BiD Student Challenge 2012

On Thursday 10 February, BiD Network participated in the Student Challenge kick-off event. With 96 Dutch and international students, 26 coaches and in the presence of former Dutch Minister of Development, Jan Pronk the third edition of the Student Challenge started. Master students of different business disciplines studying in The Netherlands were invited to participate. The students gathered in groups of 3 to 5. Each group was matched to a Coach in The Netherlands and to a Business Plan in an emerging market. The Business Plans used for this challenge belong to entrepreneurs from the BiD Network platform. These Business Plans were selected specifically for the event and come from countries like Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, among others. The coaches, which come from companies like Ernst & Young, ABN Amro and ING, are experts in different areas relevant for Starting and Growing a Small or Medium Size Enterprise (SME).

How does it work?

After being matched to an entrepreneur Business Plan and to a Coach, the students will start the process. During the next 8 weeks they will be in contact with the entrepreneurs in the emerging markets and provide advice and suggestions on their business plans. The coaches will, at the same time, provide constant guidance to the students in order to professionalize their work. The students will learn how to analyze and expand business plans as well as how to pitch them to investors. This will have positive impact on the entrepreneurs’ Business Plans, as they will be corrected and improved in the process. On Thursday, 12th of April the Final will take place. The students will present the business plans to a Jury who will preselect 5 finalists groups. The finalists will need to compete against each other in a short pitch before the winner is selected.

The Challenge

As Jan Pronk, mentioned during the kick-off event, the challenge requires cooperation and modesty. "It's their objectives, it is their process, they know better" was the first out of 5 tips Mister Pronk gave to the present students. The speech ended with a motivating tip: "You will be enriched by the cooperation...be as open and transparent as possible...; be sustainable". According to Sara Japenga, Senior Coaching Advisor at BiD Network, it is essential for the students to "get to know the entrepreneur before they start their review" to be practical and avoid jargon. To the coaches, she said: "Keep the team together and focused...share your expertise and network." BiD Network would like to wish the students and coaches a very productive process. The BiD Student Challenge is organized thanks to the support and cooperation of Aureus, Amsterdam Bright City and BiD Network.