Western Balkans Business Challenge [ the impressions ]
Surrounded by enthusiasts, disconnected from the real world.
This weekend, Junior Achievement had gathered 60 students form all around Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia to compete on Western Balkans Business Challenge, in Belgrade!
Friday, the first day…
I shall remember this day as the day of incredible motivational speeches held by one of the founders of Infostud company, in Serbia – Stefan Salom, and former student companies’ member – Dejan Markovic.
Huh… “a picture is worth 1000 words” doesn’t seem to work here 😀 Therefore, here go the two deepest quotes that instantly made me be thinking about the way I could incorporate them with my mundane thinking:
If you are afraid, don’t start, if you have already started, be fearless.
What kind of world would we have, if everyone was thinking the way you do?
After these fantastic guys, traditionally, we were exposed to “the team building activities”. Basically, these activities present teamwork-based tasks, which are performed before the main phase of the team work. The goal is to relax, stimulate and make teammates get to know each other better.
The first activity was very interesting and amusing! We were asked the questions, and if our answer is yes, we should stand up.
Our next task was to form a queue. We had to sort ourselves by our name’s initial, without saying a word, in the complete silence. Thus, we had to check each others’ identification cards and find our potential position in the queue. After a brief stir, it showed up that we sorted ourselves very well 😀
And the final activity! “Make a boat using newspaper, colored papers, straws and a sticky tape.”
The actual goal was to make the fastest boat. The trick was that you may not touch the boat during the race, so it had to be constructed very well in order to collect as much blown air as possible. But the teams could also choose to go for beauty, and construct the prettiest one, instead of the fastest one.
And the real thing starts now!
This Business challenge’s task was to think of an innovative product which would “rule the world market by year 2020”, one really broad and free task to think about!
The 15 teams were set, the mentors joined, the brains were launched! 😀
I forgot about chocolate bananas… yeah… never mind 😀
Before I keep on writing… one big salute to my team >> Ana, Sanja and Amar! 😀 And another salute to my roommate Jovan! 😀
Okay, so after a long time of thinking and discussing with our mentor, we got an idea of “solar green houses” whose foil would be able to collect solar energy, store it in the accumulator and make it usable during nights for purposes of lighting and heating plants, which would eliminate the costs, increase the speed of plants’ growth and generally increase the productivity. The whole technology of solar foils would be based on existing solar curtains.
And so we started off, discussing business plan sections such as the marketing, financial problems, start up investment, and so on and so forth.
After the dinner, we had a karaoke party, and the first day reached its end.
Saturday, the second day…
Fresh, motivated and ready for work, I got a special inspiration to sit down and think a little about our finances and marketing, before we get back to the hall and keep working on our business plans.
Some fine ideas came up in my mind, and sincerely, I was stunned by them! I started writing them down, and within 15 minutes, the entire A4 paper was covered by mind maps and hints. With a handful of ideas, I rushed down to the hall with my roommate, and started converting the ideas to the business plan, with my teammates.
Quickly, we finished the business plan, and I felt a huge relief and new power to keep going!
Then, the more creative part had come – the presentation! While I was still under the impression of sudden flow of the ideas about marketing and finances, Ana, Sanja and Amar had totally fascinated me by their explosion of creative ideas they were applying to our presentation! And in no time, we got one really simple, neat and clear presentation!
By the deadline, the business plan, presentation and our speeches were completed and ready to compete!
We have had a time limit, a couple of minutes, to present our idea of company, to the jury and the audience. And the order of presenting was very very funny, the first team to present was my roommate’s team and we were the second!
His team presented very well, and so it was our turn. The problem was… not a single member of my team haven’t ever presented as early as we were supposed to do this time, so the jitters were a little bigger than usually – BUT isn’t this the business CHALLENGE? Yeah, it is! And so this was just another challenge on our way!
The presenting started very well with Amar, then Sanja, and then it was my turn. But, we got one really big problem, the time was running out!! I wasn’t even able to finish my part properly, I had to ultra quicken my part and skip the mic to Ana. Unfortunately, the time was up.
I was disappointed at the moment, I have had a really good feeling about presenting, because we worked so hard on this task, and in the end, Ana hasn’t said a single word from her speech. And just when I thought it’s over, Amar cracked the joke, simulating the phone call and telling: ‘We have just got the phone call from the big agricultural company offering to buy our solar green houses!‘ hahaha, the audience started laughing and so did the jury!
The joke refreshed my energy and so I got the hope back and prepared for the questions of the jury. They fired the questions, and we fired the answers back! My team responded very confidently… so confidently, that I can say that my hope made a comeback to life haha Also, just after the jury had finished the questioning, Ana decided not to leave her part unspoken, and so she interfered with “And just a moment, I will finish my part, because I was disturbed by the time limit… ” hahaha So, in the end, everything finished well as we all have spoken our parts ( within the time-bounds or out of them, it’s simply irrelevant haha ).
During other teams’ presenting, we had a great time, many teams were very amusing, the crowd was laughing, we were laughing, the members of jury were laughing, it was just a great and really relaxed atmosphere! 15 teams had finished presenting, and we were taken to a break – to a cocktail.
And the highlight of this weekend was just a few minutes away – the decision about the winners! The jury made their choice, the winners were selected and … my team won the 2nd place!!
In the end of the day, we had a party to celebrate! We had a great time and it was crazy!
This article looks more like an essay than article, but I will extend it a little bit more. I just want to make a quick review of a couple of small things that made this weekend special!
So the first thing was my great team, Sanja, Ana and Amar! Thank you people for a great time!
Wait, what tree? Well, this tree has hypnotized me from the first lunch in the hotel. I caught myself countless times staring at that tree while eating. And I hope all of you agree with me that this tree deserves its place in this article.
Thank you tree ❤