We are three Master´s Degree students from Laurea Tikkurila where we are studying in a program called “Future Studies and Customer Oriented Services”. Last autumn we participated in a course ”Digitaalisen palvelun käyttäjäkeskeinen suunnittelu” and there we started to develop a business idea for a digital application called ”Big Steps for Little People”, and with that idea we won WeLive -designing competition early 2017. After that our teacher encouraged us to apply to Cambridge Venture Camp 2017 with our business idea. Cambridge Venture Camp is an international entrepreneurship boost camp by Laurea Entrepreneurship Society, LaureaES. We sent in our application and received invitation to be interviewed. We heard afterwards that LaureaES had received about 50 ideas/applications and only 8 of them were chosen to participate the camp. Guess what? We were one of them!
So that was a start of an interesting and motivating journey to learn about entrepreneurship and developing our business idea further. First there was a Finnish week at the end of March in Leppävaara campus which included lectures of pitching, team building, MVP (minimum viable product), external funding and finance. Week also included different kind of workshops for example regarding value proposition canvas. We also got to visit Microsoft Flux, where we had our first pitching competition. In our team it was Katri, who lost in lottery. Just kidding, Katri is a great speaker and for that reason she presented our idea.
The highlight of the Cambridge Venture Camp 2017 was the Cambridge week, that was organized during 9.-13.4.2017 in Cambridge. At the same time as we were there, Laurea´s BIB Bootcamp participants were also there. We had partly the same program with them. We stayed at Downing College in Cambridge University. Week included lectures from local professors and Finnish lecturers as well.
During the week we learned about Cambridge ecosystem, market research, marketing and business design, valuation, creating prototypes, funding possibilities for startups, lean business model canvas and also more about pitching skills. We had many workshops and we learned to use different kind of service design tools. During the whole week we developed our business idea further with help of all this. Days were very intensive and required 100 % attention the whole time. This was a great hands on way to learn basics about entrepreneurship and business idea development in a short time. All the lecturers were great and very professional. We also got realistic feedback about our business idea from lecturers and from other participants as well.
Trinity College. Photo: Katri Rantanen.
But it was not just hard work and studying! On Tuesday evening we had a fine dining dinner at Trinity College (picture above) with all the LaureaEs and BIB participants and also some Cambridge professors joined us. Trinity College is a very rich and highly appreciated campus. They have 32 Nobel winners and for example Prince Charles has studied there. Dinner tasted excellent and we had many interesting conversations during the evening with other participants. After dinner we had an after party in Vodka Revolution Bar. On Wednesday we went all together punting on the River Cam (picture below). Luckily it was a great weather and we had some sparkling and strawberries with us. Yam! We also had some free time in the evening to see the beautiful city and do some shopping. It is easy just to walk around in the city because distances are short. We recommend Cambridge to all, it will make you feel very intelligent (or not).
During the whole Cambridge Venture Camp 2017, we had great atmosphere and team spirit. LaureaES did an excellent job organizing everything and making sure that we could focus on the essential – learning and development. Did you know that they do all this on their free time?
In overall this was a once in a lifetime experience. We encourage everyone to apply to next Cambridge Venture Camp with your own business ideas, in case you are interested in entrepreneurship or just learning more. As Isaac Newton, one of Cambridge University´s famous alumni said “What we know is a drop, what we don’t know is an ocean.”
Mervi Kleimola, Katri Rantanen and Niina Rinkinen
#CVC17 #WeLoveBusiness #LaureaES