They won competition for best sustainability business idea
On 25-27 September, about 260 students participated in Impact Challenge at Jönköping University (JU). The challenge was to develop and present the best business idea in sustainability. The winning team came up with the Algalume concept, which is an air cleaner with microalgae for homes. For that, they were rewarded with a prize check of SEK 15,000.
“We came up with a good idea and are motivated to take it further,” says Maxim Dechange, who was part of the winning team and who is studying the master's programme Strategic Entrepreneurship at Jönköping International Business School (JIBS) at JU.
In Impact Challenge, formerly known as the Sustainability Race, students are faced with a number of sustainability challenges. They choose one of five areas (cars and transport, beef, housing, shopping, and the stock market) for which they would come up with a sustainable business pitch for a jury. Maxim Dechange and his teammates chose the theme of housing and using microalgae as an air purifier to counter the problems of bad air in small homes in urban environments. The air purifier can also be used as a lamp and the residual product from the algae can be used as fertilizer for indoor plants.
"A lot to explore about microalgae"
“There is a lot to explore about microalgae and we thought this was a smart way to use them. The Impact Challenge was a fun competition that provides good experience, and it was recognition for us that the jury in the competition believed in our idea,” says Maxim Dechange, who comes from Germany.
Students from JIBS and the School of Engineering (JTH) participated in the competition. They were divided into 45 teams with participants from both schools. They had access to a coach who helped guide them forward and five teams advanced to the finale where they had to pitch their idea to the jury. Mehtap Arda, who is studying Sustainable Supply Chain Management, was JTH's representative in the winning team.
“We had a good group dynamic, and it was rewarding for me as an engineering student to collaborate with business students from JIBS, who also came from different countries,” says Mehtap Arda, from Turkey/Bulgaria.
"Relistic idea for an existing market"
Leona Achtenhagen, Professor in Business Administration at JIBS, was one of four jury participants. She says the winning team was chosen because they have a realistic idea that could solve a problem for an existing market. It could also be implemented on the market in 2030, which was the time frame the students were given in the competition.
“In addition, it was a well-executed and engaging presentation,” says Leona Achtenhagen.
What she likes about the Impact Challenge is that students take on real challenges and current topics in a creative way. She thinks it is important that students get involved in sustainability issues because it is something that will be present during their lives and careers.
“I also hope that this type of event develops a kind of mindset to actually want to be part of developing sustainable solutions for our planet. It is also a nice networking opportunity for students from different programmes and a way for them to meet and interact with people they don't normally meet,” says Leona Achtenhagen.
Motivation for the winners
"The winning team has cleverly connected their business idea to the carefully thought-out Future Scenarios, showing a deep understanding of our nature. Their solution not only meets a specific customer need but also fits perfectly into the competition's category. It is realistic and can be put into action by 2030, with a strong focus on helping the environment and society. They presented it in a professional and convincing way, leaving everyone eager to learn more. With their vision and commitment to making a real-world impact, they are the well-deserving winners of the 2023 Impact Challenge at Jönköping University."