Asian for Beginners: The "Easy Eat" Chopstick Holder

Whether Chinese, Thai, or Japanese, Asian food is generally consumed with chopsticks—much to the chagrin of Europeans, for whom Sushi, rice, and Co. present a real challenge. A team from the Theresian Academy in Vienna developed a chopstick holder—and won the international qualifying round of business@school in Zurich.

The winning team

The name says it all: The chopstick holder "Easy Eat" is intended to help fans of Asian cuisine consume their favorite dishes more easily. The simple stainless steel clip connects the two chopsticks at the upper end, allowing even the unpracticed to use chopsticks easily, without distributing half of their meal across the table. With this idea, Aylin Altan (17), Valerie Kerres (16), Anastasia Lazykina (17), Pavel Liatochinski (16), and Philip Arbeiter (17) of the Theresian Academy in Vienna were able to win over the judges for the international business@school qualifying round in Zurich, in which they competed against seven other teams from Italy, Austria, Switzerland, and Norway. The judges—among them Dr. Berndt Hauptkorn, CEO of BALLY International AG—was particularly impressed with the team's excellent market knowledge: The five students from Vienna conducted several market surveys to fully adapt their product to the needs and wishes of their future customers. After the opportunity to briefly test the prototype the team had brought along, the panel of judges unanimously agreed that "Easy Eat" lived up to its name.

Second place for lower heating costs, less waste, and durable headphones
Another team from the Theresian Academy won second place with a product intended to reduce heating costs by up to 30 percent a year. The "Aerobox," a small metal box, conceals ventilators inside itself. When placed upon a heater, it improves air circulation and distributes heat more quickly through the room, allowing energy to be saved. Sharing second place was a team from the Inter-Community School in Zurich. Its product, "Crush Can" is a special trash can that compresses waste before dropping it into the trash bag. The lower volume allows households to reduce the space required for storage of trash bags as well as their disposal costs. Finally, the "HCP" team from Oslo wants to extend the lifespan of headphones, which are prone to cable breaks when used frequently, significantly impairing the sound quality. The "Headphone Core Protection" system (HCP)—a kind of protective sheath made of nylon—is supposed to prevent this in future.

The jury