Startup 101: Venture Cup Competition


Have you ever thought about starting your own business, but have no idea how and where to start? Have you come up with a fantastic idea, but have no clue what to do next? Or you have no knowledge about business whatsoever, but you wish you know more. Keep calm and read the rest of this article.  

by Gorn Phetchpinkaew

There is a competition called Venture Cup where participants are to submit new ideas along with a business plan. The competition is held by a non-profit organization running in four Scandinavian countries, though each of them run the competition individually. The competition runs from local, regional, and national rounds. This year, the winner of Tromsø local round is a student studying the Business Creation and Entrepreneurship program, Robert Pallin Aaring (27), and we have a chance to share in his inspiring thoughts.

When asked what brought him to the competition, “it was my friend (Paul Terje Nilsson) who made it to national round in the 2014 competition who told me I should give it a shot. And I thought, why not? I have nothing to lose.” The competition is surely a good jump for starting a business. He also added that the idea he has come from one of the classes he is studying this semester, Idea Evaluation and Strategy. In this class, he needed to come up with an idea and, as a freeskier, he asked himself what does he need and what can be improved focusing on skiing experience. Many successful startups make their first step as they are trying to solve the problem occurring around themselves, like Robert do.

To be eligible to apply, applicants need to be students and can present individually or in a group. “It can be any new idea, and it must be saleable so that it can earn you money,” he added. It is important that the idea has a potential on the market, otherwise, the investors would not be interested in funding, but also you would not get any money from the customer’s pocket.

“The work done for the competition,” said Robert, “is to submit a couple of pages explaining how your idea work, market potential analysis, and a business model canvas.” He mentioned that it was not that much he needed to submit for the competition, but what was more important was the time he spent developing his idea. It is significant to do so because the more time you give crafting your idea, the more real it can become and the less risk you will have in the future. After Robert won the local round, he will be meeting with investors which he is to receive guidance and support for his idea, along with financial support.

“It’s not the money I expect from joining Venture Cup,” Robert said modestly, “it’s when people know more and talk about it.” It is what companies have been doing these days: to make their products go viral. Venture Cup is a great spokesperson for a startup since it is a national competition. People start to recognize your idea/product which can increase your rate of success if you really make it to a market launch.

For those who having an idea to work on and want a trigger, Robert recommended, “to apply to the Master program I’m studying now (Business Creation and Entrepreneurship.)” While I was making sure Robert did not get paid from the program to say this, he added, “it’s like a melting pot of ideas. We have a very dynamic class and you get a chance to work with lots of awesome students and lecturers.” He also suggested to definitely participate in Venture Cup as it is a superb way to be in a learning process, to have a deadline for your idea, and to kick-start yourself. If you do not start today, when is it going to be then?