judges with their English-language presentations.
- The team from the Döblinger Gymnasium in Vienna presented a test kit for date rape drugs, "SecretSafety." This idea, from Anna Walther (16), Moritz Mitterlehner (16), Sarah Dornhofer (15), and team spokesperson Margaritha Wanker (16), employs a drinking straw as a dropper for testing fluid.
- The team from the Theresianum in Vienna presented "StrapWear," a halter with a bag made of recycled seat belts for people on crutches. With it, Shayan Shams (17), Niko Brodey (17), Paul Brandstetter (16), and team spokesperson Jakob Wolfram (17) hope to simplify the lives of older people, in particular.
- Marina Koti (17), Hemba Hyke (16), Antonio Bozda (17), and spokesperson Llazar Shkurti (17) from the Muharrem Collaku High School in Pogradec, Albania, presented "VisionaryBee": Skin care products with beeswax and honey and no artificial preservatives. The formulas are rooted in an Albanian family tradition.
More than 1,500 students from 90 schools gave business a try
Over the course of the current 2018/19 school year, more than 1,500 students at roughly 90 schools participated in business@school. Digital business models, balance sheets, and sustainable growth strategies—these were the topics on the agenda for the fifteen- to seventeen-year-old students over the past ten months. As the highlight of the project year, they tested their entrepreneurial qualities over the last few weeks by developing their own business ideas and business plans, supported by around 200 teachers and 500 coaches from over 20 partner companies and BCG.
Seven teams from the following schools took part in the International Finals in Vienna:
- Muharrem Çollaku High School, Pogradec: VisionaryBee—skin care products with beeswax and honey and no artificial preservatives
- Döblinger Gymnasium, Vienna: SecretSafety—a test for date rape drugs
- Sir Karl Popper Schule, Vienna: Sklock—theft protection for skis at lodges
- Theresianum, Vienna: StrapWear—a harness made of recycled seat belts, with an attached bag, for people on crutches
- Munich International School, Starnberg: SwingIT—power generated from the conversion of kinetic energy produced by swinging
- German School of Milan: EasyGreen—complete urban gardening service packages, including an app
- Istituto Massimiliano Massimo, Rome: Ecobath Toilettry Kit—ecological and recyclable material for creating toiletry items with a 3D printer