Cooling injuries the cool way with Gelo-Pack, a sustainable, recyclable, climate neutral cold pack

"A cyclist who's crashed, a hiker with a sprained ankle, and a child with a bump on the head from a shovel at the beach—all of them have one thing in common: Cooling helps!" That's how the team from the Städtische Siebengebirgsgymnasium started their presentation. The solution: Their product Gelo-Pack, with which the students from Bad Honnef won this year's business@school German Finals. Second place went to the team from the Carl-Friedrich-Gauß-Gymnasium in Hockenheim for their business idea "SafeJump." Finally, the team from the Erzbischöfliche Liebfrauenschule in Cologne earned third place with "NearBuy."

"It's important to cool injuries, especially in the first 15 minutes. Until now, disposable cold packs were the only way to do this—producing nearly 100 tons of waste per year!" explained Stella Batzella (17) early in the presentation. There must be a better way, she thought, along with her team members Max Böhnisch (16), team spokesperson Leon Heun (17), and Thomas Spreitz (18). Their idea became Gelo-Pack, which combines effective cooling with a sustainable approach. Gelo-Pack is a recyclable, reusable polyethylene bag filled with an environmentally friendly granulate that cools automatically when you add water—whether from a drinking bottle, a pond or the ocean.

When the contents of the bag are no longer needed, it can be disposed of outdoors—where, as a nice side effect, it acts as a fertilizer for plants. And as the team members pointed out, Gelo-Pack costs less than similar products after only seven uses. The panel of expert judges praised this innovative, sustainable product idea, in addition to the team's presentation and performance. The four students were able to show preliminary orders for 25,000 units and have also already acquired various partners, impressing the judges. "Everything was spot on," they said in their unanimous feedback.

The team from Bad Honnef, accompanied to the Finals by numerous family members and supporters, invested a lot of time in delivering the perfect performance. "The past few weeks, I coached these four in giving presentations. When you compare their first tries with the performance they gave today, you can see they made amazing progress. I'm really proud," said Gregor Pallast, a teacher at the Städtische Siebengebirgsgymnasium. He added that presentation skills are his forte, but that "numbers should be left to someone else." The team was also aided by its coaches, including Balazs Szathmary of Innovation Health Partners GmbH.

"SafeJump" wins second place for team from Carl-Friedrich-Gauß Gymnasium

Close on the heels of the winners from the state of North Rhine-Westfalia, students from the Carl-Friedrich-Gauß Gymnasium in Hockenheim, Baden-Württemberg, took second place. Lea Berger (17), Lara Dörfer (16), Nico Meckler (17), Alessa Romaschow (18), Tim Schütze (16), and team spokesperson Anna-Lena Weich (16) brought "SafeJump" to the competition for the best business idea—a show jump pole with magnetic separation points for more safety in equestrian sports. But the six members of the team aren't stopping there: "After we've done our final exams, we want to launch our product on the market in 2020," said Alessa Romaschow, who does equestrian jumping herself and has already witnessed a number of falls. The judges agreed: The idea is convincing, the team visualized it effectively with a prototype, and it could bring major safety benefits for equestrians—a relief not only to concerned parents.

Third place for Erzbischöfliche Liebfrauenschule in Cologne

A team of four students from the Erzbischöfliche Liebfrauenschule in Cologne took third place with "NearBuy," an online platform for buying products from local retailers. "When you want a certain pair of sneakers, in gray and size 43, for instance, it's easiest to order them over the Internet. But local retailers lose out. And that's exactly what we want to change," said Thomas Eckart (17), Michelle Iser (17), team spokesperson Fabio Jain (17), and Maximilian Salewski (17). With "NearBuy," consumers have the convenience of shopping from home, seeing which stores in their area carry the product they need, and comparing the various offers. The judges applauded this vision, along with the goal of supporting local merchants.

The prizes

For their prizes, the three winning teams can look forward to fun excursions. The team from Hockenheim has been invited by Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Lufthansa Aviation Training GmbH to spend a day getting a look behind the scenes at the airline. Their agenda in Frankfurt also includes a flight in the simulator. Evonik has invited the students from Cologne to a Borussia Dortmund home game, including a tour of the stadium in Signal Iduna Park. Finally, compliments of Ford-Werke GmbH, the team from Bad Honnef will be testing their skills at the Ford test track in Lommel, Belgium.

Social Entrepreneur Prize for .compensate

This year, BCG's Social Entrepreneur Prize went to the team from the Kantonsschule Enge in Zürich. The aim of their service .compensate is to provide convenient carbon compensation for consumers buying online. The team from Zurich, comprised of Tim Aebersold (18), Temirlan Chandybaev (18), team spokesperson Line Cottier (18), Asya Gazimagomaeva (18), Chris Mandiratta (19), and Reto Simonet (18), presented their social entrepreneur idea to the audience at the German Finals in Munich. It allows consumers to neutralize the carbon emissions produced by their online purchases with a single click while at the same time raising their awareness of the environmental impact.

Start-up tips from former participants

The day before the competition, 2018/2019 participants got insights and tips from "old pros" during a start-up talk put on by business@school and JUNIOR Alumni e. V.  b@s alumni Niklas Guggenberger (CEO, styleGREEN), Fabian Höhne (co-founder and CEO, FLYLA), and Julius de Gruyter (co-founder, exclamo), along with JUNIOR alumni Sebastian Scott (co-founder, goodgrade) and Calvin Devereux (founder and CTO, LOEWI), told about their leaps into the start-up scene and the associated challenges while covering topics such as financing, business objectives, and teamwork.