Healthy eating made easy: Munich International School in Starnberg wins digital International Finals with business idea "FeelingFood"

Despite school closures, students from Albania, Germany, Italy, Austria, and Switzerland created impressive business ideas: Due to COVID-19, the International Finals of business@school, the educational initiative of the international consulting firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG), took place online for the very first time. A team of five students from the Munich International School won this year's International Finals with "FeelingFood," a delivery service for meal kits with recipes for special dietary requirements. Two teams from Vienna shared second place.

Milan, June 17, 2020. "When my family and I started eating vegan, we found out how hard it is to shop for simple dishes. That was where this idea began," says Michela Baldini (17). Team spokesperson Sofia Balestrieri (17), Leonie Harting (17), Samuel Stephenson (17), and Alexandra Zehetmeier (17), and Michela developed the delivery service "FeelingFood." Whether vegetarian or vegan, nut-, lactose- or gluten-free: Customers receive recipes for their dietary needs along with the ingredients for them. With their idea, the team hopes to make life with specific eating habits easier. "In the beginning, we had to decide which diets our service should cover. A survey of the target group quickly made that clear," explained team member Alexandra Zehetmeier. "FeelingFood" earned first place for the team from the Munich International School of Starnberg at yesterday's International Finals.

Quick move online

Developing a business idea, including a business plan, is no easy task even in normal times. But all the participants in this year's competition moved quickly to overcome the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic, including school closures: Unable to meet in person to work on their ideas and presentations—whether among themselves or with coaches and teachers—they communicated digitally and found new ways of doing teamwork. "Of course, it's better when you can also meet in person. But thanks to the digital possibilities, we were able to keep working together and also discuss things with our coaches," said team member Samuel Stephenson. As business@school Director Dr. Babette Claas noted, "When schools closed, we did everything we could to supply schools with materials, their own online collaboration platform, and various tools to support the digital realization of business@school. And we encountered huge willingness to make the change: Not only the participating students, but also teachers and coaches insisted on keeping the project going."

Elevator pitches for expert judges

Rather than making in-person presentations, the teams described their business ideas in so-called elevator pitches by video conference, followed by close questioning from the judges, who were impressed by their ideas and well-thought-out business plans. "More than ever, we need young entrepreneurs who develop new things with fresh ideas, courage, and creativity, and show that crises are also catalysts for solutions!" emphasized Béa Beste, CEO and owner der Tollamedia GmbH.

The judges were

  • Dr. Lars Adam, Director of Finance, Administration, and Controlling, Italcementi S.p.A.
  • Béa Beste, CEO and owner, Tollamedia GmbH
  • Dr. Alessandra Catozzella, Head of Health, AXA Italia
  • Dr. Pierluigi Dialuce, Chief of Staff, UBI Banca
  • Dr. Andrea Nogara, Managing Director and Partner, Boston Consulting Group
  • Ingegner Francesca Reich, Chief Executive Officer, Consodata SpA - Gruppo Seat Pagine Gialle

Second place for two teams from Vienna

The decision to give first place to the team from Starnberg was extremely close. Two teams from Vienna shared second place.

  • The team from the Sir Karl Popper school (Wiedner Gymnasium) presented "Hylotion," a hand lotion that both disinfects and moisturizes. The product, created by team spokesperson Elena Landwehr (16), Elisabeth Ulrich (15), Elisabeth Vavra (15), and Alin Zöchling (17), is an alternative to the hand sanitizers currently in wide use.
  • Noah Fida (17), team spokesperson Isabel Kershner (17), Sophie Li (17), and Alexander Unger (17) from the Theresianum school in Vienna presented their idea "Hang Up." A hanger for shoes with an integrated air freshener, it absorbs odors in shoes and is therefore perfectly suited for storing sports shoes.

Over 1,500 students from 90 schools delve into business

Again in 2019/2020, roughly 1,500 students from 90 schools participated in business@school. Digital business models, balance sheets, and sustainable growth strategies—for the last ten months, these were among the topics tackled by participating students age fifteen to eighteen. As the highlight of the project year, they spent the last weeks testing their own entrepreneurial skills by developing business ideas and business plans in teams, with support from over 200 participating teachers and 500 coaches from 20 leading companies and BCG.

A total of six teams with the following ideas took part in the digital International Finals:

  • Istituto Zaccaria, Milan (Italy): GreenFull—an online marketplace for local eco-sustainable products and foods
  • Liceo Farnesina, Rome (Italy): A FIT TO YOU—an app for short-term property rentals with partner services
  • Nehemiah Gateway, Bucimas, Pogradec (Albania): Scout Albania—a travel agency for experiencing Albania’s culture and nature in an environ-mentally friendly way
  • Munich International School, Starnberg (Germany): FeelingFood—a meal kit delivery service for specific dietary choices
  • Theresianum, Vienna (Austria): Hang Up—a shoe hanger with an integrated air freshener
  • Sir Karl Popper Schule (Wiedner Gymnasium), Vienna (Austria): Hylotion—a disinfecting and moisturizing hand lotion