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Doubly sustainable: Student team from Vienna wins Finals with best international business idea

A team of four students from the Theresianum took top honors at the business@school International Finals in Vienna with cappucca, a smartphone case made of recycled coffee grounds. Second place was shared by three teams, from Egham (United Kingdom), Milan (Italy), and Vienna (Austria). Overall, eight teams from Albania, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Austria, and Switzerland competed in the International Finals.

Vienna, June 14, 2023. "The disposal of smartphone cases in Austria produces over 100,000 kilograms of plastic waste every year," said Natalie (16). Along with Elena (17), Michael (17), and Nikolai (17) of the Theresianum in Vienna, she introduced a product designed to address this problem. Their pitch: "cappucca not only protects your smartphone—it protects the planet, too." The winning team from Vienna thought out their concept carefully: The recycled coffee grounds used to produce their smartphone cases are sourced at no cost from the famous Café Sacher, which is just around the corner from their school. The coffee grounds are then mixed with an innovative bioplastic to make the smartphone case biodegradable. This idea clearly impressed the judges at the International Finals of business@school, the educational initiative of the international consulting firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG). 

Presentations for high-profile judges at the close of the project year
This year, for the 25th time, more than 1,000 students at around 70 schools immersed themselves in the world of business as part of business@school, the educational initiative of Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Over the past ten months, participants in business@school discovered their entrepreneurial spirit and developed impressive business ideas. They were supported in this by over 400 coaches from roughly 20 partner companies of the initiative and BCG. Lukas Haider, head of BCG's office in Vienna and chairperson of the judges' panel, was impressed by the valuable skills participating students learned in the course of the project year: "business@school gives you a financial education, and your presentations show great expertise in this regard," he told the teams at the International Finals.

The best teams at participating international schools presented their business ideas at the International Finals, held at the Theresianum in Vienna, after which they answered the judges' probing questions. "What impressed us was that you provided a proof of concept for your idea with preliminary orders and did such a good job of underpinning your sales," said Melanie Raidl, Careers Editor at the Austrian newspaper Der Standard and one of the judges at the Finals, explaining the decision of the business experts on the judges' panel to award first place to the Theresianum's home team. 

The panel was comprised of the following judges:
•    Lukas Haider, Managing Director and Partner, Boston Consulting Group 
•    Max Hölbl, Managing Director, Prinzhorn Holding / Managing Director & Chairman, Dunapack Packaging 
•    Lukas Mayrl, Managing Director, SanusX 
•    Meinhard Platzer, CEO, LGT Bank Österreich 
•    Maurizio Poletto, Chief Platform Officer, Erste Group Bank AG 
•    Melanie Raidl, Careers Editor, Der Standard 
•    Bettina Reibnegger, Head of Communications, Waterdrop Microdrink GmbH

Strong competition from around Europe
In view of the many great ideas, it wasn't easy for the judges to arrive at a decision. Three teams from the UK, Italy, and Austria therefore shared second place. 
•    Alistair (17), Dan (16), Nayan (17), Nikhil (17), and Valerio (17) of ACS International School Egham in the UK presented leisurewear made of bamboo from their Bamboo Clothing House. 
•    The team from the Deutsche Schule Mailand in Italy—Carl (16), Juan (17), Lois (17), Marta (16), Medardo (17), Niccolò (17), and Vittoria (16)— introduced EventZ, a location-based event platform for students.
•    Adel (16), Alexander (16), Anna (16), Max (16), Konstantin (16), and Paulina (17) from the G19 Döblinger Gymnasium of Vienna presented a lamp with a carbon frame made of algae. 

Overall, eight teams competed in this year's International Finals:

•    Nehemiah Gateway, Buçimas, Pogradec: BizConnect—an app for digitalizing commercial consumables orders in Albania

•    Munich International School, Starnberg: ACEreview—a learning app for the IB math course  

United Kingdom
•    ACS International School Egham, Egham: Bamboo Clothing House—leisurewear made of bamboo

•    Deutsche Schule Mailand, Milan: EventZ—a location-based event platform for students 

•    Theresianum, Vienna: cappucca—smartphone cases made of recycled coffee grounds from Viennese cafés 
•    G19 Döblinger Gymnasium, Vienna: CarboLight—a lamp with a carbon frame made of algae
•    Sir Karl Popper Schule/Wiedner Gymnasium, Vienna: The Home Box—subscription boxes with household items

•    Kantonsschule Enge, Zurich: Bicho—chips made of mealworms