In 2013, in the murky depths of exam season, three Entrepreneurship and Economics students at BI submitted a business plan for Alpilox, an alpine and skiing storage solution, for coursework. Fast forward to 2016 and the team have signed a deal with Skistar Hemsedal and gained pilot funding from Innovation Norway.
Anything is possible – if you want it enough
Yet, as with any entrepreneurial success story, the journey was not as easy as it may seem. The Alpilox team - Marius Våge, Simen Roel Klafstad, Eirik Gulseth Strømsheim – have pushed through obstacles to turn their idea into a reality.
- The biggest hurdle has to be to developing a technology-heavy product when no one in the team has technology experience or education. It made us really dependent on third parties and their views, while at the same time it made potential stakeholders doubtful. But anything is possible if you want it enough, says Marius.
The Alpilox product enables users to enjoy the mountains with ease of mind
Last year, the team pitched their idea to Norwegian National Championship for Student Enterprises alongside three other teams from BI, which Marius describes as one of his favourite Alpilox memories.
This year, the 500 000 NOK capital from Innovation Norway is funding a pilot project with Hemsedal ski centre to implement the product this coming winter. With a good foundation in Norway, the trio have dreams of going international and have already begun working on expanding to the Austrian mountains.
More students studying innovation
Amidst BI’s second largest ever applicant numbers this year, applications to the Bachelor in Entrepreneurship and Economy received the biggest increase with an 18 percent rise on 2015’s figure.
- That more students are applying for entrepreneurship studies show that young people are taking labour market restructuring seriously. Being able to develop business plans and models is essential in order to help develop and innovate products and services at a time when economic conditions are changing rapidly, says President of BI Norwegian Business School, Inge Jan Henjesand
- More and more students are seeing the necessity in not just reading about success. They are finding ways to test entrepreneurship out and they all have wonderful reasons for doing so, adds lecturer at the Department of Innovation and Economic Organisation, Tor Haugnes.
Marius and his team not only believe that innovation need not be limited to life after studying and can be implemented effectively into the classroom: They are proof of it.
- I think it’s a good place to meet great people who have similar and complementary interests in life. On a personal note, while studying entrepreneurship I feel more and more inclined to follow this path and give back to others, adds Marius.
- Make use of the resources and knowledge at BI’s institutes. Find fellow students across courses who are passionate about entrepreneurship and don’t limit yourself to one class. Work smart, be selective of how you use your time and effort. Then you can achieve a lot, he concludes with advice to aspiring entrepreneurs at BI.