Sanoma Accelerator Part 2: To Amsterdam, Boot Camp and after

by Joanne NH Wong, student, 12MEDIA

With high spirits and motivation, our team Appier spent many efforts in producing promotional videos for our idea ‘Weggle’. Team mate Inês and David had done such great job with video editing for our pitch material together with Eni presenting in it. During the live voting session, snacks and drinks were accompanied. I remember that feeling, as nervous as if we were watching the American Idol finale! And came the good news announcing our team is proceeding to boot camp, selected as Top 5 ideas when we popped the champagne and celebrate another milestone for our progress in this Sanoma Commerce Accelerator. It was such rewarding feeling and the team shared the joy together with other student teams, facilitator Bee Gee and Tina Garvey in Demola premise. (as featured in Demola News)

Lassi and Joris carefully looking at the voting results during one of the webinar

In the beginning of December, our team of four were flew on an all-paid 5-day trip to Amsterdam, attending boot camp to make a rapid prototype for our idea and compete at the last stage of the project. Selected idea(s) would be developed as Sanoma’s internal venture and we would be employed to work with Sanoma for a year. This is a great exposure for us student team to meet and work with professionals on the project during boot camp. It was such fun and exciting experience being in the hip urban city with loads of cyclists and crowds as we took short ferry ride to the boot camp located in MTV Studio where we worked most of the time.Unlimited supplies of breakfast, lunch and snacks during boot camp / Eni presenting progress at the end of each day

During those 5 days, again we got out of the building and went to De Negen Straatjes to do further customer validation, this time with the friendly Dutch! We had so much fun walking around and talking to people in Amsterdam and at one point we even got lost finding our way to Dutch pancake dinner! The learning experience is rather unique in this project: although ‘Weggle’ could be a game changing innovation for Sanoma but unfortunately the idea did not proceed to make into the latest addition to Sanoma’s internal ventures. Perhaps the market did not assure firm success for Sanoma in the industry for launching ‘Weggle’ as part of them, but we were praised for our effort in this project and were encouraged the possibility to develop ‘Weggle’ with different partners in the near future.

To be able to attend the bootcamp is considered a winning for us student already, getting to meet the brains behind the project, learn and networking with other teams from Sanoma and many others professionals in the industry. Many lovely memories and friends were made, thanks to Sanoma as well as everyone who worked hard to make this experience a fun and pleasurable one. I would also like to thank our student mentor Vesa Lindqvist who helped us during the project and brought us to very delicious Dutch pancakes! It has been a very special Demola project and the facilitators have been doing a great job to support us student teams to progress well in this project. ‘Weggle’ has also been awarded again as Best potential startup of Autumn 2013 at the final pitch event happened in January 2014, thanks to the wonderful pitching from talented team mate Eni Iduozee.
Sanoma CEO Harri-Pekka presenting speech (Photo by Lassi Kurkijarvi)/ Team Appier in Amsterdam! (left to right: David Esteves, me, Inês Henrique Lopes and Eni Iduozee. Photo by Vesa Lindqvist )

There are some inspiring reading on John Martin’s blogCEO of Sanoma Digital, where he explains the vision behind this innovation accelerator. As an aspired user experience designer, I am blessed to have humbly learnt about building startup, business value proposition, teamwork and communication, leadership and many other skills in this project, besides the network I have been introduced to. I am looking forward to be more involved and inspired digitally and focus on innovative ways of learning and doing, with the aims of making a better now for a better future.

Joanne NH Wong is an international degree student at our TAMK International Media Programme.
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