TSU and School of Technological Entrepreneurship of TechnoSpark organized their business game ‘Build a Company. Sell the Company’ for those who wished to participate in the new #startupdiplom internship program. It is the second year in a row that students have been granted an opportunity to spend 10 hours in the entrepreneurial environment. The game was held on December 14 at the Institute of Economics and Management. The best players who made it to the final are getting a chance to compete for the internship in the position of the executive director of a technology startup in TechnoSpark, the best technology park of the country.
TSU Media Office
The game technology was the same as last year, meaning that each player started as an engineer in the “small ball industry.” It implied taking part in the assembly of a construction used to handle the balls. One ball bounces into the next one, which is supposed to put the entire chain into motion. After building such constructions, team members could remain in the status of engineers or upgrade to become an entrepreneur, which basically means becoming the owner of the company that produces such constructions, or an investor.
“One of the challenges that players experience is to face the reality in which in addition to teamwork and social communion one needs to establish business relations and take economically reasonable actions. The in-game online bank maps the industry in real time, that is why all players can see who is thriving in the existing economy and who can’t find their place in the current division of labour for whatever reason, or who simply isn’t found on the map, or has no cooperative relations to others, whose economic actions are of low density,” Anna Yelashkina, CEO of TEN.Education School of Entrepreneurship of TechnoSpark, explained.
According to her comments, this automation dramatically reduces the time that is normally spent at strategic sessions to discuss reports delivered by groups and make sense of it all, whereas the game ‘Build a Company. Sell the Company’ reveals everything significant at once. The organizers only need to give the players a hint or two about how to interpret the results.
TSU Media Office
At the registration stage the game attracted over 100 people. As the game proceeded over a total of 10 hours, there were seven startups left moved forward by one to three people. They all made it to the final stage.
“It is more or less how the game evolves on most other student platforms, with 30-50 percent of those at the start actually making it to the end. And about 10 percent can really engage in the economic activity in real time through responsible business actions,” Anna Yelashkina pointed out.
TSU Media Office
“Throughout the game, 18 players made up their minds to be entrepreneurs. An entrepreneur has a right to register their company, recruit engineers, take up loans, attract investors and sign procurement contracts with corporations. There happened to be only two investors in the game. One of them had been defined in advance; it was Konstantin Nekrasov who became the winner last year and was awarded his internship at TechnoSpark. The other investor put himself forward for the role from among the players,” said Elena Lazareva, deputy director of the Centre for Entrepreneurship at the Institute of Economics and Management.
Konstantin Nekrasov came to Tomsk for a short break from his internship in Moscow region to take the university exams. The business game coincided with his stay and he agreed to participate.
“Konstantin performed quite a mature role of the investor during this game, which was of additional educational benefit to his internship, to quickly and safely look at the startup through the eyes of an investor and understand why it is so challenging for entrepreneurs to speak to investors in real life. We hope to preferably keep engaging our interns in the game gradually handing the game technology over to the young,” Anna Yelashkina added.
According to Zakhar Mostipan, a second-year Bachelor student of the Institute of Economics and Management, it was Konstantin who helped him get among the winners.
“It was hard to figure out the rules at first, and we had to think on our feet – the game is divided into intervals of five years that last for about 20-30 minutes. As we have been explained by the organizers, in the conditions of today’s economy, everything happens really fast, so it is a valuable experience. When I found Konstantin Nekrasov there were already lots of funds in my company so there was no need for investment. Then he said that for 10% of shares in the company he could offer advice on what to do next. I agreed and it helped me to win,” Zakhar Mostipan shared.
Besides, the best entrepreneurs of the previous game were Yeseniya Ruzanova, a third-year Bachelor student of the Faculty of Psychology, and Daria Petukhova, a four-year Bachelor student of the Biological Institute.
“The game scenario is as close to real-life technology entrepreneurship as possible. It is unlike any incubators, accelerators, or exams. Players that made it to the end had to overcome the demanding conditions that small startups were exposed to by a large corporation, as well as the disappearance of the external client, the market crunch, and rigorous requirements from the investors. Just like it happens in life. That is why those who were selected for the #startupdiplom program last year can be entrusted with the task of creating new jobs with the TechnoSpark Group of Companies,” Anna Yelashkina concluded.
TSU Media Office
“Tomsk State University dedicates a fair amount of attention to the development of the innovation and entrepreneurship track and entrepreneurial thinking in students. Last year TSU opened a course in entrepreneurship that familiarizes students with the basic concepts and principles of business management. The realization of the joint program with the TechnoSpark Group of Companies that we started at the beginning of the year allowed four students to start their internship focused on designing startups in Troitsk and try their hand at business development. This program will help graduates master both theoretical and practical skills required for their own innovation business,” Viktoria Makoveeva, deputy director of the Institute of Economics and Management and director of TSU Entrepreneurship Centre, said.
The game was played by representatives of the Institute of Economics and Management, Faculty of Foreign Languages, Higher IT School (HITs), as well as philologists, biologists, geographers and psychologists. Apart from TSU students, this year’s business game also invited students of Tomsk Polytechnic University. Next spring the organizers are planning to hold another selective round of games, as well as the finals, which will identify new interns to work at TechnoSpark.
TechnoSpark’s #startupdiplom program functions as an entrepreneurial internship at the TechnoSpark Group of Companies for four-year students in Bachelor’s degree programs, five-year students completing their specialist programs, and two-year Master students. According to the program, TSU students who have shown entrepreneurial skills during the qualifying stages will be able to do an eight-month business internship with high-tech startups of TechnoSpark and its partners in order to master the unique skills of a builder of a new technology business. Business Game ‘Build a Company. Sell the Company’ is a tool used to select students for the program. Afterwards the students will have an opportunity to defend their final qualifying projects by presenting successes and failures they have faced during their new startup launch.
Date: December 18, 2019