#Journey2014 week 9: The end of the Journey

This week #Journey2014 participants pitched their business plans in Poland and the Netherlands during the final week of the Climate-KIC summer school. Time for us to look back at week 9, the final week of the Journey.

Climate-KIC’s #Journey2014 programme includes 18 locations across Europe and is Climate-KIC’s largest climate innovation summer school to date. Students journey across three countries in six separate groups for a total of five weeks each, spread out over two-and-a-half months this summer.

In total, 300 students travel across Europe between July and early September, culminating in a challenge where start-up teams formed by the students present detailed business plans to a jury consisting of venture capitalists, start-up entrepreneurs and scientists.

Week 9 – the final week of this year’s edition – kicked-off on 1 September.

The Journey 2014

ss100This summer, nearly 300 students from 40 countries, representing 71 disciplines, take part in Europe’s largest climate change education experience – Climate-KIC summer school The Journey. The five week-long course offers a unique combination of academic study and real-world business experience across Europe, with the aim of creating the climate change leaders of tomorrow.

Visit climate-kic.org/Journey2014

Weekly overview

Overview of #Journey2014 so far:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

Week 7

Week 8

Week 9


In the final week, Journey’s 5 and 6 met up together in Wroclaw, Poland’s Lower Silesia region. With over 100 students descending on the city, Wroclaw was a hub of all things clean-tech. The students spent their time finalising their business plans, and putting the final touches on their pitches. There was also plenty of pitch training sessions for those who were looking for a bit more guidance on how to present their ideas to an audience and jury. 

Wednesday, saw  the 100 students compete in the Wroclaw Pitching finals. After four previous weeks of intensive workshops and ideation sessions, the students had to come up with a business idea, and working together in their teams, they each were to create a compelling business plan. The event was hosted by our Climate-KIC Lower Silesia team, and held at the Centre for Science and Education of WUELS. 

Throughout the course of the day, the 18 teams were each given 3 minutes to “sell” their innovative ideas to the expert jury. The students were full of excitement, confidence and professionalism as they each took to the stage to present their clean-tech business. All students were so passionate about their ideas, proud of the work they have put in and excited to show off their businesses.

Krishan Anand, student participant in the summer school said of the Wroclaw event, “the atmosphere was electrifying, the ideas disruptive and those who pitched were charming and charismatic to say the least. At the venture competition in Wroclaw I have seen a glimpse into the future.”

After a full day of pitching, and detailed questioning from both jury and audience, the winners were finally announced. Best Business Idea went to: Majesticks – producing coffee stirrers made of organic sugar. They aim to reduce deforestation and health risks as well as avoid unnecessary waste by providing coffee stirrers made entirely of organic sugar.

Member of the Majesticks team, Martin Jaehnert says, “our team of 5 members, from 3 different countries worked together to come up with a feasible idea, a compelling business plan and pitch a good story to the jury and audience. I believe all teams that pitched in Wroclaw can make an impact on tomorrow’s climate.”

Best Pitch went to: Ufill – a vending machine service to refill reusable bottles in public transport environments. This team really did provide a thoroughly entertaining pitch, speak confidently and conversationally about their business and enchant the audience with their ‘UFill’ bottles. Audience awards were given to both Majesticks and EcoGesi.  

Communications Director at EIT Climate-KIC Alumni Association, Attila Katona, said of the event “I was really excited to be part of the Journey finale and watch the future entrepreneurs perform on stage. The Alumni Association congratulates and welcomes all fresh Journey graduates”


Also taking place last week was the Wageningen Journey pitching finals. Journey groups 3 and 4 arrived in Wageningen, the Netherlands, full of excitement and anticipation as they began their week finalising their business plans in readiness for the pitching finals later that week. 

Wednesday was a day full of excitement across Climate-KIC, as the two finals in Wageningen and Wroclaw began. A  total of 17 teams pitched throughout the day, the students all did a brilliant job in keeping up the excitement and energy and making each and every one of the pitches a highlight.

The expert jury, consisting of a variety of professionals from entrepreneurship and innovation, were really tough on the students, with very detailed questions concerning specifically market research and intellectual property, as they valued these aspects as very important in the setup of a business. The students were perfectly prepared and showed the amount of research and thought that has gone into their ideas in only five weeks. All the students portrayed themselves in a professional manner and showed passion towards their idea.

After a full day of pitches, with every one of them being interesting, innovative and thought through, the judges had a hard time to decide. In the end, the winning team was ‘SolarCargo’, who want to reduce fuel costs by installing solar panels on container ships. 

Simon Madsen, student at the Technical University of Denmark and member of the winning team from ‘SolarCargo’ says, “We believe in our idea but we find it very ambitious. The fact that other people believe in it too, helps us to further pursue this path.”

“The most important thing is not that we won, but meeting these people from all over the world. We have 24 nationalities in our group and it has been truly amazing to work with them, learn from them and create a network that will be very valuable in the future. Even our small group already consisted of people from four different continents.”

Best pitch was awarded to ‘Flex | a | box’, a group that wants to reduce energy consumption of fridges by putting products in a flexible box. 

The audience awards:  Journey 3 winner was ‘Flex | a | box’, who were very happy with picking up two prizes. In Journey 4 the audience was most impressed by OORJA, who want to transform rice husk into sustainable locally produced eco-fertilizer in India. 


The blog

 There was a lot of activity on the blog during the entire 9 weeks of the Journey, not only from students but also jury members, Climate-KIC staff and Alumni members. Last week’s finals in Wroclaw were recapped by Climate-KIC’s Communications Officer, Kelsey Hunter, who said “with it being not only my first Journey finals, but also my first visit to the city of Wroclaw, I was full of excitement and anticipation as I entered the Journey finals venue, held at the Centre for Science and Education of WUELS. “

“After what was an incredibly exciting day in Wroclaw, the students were now all talk of what was next to come. The exciting thing for me was the amount of passion and drive I could see each student possessed, and I am looking forward to seeing how they develop their ideas into innovative start-ups.”

Flora Rosenow, Climate-KIC’s Education Communications Officer, also shared her experiences of the Wageningen finals. “As I have been involved in the recruitment and got to know some of the students as bloggers and during a visit, I was really excited to see them up on stage as well as to experience this special atmosphere everyone was telling me about. And it was true, entering the room you could immediately feel the energy in the room,” she said

Social media

If you missed all the excitement about the pitching finals in Wageningen and Wroclaw on social media last week, check the highlights in our recap below: