Genís Esteva: My road to discovery and global enterprise
Participating in the Company Programme and the GEP has been a great experience. Throughout the programme I acquired many new skills, among them I was able to improve my creativity and financial awareness, learn to work together as part of a team, and to take risks.
However, I would like to highlight two special experiences unique to the Global Enterprise Project. First, this programme connected us with students from other countries and diverse cultures, with backgrounds very different from our own. Learning and working with them was very enriching for all of us. Secondly, throughout the academic year we used technology and video conferencing tools to communicate with our team, advisors and teacher. Communicating online helped us understand the value and added possibilities of using technology in our day-to-day business.
I must say that the hardest part of our project was finding the initial idea. Our starting point was that we wanted to solve a social problem that had a global impact. After some intense brainstorming, we made a list of 10 issues and discussed them with our mentor to understand which problem had a greater impact on our society. From these brainstorming sessions emerged SchoolGo, our business and an application which helps organize student transportation to and from school and recreational and sports centres.
Our participation in the International Student Festival in Riga, Latvia this year was one of the most memorable events since our project began. There I met many students from other countries and we were able to make quite a few new contacts. We additionally received some suggestions that have helped us improve our service.
Through the feedback from various customers, we learned to adapt our product to different countries and markets. In a globalized world like this, it is important to get in touch with colleagues and consumers in other countries to redesign the product or service according to the different needs of each location.
When in early July we were informed that we had won the European GEP competition, we couldn’t believe it! It was a very high honour and we knew there were many other great ideas competing in the programme. But we have continued to work hard on our project even during the summer, meeting with programmers to redesign the application, setting aside time explore new funding and acquire new partners.
Throughout this whole year our business mentor, Maite Esteve has helped us a lot. As a business volunteer, she has been guiding us throughout the whole process, giving us invaluable suggestions and advice in developing our idea, improve our project and connecting us with experienced developers. This very week, for example, we’ve had another meeting with her!
Our participation at the JA Alumni Europe’s International Conference was like a dream. I was able to meet students from China and Singapore, for instance, and learn about the JA Europe Alumni network. It has been very rewarding for me to see how 22 to 23-year-old alumni are able to take advantage of these events to discuss their projects make friends, all while learning about start-ups and attending conferences.
We especially enjoyed the lecture given by Niels Hangaard, creator of Heaps, given the great similarity between our projects. We are also developing a social app and dealing with similar situations to those Niels was confronted with when he first began. During the conference we spoke with him personally and he encouraged us to persevere and to overcome the difficulties we are facing now. Thanks to the conference, we have returned home with many new contacts and valuable advice to apply to our project.
We are very excited to make our service a reality. We would ideally like to see our service active in different cities all over the world, improving the quality of life of the people, transport safety and taking care of our planet by reducing pollution levels.
We thank JA Europe for everything we have learned throughout this programme (it’s a lot!) and thank you very much for inviting us to the Alumni Conference: we’ve learned a lot in Copenhagen!
Genís Esteva, a student from Spain, participated in the 2015 GEP and was part of the 2015 European winning team.