From biking and timber transportation, all the way to 3D printing, there’s no industry that would not benefit from a touch of innovation. On 30 January, CAST Award 2013 set out to encourage the motor of innovation to keep pumping by recognising Tyrolean students and graduates with unique business ideas. 118 participants submitted over 58 business concepts, the best ten of which had a chance to present their plan, receive feedback and win cash prizes. To find out more, inventures.eu caught up with the winners of places one, two and three.
With an original idea and a dose of conviction, Benedict Schuhwerk took home first place and a prize of 3000 euros. Together with his father, he developed an accessory for bikes that enables cyclists to engage into a more rounded step, which in turn gives the bike unparalleled traction. For him, the CAST Award was meaningful particularly because he worked on the project during his entire studies. “The feedback I got is very helpful,” Schuhwerk told inventures.eu. “[Also], the contact opportunities to people in this business mean a lot to me.” The next steps for this project are branding and additional testing with professional bikers.
“I think winning an award is a recognition for a job well done and this reinforces the willingness to reach for more,” said Stefan Leitner, who secured second place and 1500 euros. For him, the competition was also a family affair. Together with his father, Stefan developed a fully automated and compact cable-tensioning device for use in the field of timber transportation. Compared to solutions currently in use, this technical innovation reduces workload and substantially increases work safety.
Leitner’s goal moving forward is to continue his education. He has already graduated Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics at the Innsbruck Management Center and is currently pursuing further studies in the US.
Thomas Senfter, whose idea had already brought home a couple of prizes, was awarded third place in the CAST Award 2013 and 800 euros. The core of his business idea, a fine-dust metering device, enables the exploration of gas particles with great precision.
“Before my preparations for this competition, I mostly talked to technical experts about product-specific and technical details, but did not make a business plan based on the product,” Senfter told inventures.eu. “My first contact with CAST, talking about my innovative fine-dust metering device was approximately one year ago. Since then, I have had the opportunity to take part in consulting meetings, especially on property law,” he said. This support has been particularly welcome, as the young inventor is looking to gain patent protection for his idea. With a newly developed business acumen, Senfter said that “as soon as the patent is granted, the next step is to find a partner to make the product ready for mass production.”
The fourth and fifth places went to two innovative online platforms, which received 500 euros each. sitelogg, an online-based construction management programme, built by computer science students David Abfalterer and Martin Fischer was awarded fourth place, while Ceffer, a portal for individualised 3D printing solutions, designed by Martina Bauer, ranked fifth.
At the end of the day, participating in the CAST Award 2013 seemed to have been a growing experience for all participants involved. To build on your ideas even further, make sure to mark your calendars starting 27 March and attend the we14 – workshops for entrepreneurs. The organisers promise hands-on business plan tips, marketing strategy advice and lots of networking.
in partnership with CAST Tyrol