The latest Startup Weekend Luxembourg, hosted at Technoport between 24-26 November, reserved a joyful surprise for two groups of the University of Luxembourg students who are passionate about entrepreneurship and delivered an impressive outcome in this competition.
Their projects CheckMath (a math app enabling sustainable learning) and Hire Students (a job placement concept for students in Luxembourg) convinced the jury and were listed 1st and 4th of 12 innovative startup projects. This victory was all the more impressive as the student groups competed with many participants with rich professional experience. Part of their winning formula was attributed to attending the Ideation Camp of the newly created Entrepreneurship Program of the University in October.
“I met new people that were really passionate about their ideas and some of them have since become close friends of mine.”
“Amassing the knowledge needed to make substantial progress with our project in such a short period of time wouldn’t have been possible without the great spirit of our mentors, the caring nature of the organizers and the sportsmanship and energy of our fellow participants,” says Himadri Pathak, who highly appreciated the implementation of the Startup Weekend at Technoport. The Master student in Information and Computer Science had the idea for the award winning CheckMathapp. Thanks to her contagious enthusiasm, she convinced four fellow students to unite their strengths and the group came up with a tool that could revolutionize the life of students struggling with mathematics, aged 12 and above.
For her teammates, this experience was just as rewarding: “Working for CheckMath was an unforgettable experience,” explains developer Mike Pereira Gonçalves, Master student in Computer Science as well. “I met new people that were really passionate about their ideas and some of them have since become close friends of mine.”
The CheckMath team aims to build on their talent and motivation to make life for students easier. Who could be better placed to successfully complete this mission? Joni Beu, the marketer of the team and enrolled in the “Bachelor en Sciences Économiques et de Gestion”, points to this asset “Being students ourselves, we can give our best starting from our own experience to create the perfect math problem solving platform.”
“Build your own dreams, or somebody else will hire you to build theirs.”
Improving student’s lives was also the purpose of the second startup project by students who achieved the 4th position. Hire Students Luxembourg, carried out by Arjana Gjeta and Selvi Pjeshka, also bachelor student in Economics, received an honorable mention. The recruitment platform would allow students in Luxembourg to reconcile the need to gain professional experience in order to be attractive for future employers and the need to earn their living within the legal framework of 10 hours per week.
An early contact with the working world would as well help students getting a clearer vision of what they want to achieve in life. “Build your own dreams, or somebody else will hire you to build theirs,”: Arjana’s motto highlights the importance of pursuing your own goals, wether as entrepreneur, or intrapreneur. That the path to success is paved with lessons to learn reflects in her colleague Selvi’s entrepreneurial motto: “First learn, then remove the ‘l’”.
(Featured Image: Arjana Gjeta, Selvi Pjeshka / Image Credit © Antony Martini)
The success of these young entrepreneurs already attracted the attention of Luxembourgish media. The next issue of the startup magazine Silicon Luxembourg will feature their portraits.
“I had a first glance at the steps one needs to go through when creating a start-up, and some very useful practical skills: how to pitch your idea, how to create a financial plan, how to do networking, how to validate the market.”
The concept of the Startup Weekend, where aspiring entrepreneurs work on business ideas, supported by experienced mentors from the Luxembourgish entrepreneurship ecosystem, was known by the successful students. Most of them had already attended the Ideation Camp, a similar event format by the recently created Entrepreneurship Program of the University, and they partly credited their success to it, like Prasad Rao Bikkineni (student in Computer Science and member of CheckMath): “The organizers and mentors of the Ideation Camp boosted my start up skills I was not even aware of before, thus all credit goes to the UL and my teammates”.
Olga Kozhevnikova (Master student in Mathematics) who attended the Ideation Camp as well, particularly appreciated the comprehensive and inspiring nature of the event: “I had a first glance at the steps one needs to go through when creating a start-up, and some very useful practical skills: how to pitch your idea, how to create a financial plan, how to do networking, how to validate the market. The most beneficial thought for me was that one does not have to be afraid of new ideas, and should share them as much as possible in order to get feedback and to find like-minded people.”