More than WOOD!
At the ‘Startup Weekend: More than WOOD!’ from the multi-purpose bench to the henhouse for every household
Promising business ideas sprouted during the creative working weekend, that bring forth new guidelines for the development of the timber industry in Slovenia.
The ‘Startup Weekend: More than WOOD!’ concluded on 22 June 2014 in Ljubljana, and was organised at the Biotechnical Faculty of the University of Ljubljana by the Student Council of the Biotechnical Faculty (ŠS BF) and the Regional Development Agency of the Ljubljana Urban Region (RDA LUR). The University of Ljubljana (UL) was the main partner of the event. Young people developed their ideas in the field of wood in an intensive three-day event through the cooperation with academics, industry representatives and other experts. Among the more than 40 participants, who made up the 9 interdisciplinary teams and presented 10 ideas, the expert commission selected the winning idea at the end of the event, which was the multi-purpose bench Vave, developed during the intensive weekend by Lea Mlečnik, Ana Pezdirc, Jernej Koželj, Nika Nagode and Luka Suhadolnik.
The co-organizer and main partner of the event was the Regional Development Agency of the Ljubljana Urban Region (RDA LUR) and its Regional Centre of Creative Economy (RCKE), which recognized the event as an opportunity for the development of new business ideas for the prudent use of wood. Wood is an important raw material, which is, besides in the furniture industry, becoming increasingly important in the construction industry and the power supply business. “It is time for the young generation, the scientists and the successful entrepreneurs of Slovenia, to join forces and come up with new ideas on how to use the strategic raw material, which covers 60 percent of Slovenian territory, for development: new jobs, new internationally competitive brands and innovative business models. It was precisely in this that we saw the opportunity of the startup weekend and decided to support the event. A dynamic programme and a truly interdisciplinary group of participants created a space for the exchange of ideas, networking and cultivation of the entrepreneurial stories of the future within the timber industry,” the decision to support the ‘Startup Weekend: More than WOOD!’ was explained by mag. Lilijana Madjar, Director of RDA LUR.
Prof. dr. Maja Makovec Brenčič, Vice-Rector of the University of Ljubljana, praised the event as an initiative for interdisciplinary integration and empowerment of students, and expressed the wish for the initiative to become permanent.
The central part of the Saturday programme of the startup weekend was the round table with the participation of experts in the fields of design, entrepreneurship, the timber industry and academia (prof. dr. Franc Pohleven, Biotechnical Faculty, UL; Milenko Ziherl, Director of the Eco Fund; Rupert Gole, Mayor of Šentrupert; Jože Kos, owner of Mizarstvo Kos, Luka Ločičnik, designer of the LLSTOL; Miha Klinar, Competence Centre for Design Management and ALUO). The purpose of the round table was to encourage participants to identify niches or areas where they could, in an innovative way, contribute to the better use of wood through their idea.
The informal gathering of participants with the speakers of the round table was followed by project work. On Sunday, the groups completed the development of their functional prototypes and presented the latter at the end of the event to the committee that was composed of experts on development, design, entrepreneurship and wood. The ideas ranged from a wooden toothbrush, a rotating poker table, wooden bicycle parts, a henhouse for all households, a modular system and a wooden book light, to wooden hydraulic toys and special cases for musical instruments, the Lubadar online store and the winning multi-purpose bench Vave.
A special prize was selected by the committee and was awarded to the group that developed the idea of the Lubadar online store (an online store for the wooden products produced by high school students). The third prize was awarded to the Pipico henhouse, and the group that produced the hydraulic wooden toy received the second prize. All winners received practical prizes,whereas the winners Lea Mlečnik, Ana Pezdirc, Jernej Koželj, Nika Nagode and Luka Suhadolnik will get the chance to develop their multi-purpose bench Vave with the help of the Ljubljana University Incubator to the point that it will be ready to enter the market.
RDA LUR is the initiator, co-creator and administrator of sustainable development within the Ljubljana Urban Region (LUR), which connects 26 municipalities in central Slovenia. The Agency encourages innovation within the economy of the region with projects linking traditional industrial sectors with the creative industries, education and research institutions as well as decision-makers and policy-makers. Its RCKE has in recent years established itself as a practical facilitator between the economy and the creative industries, as well as a promoter of the development of entrepreneurial skills and entrepreneurship within the creative industries. The Centre encourages the development of a creative ecosystem, which includes creative employees (or employment), creative spaces and the (creative) economy, at the level of the region.