Deutsche Schule Mailand Wins the International Finals in Milan

Zzzzzz—the judges in Milan groaned audibly when they heard the mosquito buzzing. The advertising video for Zanzito focuses on the bedroom and the annoying mosquitos that rob people of their sleep. A blanket treated with insecticide is meant to permanently solve that problem. The team from Deutsche Schule Mailand was able to convince the panel of judges at BCG's Milan office with the presentation of its anti-mosquito blanket—and won the International Finals.

For Maximilian Casagrande, it is much more than just a business idea. The idea has been driving the 16-year-old student from Milan for years now. He wants to solve the mosquito problem. "When we spend a weekend or our summer vacation at Lake Maggiore, it is unbearable," he says. "I get bitten all the time." So he already began to study mosquitos scientifically as early as 2016. In a project for the youth science competition "Jugend forscht," he tested the effectiveness of various insecticides in collaboration with the University of Milan. Originally, his plan was to develop mosquito-repellent clothing, but at business@school, that turned into a blanket. "It is easier to produce, and there are fewer health concerns because the blanket does not come in contact with the skin, explains Maximilian's teammate Frederick Alworth (16).

Their teacher Silvère Schumann is especially proud of his team because the students worked on Zanzito in their free time. "business@school is offered as a study group at Deutsche Schule Mailand, and we only meet once a week, on Fridays in the seventh lesson," the economics teacher tells us. "So the students have to work very independently and with great commitment if they want to succeed," says Schumann. After the study group lesson, the team often visited its coach, Luca Rancan in BCG's Milan office. Together with many parents, he sat wearing a Zanzito polo shirt as he watched the students he had supported for a year give their presentation.

The judges were also impressed by the business idea—and awarded first place to Frederick Alworth (16), Maximilian Casagrande (16), Guendalina Cornegliano (17), Andrea Cortili (17), Tommaso Longoni (17), Chiara Marchegiani (17), and Leon Steinkeller (17). "You have understood very well how a need can be developed into a product idea—and you have come up with something that differs strongly from previous solutions in the market," they said in the explanation of their judgment. The scalability of the idea also impressed the judges. "You also showed that this product can be turned into an entire product portfolio in the future."

Teams from Starnberg, Vienna, and Zurich 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. For instance, Ilaan Balagangadharan (17), Philip Andersson Bettencourt (16), Mark Gibson (17), Bjorn Hoozemans (17), Daniel Hunt (17), Carl Schoeller (16), and Chad Tobin (16) from Munich International School in Starnberg presented Scrybe, a pencil with a thermoplastic handle that can be formed to custom-fit your hand. "If there are so many different hands, why is there only one kind of pen?" the students wondered. They had brought along a prototype and were able to show the judges how Scrybe provides personal writing comfort. "I have been using the pen for weeks, and it's great," says their teacher Dan Glover, who accompanied the team to Milan. The judges were especially impressed with the competitor analysis and the carefully detailed value chain. They also praised the enthusiastic presentation by the team.

The team from Theresianum Vienna presented Lignum, sustainable dishes made out of recycled wood. "In Austria, many old houses get torn down, and we want to use that wood for our production," explained Antonia Leuhusen. Alexander Fabian (17), Georg Giulini (17), Antonia Leuhusen (17), and Marianne Mloch (17) want the plates they supply to cafés and end consumers with Lignum to be sustainable, regionally sourced, and stylish. They have already identified cooperation partners, and some online shops selling sustainable products are also interested. The students were also able to show the judges a prototype. "You have positioned your product clearly in the market and have also clearly defined the costs," the judges praised the team, which had traveled to Milan with Mag. Andrea Bauer and Prof. Friedrich Tiefenbrunner.

Kantonsschule Enge from Zurich competed with IDON, a sports bra with an integrated pocked for a mobile phone or key. Luba Dahlvik (18), Jessica Farda (20), Lucia Moser (18), Sahar Tahiri (20), and Tiffany Würth (19) had long been annoyed by the fact that there are no fancy bras in larger sizes. "We know what a bra needs," they announced confidently. "And we want to make our customers active, self-confident, and proud with IDON." The also had a strong testimonial from a tennis player, who said that a bra like that could spare her the need for a breast reduction. The judges were impressed by the all-female team, which was accompanied by Nicole Brockhaus-Soldenhoff and Frank Haydon. "When women think about products for women, the results are often amazing," they said in their judgment. The team from Switzerland was also praised for its outstanding market analysis.

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