CEU iLab Bootcamp July 2019

“I am definitely a businesswoman after this course.”

Bahar Ramazanova (Azerbaijan) 

Written by: 
Chigozie Nelson, CEU student at Economic Policy in Global Markets MA

A Recap of the First iLab Bootcamp

After sessions of brainstorming for the perfect idea, calculating financials, learning how to do effective marketing, and doing rigorous research, the CEU InnovationsLab first official bootcamp has come to an end, leaving the participants inspired and the organizers proud. The success of the bootcamp is shown in the satisfaction of the members who travelled to Budapest from across the globe. As they return to their various stations, the participants are optimistic about the knowledge which they have acquired and are ready to delve into the world of entrepreneurship to practice what they have learned. 

The sessions were interactive, comprehensive and intense. With speed-mentoring sessions, and interactive sessions with the iLab startups, the participants had the complete CEU experience packed in a 10-day package. The 24 participants who were split into five teams worked on their teams’ project idea for the two weeks. The ideas which the teams came up with covered industries such as education, law, human resources, social responsibility and mixology. They prepared business plans, business model canvas, financial plans, and rounded up with their team presentations.  

The bootcamp came to an end on Friday, July 12, with an investor pitch made by the teams in front of the jury. The team presentations were comprehensive and complete with financial projections and marketing strategies. After the presentations, members of the jury, and the participants, voted for the idea which they were most likely to invest in. The Booze team received the highest number of votes.

Rich content from CEU Faculty Members

The content of the lectures was tailor-made for a mini MBA program, prepared to be useful to everyone regardless of their previous background. They were centered around formulating a business idea and business plan, the entrepreneurial cycle, handling financials, branding and marketing. 

A faculty member of the iLab, professor Gyorgy Borgel, taught the participants about generating business ideas and the criteria for selecting the best one. A good business idea should both meet the customers’ need and generate revenue for the founder. With this knowledge, the teams had the task to discuss business concepts and select the idea which they thought was best, using predetermined selection criteria.  

Professor Gabor Baranyai, a faculty member CEU’s business incubator, taught about the stages of the entrepreneurial cycle from the inception of the idea to the exit of the firm from the market. He also gave insights on how to write a successful business plan and how to come up with the value proposition of a business. Professor Gabor gave insight into the financing options available to startups and how to approach investors. With this new knowledge, the teams had to identify and state the value which their ideas would provide to their potential customers. 

Professor Eva Halasz, iLab faculty member and marketing specialist, taught the participants all they needed to know about successful branding and marketing decisions for their startups. She enlightened them about the “six rules of great startups”, and how to build a brand while putting the customer at the centre of their activities. Professor Eva touched on the importance of knowing who the customers are. According to her, it is helpful for startups to visualize a persona, and then plan their products and marketing strategies, in an effective way to attract and retain the target customers. She also gave insight into what kind of social media content to produce, and the type of media a startup should use. 

iLab Faculty member, Professor Joy Chan, brought financial mathematics to the classroom as she taught the basics of finance and accounting. Professor Joy introduced the three essential financial statements; income statement, cash flow statement and the balance sheet. She gave a detailed analysis of the components of each financial statement, using an existing company as a case study. To practice, the teams had the task of preparing financial projections for their project ideas, to see what it promises in terms of profitability. The sessions with Joy Chan were comprehensive. Those participants who were not familiar with the financials of a firm now have a better understanding of the components of a firm’s financial statements.

Meeting with Co-founders of iLab Teams

The participants had several opportunities to meet the entrepreneurs at the CEU InnovationsLab.  Representatives from the iLab startup teams talked about their business models and how they built their teams. Jelena Länger, the co-founder of the Longevity Project, gave a brief lecture about the process of generating the business idea and how she formed her startup team. She emphasised the need to have a group of people with complementary knowledge and skills which are useful in driving the business. Jelena explained the Longevity Project’s value proposition, stressing that the value provided by a startup should be relevant to customers so that they are willing to pay for it. Apart from its relevance, the value which a firm offers should also be “…defendable and long-term.”  

Michael Bist, the founder of The Tailor Network, as well as co-founders of the Supp.li and Salarify startups, were also present to shed light on the details of their business models and marketing strategies. 

The cocktail-style networking session at the Kharviv rooftop terrace on Wednesday, July 3, gave the participants room to meet and interact with co-founders of the iLab teams. Some CEU InnovationsLab startup teams who were not available to talk about their businesses during the sessions were also present at this event. 

Overall, the two weeks were filled with energy and excitement as the participants explored different ways to run their new startups in hopes of breaking into the international market in the EU and beyond! Stay turned for our next piece that highlights the teams that participated!