SkaBe from Berlin wins the business@school Finals

With their business idea for a bicycle skateboard mount—the fifth prototype of which is fully functional—the SkaBe team from the Luise-Henriette-Gymnasium in Berlin took first place at the business@school German Finals. Coming in second was the DroneProtect team from the Ottobrunn Gymnaisum, and third place went to the ViCaFoods team from the Ohm Gymnasium in Erlangen.

Felicia Rensner (17) had always wanted a way to mount her skateboard on her bicycle. But since there was nothing on the market that fit the bill, the skateboarding enthusiast and four of her fellow students put their heads together to develop a theft-proof solution—along with a corresponding business idea. Felicia and her Berlin team members Maica Ngoc Nhung Ngo (18), Nicole Pawletta (17), Clarissa Schmidt (16), and Nino Zimmerling (16) printed their design on their teacher Dieter Radde's 3D printer. They wanted their plastic skateboard mount to be small, light, low-cost, and yet extremely robust. "Our first prototype broke immediately during the test drive," said team spokesperson Felicia at the start of the team's presentation. In the following weeks,the 3D printer was going non-stop. Five prototypes later, the team achieved success: Their skateboard mount did its job even when the bike went over bumpy cobblestones.

At the same time, the students worked on a marketing concept and business plan. They invested vacation days, holidays, and long nights to make sure the numbers added up. The team's coach, Robert Fritze of BCG Digital Ventures, is proud of the progress they made over the past year: "There was a world of difference between their first presentation and their performance at the Finals," he said, adding, "The team worked hard, with motivation, heart and soul." He agrees with their teacher Dieter Radde: "They truly deserved to win."

Second place goes to the high flyers of DroneProtect

The team from Ottobrunn Gymnasium also made it into the main round with their business idea DroneProtect. "Nine out of ten forest owners have problems with bark beetles," explained team spokesperson Nikolas Rosenberg (17). They are legally required to chop down infested trees. But by the time they discover the tiny pests, many trees are infested, taking an immense economic toll.

Nikolas and his team members Niklas Reinders (17), Mark Trui (17), and Eileen Vu (16) therefore developed a business idea that alerts forest owners to infested trees quickly and cheaply. A drone takes pictures of the treetops, which are then analyzed by specially developed software. DroneProtect sends the information to the customer's mobile phone, enabling quick action to be taken to fell infested trees. On the evening of the Finals, this business idea was rewarded with enthusiastic applause and second place. The judges saw DroneProtect as part of the digitalization wave sweeping agriculture and forestry, a megatrend with which will effectively position it in the market with big data and learning algorithms.

Third place for healthy snacks with superfruits from ViCaFoods

The ViCaFoods teams from the Ohm Gymnasium in Erlangen took third place with their concept to sell healthy snacks with superfruits. Team spokesperson Maximilian Hubmann (17) told how important it is to him and his family to eat healthy foods. But he and his team members don't prefer the typical snack mixes that are heavy on raisins and peanuts. "So we tested various ingredients in the kitchen and then set up a stand in downtown Erlangen," he said. He and his team members Rada Beronova, Paul Hax, and Anna Koch (all 17) were surprised at how passersby reacted. "We got nothing but positive feedback," said Anna enthusiastically. Most of all, their "Crunchy" mix of oatmeal and guarana, proteins, or matcha powder was a hit.

At the German Finals, the four young team members impressed the expert judges with their business idea. The judges were able to taste for themselves how good the team's three snack mixes are. But they also liked their clearly structured business idea. The students earned further points for the Web site, which they programmed themselves.

At the close of the Finals, the participating students, coaches, and teachers celebrated together. It was a great event from beginning to end—everyone involved deserves a big thanks. It's you and your enthusiasm that bring business@school to life!

Further information (in german)