The 4th-graders have finished their fifth feasibility study, and the last piece has been added to the puzzle. Each feasibility study is a puzzle on its own, which again is just another piece in this semesters puzzle. The business ideas that have been tested throughout this semester are now gathered in an idea pool, from which the students will choose ideas, after forming teams in a few days.
The students have shown a significant improvement in several aspects. First and foremost all the students now deliver high-quality presentations. They have developed skills that enable them to adapt the content to the audience, with listeners ranging from co-students with very different backgrounds to some of the most skilled researchers in the world, at CERN in Geneva.
Second, the NSE students have grown an understanding of what perspectives are central when considering entering a market, ranging from existing solutions, business models, and competitors. Rather than following a given template, which the students did during their first feasibility studies, they now adapt to the respective cases and distribute their resources better.
A final feature that should be mentioned is the students’ outgoingness. To be able to quickly get in touch with the right people and have them answer your questions is demanding. We are lucky that the business hierarchy is a lot less steep than in other countries, but cold-calling is never easy. The pick-up-the-phone frequency has increased significantly over the last months.
As the semester is coming to an end, we zoom out and see things from an even broader perspective. It turns out that the so-called last piece of the puzzle that has been put down is solely part of a fraction of the next puzzle that is to be solved. Exciting things are happening the coming days. Stay tuned.
Copyright, trademark, ownership, trade secret, IP, copyright infringement… So many scary words that I might be better off ignoring, or is it really so? Today we had a session with our house lawyer, Kjersti Staven-Garberg. Kjersti works at Acapo, one of the leading IP consultancy firms in Norway.
During today’s session, the NSE students learned more about how to protect their ideas and the differences between IP and IPR. This is a very interesting field, that many startups have to explore on their own.
Having mentors and lawyers that support us at NSE is really valuable. Not only do they give lectures on certain topics, but are always available to give advice and guidance to the NSE startups.
Being part of the NSE opens a large network and many opportunities. Last week the 4th year students stayed and worked five days at the research facilities CERN, in Geneva, Switzerland. Prior to this week, the students spent the weekend in the alps village Chamonix, in France.
During the week four CERN-based technologies were put through a thorough feasibility study. With more than 2000 man-hours of work, the students dug into complicated technology and researched potential applications within different markets. On Friday four solid presentations were held for the students, NSE staff and researchers at CERN. The CERN staff was immensely impressed by the work that the students had done.
In a months’ time, the student will form teams and choose business ideas. The four CERN ideas might be chosen.
This week, the 4th year students completed their third feasibility study. Last week, 10 external idea owners presented their business ideas to the class. Some of these were selected by the teams, and put under scrutiny through five days of hard work. The students did research on the product, competitors, markets and possible business models, to mention some aspects of their feasibility studies. After gathering tons of information, the students have to process and communicate their findings in a short hand-in. On Friday all the groups presented their findings to the class and a panel of experts.
The feasibility tests include a lot of hard work, but is also a good way to get to know your classmates. In December the students will form teams, which will go on to create start-ups in January. As Paul Graham, co-founder of Y Combinator put it:
You need three things to create a successful startup: to start with good people, to make something customers actually want, and to spend as little money as possible.
We have done it again! Startups from the NTNU School of Entrepreneurship are really good at communicating what they do and the value it brings. This makes them great at getting soft-funding. The last couple of weeks this has paid off for several NSE startups.
We look forward to seeing more from our alumni and co-students’ startups!