Virtual Business Challenge: “To step outside of your comfort zone and experience new things that you would otherwise not have done.”

Last month the Virtual Business Challenge was organized with over 48 New Business Challenge (NBC) alumni joining. Twelve teams worked together in cross-cultural teams to provide a solution for two business cases, all facilitated online. Paul Bruggemans was one of them. Paul is an alumni of the 2019 edition of the NBC, currently studying International Land and Water Management in the Netherlands. He looks back on the Virtual Business Challenge and his victory, as he was part of the winning team! 

I was sad after hearing that the NBC would not happen this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The news of a Virtual NBC (VBC) for all alumni from previous years was even more surprising. My thoughts at first were two-sided: I was eager to be participating again in a program like this, however it was hard to imagine how the program would take form online and over the course of just one day.

As soon as the VBC started I was already in the mood: with the NBC anthem (Get Lucky!) playing and everybody dancing behind their computer screens. It was fun and interesting to work together again with my fellow alumni from the 2019 NBC. I also met other alumni and together we worked on a new and exciting business case.

The day started off with an introduction of the activities of the day, after which I came together with my group in our virtual break-out room. Here we picked up the process of generating ideas that could provide viable options and opportunities for our business case. After this, idea selection and elaboration led us to the operationalization of our idea. In the end I, as the group representative, had to present our solution before all the other participants. This was a very exciting moment for me as this was this first time that I had to present online. At first, it felt quite weird and impersonal but I acclimatized quickly to the situation. After the presentations we got to hear whose idea was selected by all the participants as the best idea. To my surprise, my group won! I was very excited, this meant that the presentation I gave was convincing enough for the other participants to choose our idea. It was definitely a victory for me.

What fascinated me the most about the VBC was that all the groups managed to come up and work out a solid bunch of ideas for the business case in just half a day (whilst working online!). I was amazed by the drive and enthusiasm of my group members and fellow participants. I would therefore recommend the NBC to everyone who is interested in working in an interdisciplinary and intercultural team to tackle problems and provide solutions for entrepreneurs in Ghana.

One important thing that I learned through this program is that it is always a good thing to step outside of your comfort zone and do and experience new things that you would otherwise not have done. Lastly, I would also like to voice my admiration and thanks to the organisation of the VBC for their relentless effort and energy in making the NBC happen again, even when we could not come together in person.

The NBC doesn’t stop after the Virtual Business Challenge! The program will continue after the online day(s) with workshops organised by the New Career Platform. Various workshops around the themes of the job market and entrepreneurship will be organised throughout the rest of the year. Keep an eye on the New Career Platform’s events to stay up to date about the next workshop. Also after 3 months, a coming-back day for the Virtual Business Challenge will be organised to see what the process has been like while working on the solutions.