Sustainability and Innovation Drive the Winners of FTxBocconi Challenge 2021THE 2ND EDITION OF THE COMPETITION ORGANIZED BY FINANCIAL TIMES AND BOCCONI SAW 150 STUDENTS AND YOUNG PROFESSIONALS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD CHALLENGE EACH OTHER WITH NEW IDEAS FOR REDESIGNING THE POST COVID WORLD
A more sustainable and customer-friendly business model for an apparel rental company, a project to help spur startups and SMEs in Portugal and a gamification solution to help render domestic water use more sustainable. These are the winning ideas of the FTxBocconi Talent Challenge 2021, organised by Bocconi University and the Financial Times, which saw 150 young talents from all around the world challenge themselves, over eight intense days, in redesigning the post-Covid world of business and society with innovative ideas.
The 150 students and young professionals (selected from 2,000 applications) competed in teams, devising solutions for four challenges in the areas of Policy, Entrepreneurship, Finance and Marketing - with the indication to leverage on human capital, sustainability, diversity and inclusion in designing new strategies and business models. The participants were also involved in a series of masterclasses and talks with professors, guest speakers, FT journalists and Bocconi alumni.
"My team, from four different time zones, brought a unique dynamic and proved that remote working can create great things," explains Jesse Grift, Dutch, investment analyst at Dutch Founders Fund, a member of the Challenge winning team that came up with a more sustainable and customer-oriented business model for Nuuly's click-and-collect apparel rental service. "It was a fantastic experience. I was able to immerse myself in different topics, from sustainable finance to entrepreneurship, and engage with 150 like-minded participants from more than 50 countries."
Apart from the teamwork, the eight days saw Mario Monti, President of Bocconi, open with a speech while three Bocconi alumni, Cristina Scocchia, CEO of KIKO, Elena Lavezzi, Head of Southern Europe at Revolut, and Simona Maellaere, Global Co-Head Alternative Capital at UBS, discussed new leadership. Diego Piacentini, senior advisor at KKR and former Senior Vice President at Amazon, talked about digitalisation, and Davide Serra, CEO of Algebris Investments, about ESG finance. Federico Marchetti, Chairman of YOOX Net-a-Porter, talked with Bocconi Rector Gianmario Verona about how innovation supports sustainability, while Alisee de Tonnac, co-Founder Seedstars and Bocconi alumna, discussed entrepreneurship.
"A great community was formed during the Challenge - it felt so natural to work and discuss with all the participants. I created many lasting connections," says Ioana Gavrilescu, Romanian, MSc in Finance student at Bocconi, from the team that came second with a policy project to boost the growth and development of startups and SMEs in Portugal. "And the masterclasses provided us with so much information and insights into so many critical issues and challenges of today's world."
"It was a unique experience. The challenge was a test of determination, with my team coordinating across six countries and three continents, brainstorming and researching with speed," says Valerie Chua, from Singapore, enrolled at Singapore Management University, of the team that came third with the idea for an app that would use a gamification solution to help millennials track a more sustainable, and cheaper, consumption of water. "And we were also able to hear about innovation, diversity and leadership first-hand from such distinguished speakers."
The members of the finalist teams will now have the opportunity to develop their idea by participating in the 2021 call of Bocconi for Innovation (B4i), the University's accelerator.
by Tomaso Eridani