Rucksafe—the secure rucksack

"There were 20,000 thefts in Vienna last year. That's why it's important to protect your property. Our idea is a backpack with the zipper on the inside back, multiply reinforced to stop even sharp objects from getting inside." That's how a team from the Theresianum school presented its business idea Rucksafe—and won this year's business@school International Finals, held in Vienna.

The winning team

The expert judges loved the idea, presented by Emma Heiling (17), Anna Holub (17), Ariane Pirck (17), Julia Sauerzopf (16), and Moritz Winkelbauer (17). The team members, who were supported by their teacher Andrea Bauer, also had answers ready for all of the judges' detailed questions, such as "How do you plan to keep your idea from being copied?", "Why is sustainable production important to you?" and "Why don't you use Kickstarter for financing?"

Second place shared by teams from Italy, Switzerland, and Austria
Another team that made it into the main round of the International Finals was from Istituto Leone XIII (Milan, Italy). Martino Aimar (18), Carlo Carbonchi (17), Andrea Casalegno (17), Laura Di Martino (16), Caroline Ghisolfi (17), Alessandro Rubini (18), and Massimiliano Vescovi (18) call their business idea—an armband that monitors seniors' vital functions—the V-Band. It offers a wide array of functions, such as reminders to take medications and the documentation of vital functions to share with doctors. The team was supported by their teacher Paolo Tenconi and coach Andrea Gennarini.

A second team from the Theresianum school (Vienna, Austria), comprised of Alexander Bosek (17), Vincent Faradji (16), Ferdinand Futter (17), Anton Spallart (17), and Christoph Wieland (17), impressed the judges with their idea Froncho, a disposable, biodegradable rain poncho. Praise for the team: "You did a fine job of elaborating on a good idea, and answered our questions in detail," said judge Nikolaus Csernohorszky, Managing Director of the engineering firm Emmerich Csernohorszky. The team was supported by their teacher Friedrich Tiefenbrunner.

The fourth team in the main round was from the Inter-Community School Zürich (Zumikon, Switzerland). Martin Barragan (15), Harry Dale (16), George Gardner (16), Andy Moradian (15), team spokesperson Leonie Staub (16), and Mathijs Weening (15) successfully presented their business idea Comfia—a hands-free and flexible way to hold mobile phones and tablets. Judge Lukas Flener, a Partner at Fellner Wratzfeld & Partner law office, summarized the opinion of the judges' panel: "Great team performance and a good presentation; the processes for the idea were well thought out. Only the competitive analysis and the marketing concept could be better fleshed out." The team was supported by their teacher J. Bradley and coach Niklas Guske of The Boston Consulting Group.

Besides first and second place in the competition, other awards were also presented:

  • To the Inter-Community School Zürich (Zumikon, Switzerland), for 10 continuous years of participation in business@school.
  • To the Munich International School (Starnberg) for 15 years of participation in business@school (with just a few brief interruptions).

After the International Finals, the students, teachers, coaches, and parents all celebrated together. Another great event—thanks to the hosts and winners at the Theresianum in Vienna!

The participants