3. Students from the Innovation and Marketing department at Grindsted Gymnasie- and Erhvervsskole have spent the last months on a course that ended with participation in the Company Program competition, which is held by the Foundation for Entrepreneurship.

The students started their course with a visit to Billund Erhverv's entrepreneurial branch GROW Startup in October 2023, where the 8 teams each presented their business ideas to our business developers, who gave them constructive feedback.

Subsequently, Billund Erhverv visited the students in mid-January, where they had made a good start with their products and had the prototypes ready. Teacher Martin Finderup Andersen explains how the process is put together: "The initial rounds in the Company Program are held in January, where the students pitch their business idea to a panel of judges. Here it may be that some of the teams go on to a regional championship. After the regional championship, a Danish championship is held, and then a European championship." says Martin and continues with a smile: "For it not to be a lie, we actually had a team here from the school that won the Danish championship - so the students have something to live up to".

Good with professional sparring

Martin Finderup Andersen would also like to put into words the background for why it is good for the students to participate in the competition: "The good thing about this is that the students are allowed to take responsibility for something they have to develop themselves, and they have to stand to account for it at some point.” He continues: "What can be difficult is that they themselves have to be responsible for all the planning and execution, I of course hold their hand a little to start with, but otherwise they are completely self-driving, and therefore it is really nice that we can come out to, for example, Billund Erhverv for some sparring.”

"What is really important for the students is the certainty that their business ideas are not unrealistic and are worth working on," explains Martin Finderup Andersen and adds: "The good thing about coming out to Billund Erhverv and also facing the judges is, that you never meet anyone with a no-hat on, there is always a positive response - and I think that helps promote the desire to develop something yourself. And then the students get to know that if they ever jump into being entrepreneurs and want to start something themselves, they can always turn to us and get help and sparring, and I think I can do that".

One of the teams that is in full swing with their product when we visit consists of Emma, ​​Maj, Ditte and Johanne, and their business idea is based on their own environment, Emma explains: "I think it's exciting to be involved to develop something that deals with our pains – that is, something that affects one, and that one can then help to do something about it.” Maj adds: "And it will be great for the competition, whether it is actually a really good idea and whether there is potential in it".
Neither Emma, ​​Maj, Ditte nor Johanne had immediately thought that they would have to be entrepreneurs right away, but if their idea is sustainable, that may well change. "If you could then find a business partner, it would do a lot," Ditte explains and concludes: "It would be important that we could find someone with experience that we can lean on - after all, we only go to 3.G, so there there is still much we do not know”.

Teacher Martin Finderup Andersen

From left: Emma, ​​Maj, Ditte and Johanne

4 teams advanced

Before the initial round of the Company Programme, which took place on 25 January, the students pitched their business ideas to the business developers Paul-Erik Hensgen and Lars Gadgaard from Billund Erhverv – they were both pleasantly surprised by the rather high level. "There are some really good ideas among them and the students have also got a handle on their pitch, and have become sharp at both presenting and answering questions - I easily believe that there are some of them who can go on to the regional championship." said Paul-Erik Hensgen after the students had pitched, and he was right - as many as 4 out of the 8 teams went on to the regional championships, which will be held on 14 March in Odense.

If you want to know more about becoming an entrepreneur or how to pitch, you can contact business developer Paul-Erik Hensgen on 9215 0109 and peh@billunderhverv.dk.