On a Roll: SIBI Bad Honnef wins the German finals with its business idea "GrasSwipe," sustainable toilet paper made of grass.

David versus Goliath: It takes a great deal of courage to go up against global corporations in a billion-dollar market. Five young founders have shown this courage at business@school. They want to start a green revolution in our bathrooms with sustainable toilet paper made of grass. The students from Städtisches Siebengebirgsgymnasium (SIBI) Bad Honnef were able to convince the panel of judges in Munich with this business idea and went on to win the German finals.

Currently, 600,000 trees are flushed away as toilet paper in Germany every year, explains team spokeswoman Helene Balles. Even the production of recycling paper uses a lot of water, energy, and chemicals. In contrast, toilet paper made of grass has an unbeatable eco-balance, without any use of chemicals. Their business idea doesn't take food away from cows, either, the students explained. Their raw material is grass from agricultural compensation areas, which remains on the fields for so long that it would be far too hard to feed livestock.

After an extensive search, the students found a manufacturer who can produce toilet paper out of grass pellets. He could also produce napkins and paper towels made of grass in the future. At the German business@school finals yesterday evening, the students convinced the panel of judges that its bold business plan was coherent, from the sales strategy to the alternative marketing concept. "This is a huge project you have taken on," the judges found, and named the school team from Bad Honnef the winner of the German finals with "GrasSwipe."

Rebekka Ballering (17), Helene Balles (17), Joana Baumann (17), Julius Langenbach (17), and Tim Stauf (16) were accompanied to the finals by their teacher, Gregor Pallast, and their business coach, Marco Vietinghoff. Next to their victory, they were also able to celebrate 20 years of business@school. Together with many former participants, teachers, coaches, parents, and supporters, the student teams made the anniversary finals a memorable event that provided a look back and a look forward at the same time.

"MeKiDeKi" wins second place for Gymnasium Ottobrunn

A close runner-up to the winning team from North Rhine-Westphalia was the team from Gymnasium Ottobrunn near Munich. Lukas Berger (16), Hannah Hoffmann (16), and Lea Oesemann (16) entered the running for the best student business idea with "MeKiDeKi," an app meant to make life easier for families living apart. The app can save important information, a calendar organizes the weekend schedule and vacations, and the pocket money function shows the children when they will get money from whom. Lea and Hannah are both children of divorce and speak from their own experience: "Nobody wants to have an argument about why their daughter doesn't have her tennis equipment with her again." The judges were especially impressed that the students supported by Ulrike Nesbeda and Monika Schneider had come up with numerous additional functions based on their competitor analysis and had already created a prototype.

Third place for Internatsschule Schloss Hansenberg in Geisenheim

Five students from Internatsschule Schloss Hansenberg in Geisenheim rowed their way to third place with "Calido," a heated grip for oars. As a competitive rower, Antonia Bleser (18) suffered for many years from the fact that training on the water is hardly possible in the winter, because it is hard to control a boat without feeling in your hands, and capsizing in ice-cold water is dangerous. Together with Leonie Brodermann (17), Jan Dachs (16), Julian Danker (16), and Anton Peter (17), the student developed a grip with a heating wire operated by a rechargeable battery. The judges were also impressed by how well the students of teacher Paul A. Rauh knew their product and had assessed the market niche. In addition, the judges praised the detailed planning for collaboration with manufacturers and sales partners.

Prizes and awards

The three winning teams can look forward to great activity prizes: The team from Internatsschule Schloss Hansenberg has been invited by Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Lufthansa Aviation Training GmbH to spend a day getting a look behind the scenes of the airline. The program in Frankfurt also includes a flight in the simulator. The team from Gymnasium Ottobrunn has been invited by ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE to visit a recording of "Die beste Show der Welt" with the moderator duo Joko and Klaas in the Bavaria Film Studios in Munich. And Evonik Industries AG has invited the team from Bad Honnef to attend a home match of the soccer team BVB in Dortmund's Signal Iduna Park, including travel, seat tickets, a tour of the stadium, and a surprise program.

During the ceremony, Dr. Klaus-Günther Strack, Senior Advisor, Voith GmbH & Co. KGaA, was honored for his many years of involvement in business@school. He initiated the cooperation between the three Heidenheim schools and the Voith company and supported and further expanded it for many years with great personal commitment. Dr. Strack was also active in the 2018 German finals as a member of the preliminary panel of judges.