On 6-7 October, over 200 students from 27 countries gathered in Tallinn, Estonia, to officially launch the new academic year for the EIT Digital Master School*.
The two-day event marked the starting point of our new students’ journey to become tomorrow’s digital innovators and entrepreneurs.
The Kick-Off took place at the TalTech Mektory, the startup-, innovation-, and conference centre of EIT Digital partner TalTech Tallinn University of Technology. Following the formal opening ceremony and welcome words by the EIT Digital management, the students had the opportunity to enjoy inspiring keynotes by Testlio Founder Kristel Kruustük and Pipedrive CTO Agur Jõgi.
Commenting on the importance of the pan-European dimension of the EIT Digital Master School, TalTech’s Vice-Rector for Entrepreneurship Sven Illing told students “You’re very lucky here, as you are one community here and making those important connections!” This was seconded by EIT Digital CEO Willem Jonker: “You have to step out of your home environment and that’s we are doing. Our world is Europe, because at a European level we are 450 million citizens and that makes us a power at global level. You are joining that European community and we expect you to help us realise the dream and our mission of creating a fair, inclusive and sustainable digital world!”
Looking at our students’ bright future, EIT Digital Master School Head Salvatore Moccia emphasised that “This is just the beginning! You are at the beginning of a successful career as top managers, entrepreneurs and founders. This is a great choice!”
Testlio Founder Kristel Kruustük emphasised on the benefits of living and starting a company in Europe. “As both me and my husband worked in tech, we decided to go to Silicon Valley, had this crazy fair-well with our friends, sold all our stuff, packed our life in four different suitcases and flew to San Francisco. After two weeks being there, we were like – we don’t like being there!”
Looking at the bigger picture of entrepreneurship, Pipedrive CTO Agur Jõgi said that “Even when you’re in a growth phase with your company, you still have to continue experimenting with your products and services across the globe. And when you’re successful experimenting, at some point you will realise you have become a unicorn or even bigger. And that’s the moment when you realise you have not only a responsibility to yourself, to have fun and build something, but also to your clients, your customers and society.”
After an introduction to the seven EIT Digital Master School programs and the EIT Digital Summer School, the students started the Business Challenge – the main activity of the Kick-Off days. Divided into small teams and supported by business coaches, the students received concrete cases by 17 contributing companies and were tasked with developing within 24 hours solutions to the companies’ challenges.
The winning team of students presented a solution to a business challenge by company Bosch. Every year, there are many boating accidents in marinas, causing injuries and high costs. Boat owners’ wish to have a solution that allows them to moor their boats without jeopardizing their yachts integrity. The happy winners succeeded with their proposal for a Mooring Assistance System (MAS) with automotive parking functions.