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Cooling injuries the cool way: Student team from Bad Honnef wins German Finals with a sustainable cold pack

At the German Finals of business@school, the educational initiative of the international management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a team of four students from the Städtische Siebengebirgs-gymnasium in Bad Honnef took first place with their business idea "Gelo-Pack," the first sustainable, reusable and climate-neutral cold pack. It was just last year that another team from the same school won the German Finals. Second place this year went to the team from the Carl-Friedrich-Gauß-Gymnasium in Hockenheim for their business idea "SafeJump." Finally, the team from the Erzbischöflichen Liebfrauenschule in Cologne earned third place with "NearBuy."

Munich, June 24, 2019. A cyclist who's crashed, a hiker with a sprained ankle, and a child with a bump on the head from a shovel at the beach—all of them have one thing in common: They need to cool their injuries! Now they can do so quickly and easily with Gelo-Pack, a recyclable, reusable polyethylene bag filled with an environmentally friendly granulate that cools automatically when you add water—whether from a drinking bottle, a pond or the ocean.

Gelo-Pack inventors Stella (17), Max (16), team spokesperson Leon (17), and Thomas (18) made a big push towards victory in recent weeks: "Our teacher gave us some presentation coaching, which made us a lot more confident," Stella explained. The effort was worthwhile. "I've never cried out of happiness," team spokesperson Leon confided. "But when they said our name just now onstage, I came awfully close."

"The entire package was spot on"

The panel of prominent judges praised the innovative, sustainable product idea of the students from Bad Honnef, in addition to their presentation and performance. Particularly impressive to the judges was that the four team members are already able to boast preliminary sales of 25,000 units and have also acquired various partners. "Everything was spot on," said the judges in their unanimous feedback.

The judges were

  • Dorothea von Boxberg, Chief Commercial Officer, Lufthansa Cargo AG
  • Christian Bruch, Member of the Executive Board, Linde AG
  • Andreas Dinger, Senior Partner and Managing Director, Boston Consulting Group
  • Sabine Eckhardt, Advisor and Former Board Member of ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE
  • Corinna Schittenhelm, Chief Human Resources Officer and Labor Relations Director, Schaeffler AG
  • Jens Uhlendorf, Partner, Hogan Lovells International LLP
  • Ute Wolf, Chief Financial Officer, Evonik Industries AG

"SafeJump" wins second place for team from Carl-Friedrich-Gauß Gymnasium

Close on the heels of the winners from the state of North Rhine-Westfalia, students from the Carl-Friedrich-Gauß Gymnasium in Hockenheim, Baden-Württemberg, took second place. Lea (17), Lara (16), Nico (17), Alessa (18), Tim (16), and team spokesperson Anna-Lena (16) brought "SafeJump" to the competition for the best business idea—a show jump pole with magnetic separation points for more safety in equestrian sports.  But the six members of the team aren't stopping there: "After we've done our final exams, we want to launch our product on the market in 2020," said Alessa, who does equestrian jumping herself and has already witnessed a number of falls. The judges agreed: The idea is convincing, the team visualized it effectively with a prototype, and it could bring major safety benefits for equestrians—a relief not only to concerned parents.

Third place goes to Erzbischöfliche Liebfrauenschule in Cologne

A team of four students from the Erzbischöfliche Liebfrauenschule in Cologne took third place with "NearBuy," an online platform for buying products from local retailers. "When you want a certain pair of sneakers, in gray and size 43, for instance, it's easiest to order them over the Internet. But local retailers lose out. And that's exactly what we want to change," said Thomas (17), Michelle (17), team spokesperson Fabio (17), and Maximilian (17). With "NearBuy," consumers have the convenience of shopping from home, seeing which stores in their area carry the product they need, and comparing the various offers. The judges applauded this vision, along with the goal of supporting local merchants.


For their prizes, the three winning teams can look forward to great excursions. The team from Hockenheim has been invited by Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Lufthansa Aviation Training GmbH to spend a day getting a look behind the scenes at the airline. Their agenda in Frankfurt also includes a flight in the simulator. Evonik has invited the students from Cologne to a Borussia Dortmund home game, including a tour of the stadium in Signal Iduna Park. Finally, compliments of Ford-Werke GmbH, the team from Bad Honnef will be testing their skills at the Ford test track in Lommel, Belgium.

Over 1,500 students from 90 schools delve into business

Again in 2018/2019, roughly 1,500 students from 90 schools participated in business@school. Digital business models, balance sheets, and sustainable growth strategies—for the last ten months, these were among the topics tackled by participating students age fifteen to eighteen. As the highlight of the project year, they spent the last weeks testing their own entrepreneurial skills by developing business ideas and business plans in teams, with support from over 200 participating teachers and 500 coaches from 20 leading companies and BCG.

A total of nine teams took part in the German Finals in Munich.

  • Canisius-Kolleg, Berlin with KomPot—a biodegradable flowerpot
  • Carl-Friedrich-Gauß Gymnasium, Hockenheim with SafeJump—a show jump pole with magnetic separation points for more safety in equestrian sports
  • Erzbischöfliches Irmgardis Gymnasium, Cologne with Drop Control—test strips for date rape drugs
  • Erzbischöfliche Liebfrauenschule, Cologne with NearBuy—an online platform that aids consumers in buying from local retailers
  • Graf-Stauffenberg Gymnasium, Flörsheim am Main with TableTube—a holder for the easy collection of ping-pong balls without bending over 
  • Helene-Lange-Gymnasium/Gymnasium Kaiser-Friedrich-Ufer, Ham-burg with vecharge—an energy bar containing the nutrients vegans need
  • Lise-Meitner-Gymnasium, Unterhaching with Avalanche Assistant—an app that provides avalanche warnings
  • Ohm-Gymnasium, Erlangen with AwakeU—an alarm for your pillow with heat sensors
  • Städtisches Siebengebirgsgymnasium, Bad Honnef with Gelo-Pack—a sustainable cold pack

Social Entrepreneur Prize for ".compensate"

This year, BCG's Social Entrepreneur Prize went to the team from the Kantons-schule Enge in Zürich. The aim of their service .compensate is to provide convenient carbon compensation for consumers buying online. The team from Zurich, comprised of Tim (18), Temirlan (18), team spokesperson Line (18), Asya (18), Chris (19), and Reto (18), presented their social entrepreneur idea to the audience at the German Finals in Munich. It allows consumers to neutralize the carbon emissions produced by their online purchases with a single click while at the same time raising their awareness of the environmental impact.

Start-up tips from former participants

The day before the competition, 2018/2019 participants got insights and tips from "old pros" during a start-up talk put on by business@school and JUNIOR Alumni e. V.  b@s alumni Niklas Guggenberger (CEO, styleGREEN), Fabian Höhne (co-founder and CEO, FLYLA), and Julius de Gruyter (co-founder, exclamo), along with JUNIOR alumni Sebastian Scott (co-founder, goodgrade) and Calvin Devereux (founder and CTO, LOEWI), told about their leaps into the start-up scene and the associated challenges while covering topics such as financing, business objectives, and teamwork.