Team 'Recyclables' Named Wittenborg's Best Sustainable Business Idea

Team 'Recyclables' Named Wittenborg's Best Sustainable Business Idea

'Recyclables' Team Wins Top Spot

The winning teams of Wittenborg's Sustainable Business Idea Undergraduate Project Week Competition were announced after a tough decision by a 3-member jury. The 'Recyclables' team claimed the top spot while the 'Toy Box' team won second place.

The competition was organised in conjunction with Wittenborg's 'Real Life' Project Week module for Phase 1 and Phase 2 bachelor's students in Block 2 of the 2020-2021 academic year. For the group assignment, students had to come up with innovative business ideas that focused on home-based recycling, or industry-based initiatives. (View the article here). Besides writing a business plan, students had to think of feasible ways of how to finance their business and also record an elevator pitch to present their proposals. Team Recyclables was made up of Thy Bao Tram Nguyen, Mabelle Olympia Jerger, Abdulmohsen Saleh and John Shibu Thomas. Their main idea centred around  making mattresses from recycled plastics and grocery bags and distributing them to the homeless community. They proposed that funding will come mainly from donations or contributions from sustainably-driven individuals and philanthropists. The second winning team, 'Toy Box', proposed the idea of collecting and recycling old toys via a subscription-based system. Each recycled toy will be valued, and subscribed members can exchange toys of similar values. This, according to the team's elevator pitch, would reduce the number of discarded toys and instead, provide the option of sharing used toys with other users. The 'Toy Box' team was made up of Chiemeka Raynor, Mohammed Abubaker, Seyedeh Artadokht and Thi Pham.

Team 'Recyclables' Named Wittenborg's Best Sustainable Business Idea

Tough Decision

The 3-member jury was made up of Wittenborg's President, Peter Birdsall, CEO Maggie Feng and Benno Oderkerk, founder and former CEO of Avantes B.V., a world leader in the field of spectroscopy. Oderkerk, who just turned over the CEO-ship to his successor in September, commented that he is very glad to be part of the jury in this interesting project. He found all the submitted projects interesting and is very glad that the youngsters are brought into this 'business' of sustainable economies.

Among the business ideas proposed by students were recycling construction materials and food waste, and promoting green moss in gardens and public areas to clean the air. However, according to Oderkerk, the winning team caught the jury's attention because it not only incorporates the idea of recycling but also included the notion of community service, that is donations and taking care of the homeless people.

President Impressed with the Quality of Business Proposals

Birdsall commented that he is impressed with the quality of innovative business ideas proposed by the bachelor's students and encouraged them to find a more focused perspective of their innovative ideas. He added that, as a nation, the Netherlands has always struggled with recycling. He emphasised that recycling should be done locally instead of sending out waste to other developing countries, an option which is not sustainable. Feng also remarked that coming up with ideas is easy, but turning them into business opportunities is challenging and needs careful thought and planning. The winning team won a boat trip for a plastic-catching event on the Amsterdam canals. Wittenborg congratulates the two winning teams.

Team 'Recyclables' Named Wittenborg's Best Sustainable Business Idea

Next Project Week - Campus 2030

In line with its mission, Wittenborg will continue with the theme of sustainability in its next bachelor's project week, which will be held in the week before the Christmas break. Block 3 project week will look at the concept of visioning a Wittenborg Campus in 2030, in line with the United Nation's 17 sustainable development goals. The project will, in Apeldoorn, also be linked to Apeldoorn's '2040' plan.

WUP 8/12/2020
by Hanna Abdelwahab and Emmah Muchoki
©Wittenborg University Press