The first-place team Basement at work
The registration period had to be cut short due to the large number of applicants, and eventually 44 students from 8 universities participated. The first event of the first day was a roundtable talk with Gigi Tímár, Director of the Budapest LAB Entrepreneurship Centre; Gábor Kerékgyártó, Director of Economic Development and Service at the Budapest Chamber of Commerce and Industry; and Dr. György Eigner, Dean of the John von Neumann Faculty of Informatics at Óbuda University. The moderator of the event was Dr. László Trautmann. Participants discussed the future of Budapest’s economy. It was argued that Budapest is basically a good location in the European Union for creating an internationally successful company from an exciting idea. A basic factor, besides cost factors, is the culture of the city, the historic legacy which provides an opportunity for innovation. At the end of the first day, there was an informal programme organised by Hosszúlépés. Járunk?, a business organising urban walks.
On the second day, the mixed teams conducted market research and market viability evaluation first, then they prepared for the presentations. Business ideas were presented in the usual way: every team had 3 minutes to describe their innovation, then the panel of judges had the floor for 3 minutes.
Participants had the opportunity to talk to young, Budapest-based entrepreneurs who mostly started to implement their business ideas during their university years or shortly after. In addition to the founder and managing director of Hosszúlépés. Járunk?, the founders of Charitask.hu and the founder of the Falafel Fusion culinary company also attended the event.
Pitches were assessed by a panel of three judges: Dr. János Vecsenyi (Corvinus), Árpád Szőcs (the Budapest University of Technology and Economics /BME/, Vodafone), and Tamás Rátkai (Budapest Chamber of Commerce and Industry, BÁV Faktor Zrt.).
The jury at work
With their idea, Basement, the team winning the first prize offered a solution for two problems at once: the energy problem of apartment buildings and the problem of property rental by micro and small enterprises in Budapest. These problems are to be solved through the utilisation of neglected basements in apartment buildings. After renovation, basements can be utilised in various ways in the long term: they can be converted to storage units, restaurants, co-working offices or other types of stores. In this scheme, businesses could rent these basement units at a reduced fee. This is a new source of income for the apartment buildings, and during the renovation, energy efficiency can be improved. Team members are from different universities (Corvinus, the Faculty of Law and the Institute of Economics at Eötvös Loránd University, and the National University of Public Service), they met at the ideathon and this is where they came up with their business idea.
The second prize went to the team presenting the idea of an application, Life+, which would help users commit and stick to a heathy lifestyle. The app would have free and premium features, the former including reminders, lists of nearby physicians, online appointment booking and evaluating physicians. Premium features would include linking the app to a sports watch, tracking health parameters, and features related to medications. The members of the Life+ team are from Corvinus, Budapest Business School /BGE/ and Óbuda University.
The third-place team DiversiGo
The third prize went to the team DiversiGo, who plan to provide sightseeing tours and other programmes for tourists with special needs and disabilities—the target group is surprisingly large. The team has several plans including unique sightseeing tours for people with special needs, at cost price. Tour guides would be residents of Budapest. A co-mission the team has set is to provide a digital platform for people in Budapest for international networking. Validation has started and feedback has been supportive. This is a mixed team, too, with students from BGE, BME and Corvinus who first met and developed their idea at the contest.
The winning teams received prize money and have been invited to the international Danube Cup start-up competition in the spring of 2023. Participants received detailed information about university courses available during the semester where they can keep working on their business ideas. Given the considerable interest in the event, organisers are already discussing the details of the hackathon to kick off the 2023/2024 academic year.
The second-place team Life+
Photos: Dániel Takács