Disclaimer: To whom it may concern, this post was written originally based on the author’s full personal experience. It does not contain lies, alterations, or scams, and is properly provided with real proven events, time, and information.
The Creative Business Idea
Back during the midst of October, my counselling teacher got an email inviting the school to join a “Business Talent Exploration” competition held by one of the most well-known schools in my country, UPH-Karawaci. I asked him the details of the competition and he told me that he would gladly forward them to me. And of course, I immediately checked my inbox, to see that the requirements for this competition were a group of 3 people (like most competitions are like these days), and it also mentioned that the business idea had to be written in a form of a thesis, which was indeed unlike any other business competitions I have participated in the past, and to top that, the groups whose business ideas were chosen would have to travel all their way to Jakarta, to continue their journey throughout the upcoming semi-finals and finals, which would be to present what their business ideas are all about. But unlike any other average business plan competitions, this is one where they would specifically hand us a real case of an existing area with certain issues that need speculating. This is therefore, more than just another typical business competition, since there was a need of intellectual yet analytical skills packed with well-driven business mindsets in order to cope up with the competition itself. So thus, I partnered up with two of my dearest friends, Ica and Evan, who were coincidentally also my two team-mates of the CEC Debate Competition I joined last year. And without further ado, we immediately got ourselves registered for this competition, so there were indeed, no turning backs!
Moving on, we finally got the materials we needed for our thesis, and was given a full week to establish our business idea, and work on our business report. They sent us a series of files that consisted videos, slides, and points of information about Mauk, a small distinct area that is not too far from the city. There were several mindful potentials upon aspects that got us thinking about what the creative business idea should be all about, but we were bloody confused to pick just one fitting idea to comply. After all, we were only students with no excessive experience beforehand, so we decided to call on for help from our outstanding history teacher, Mr. Petra.
Here’s a massive shoutout to him for helping us with the idea of the “Perna Viridis (green mollusc) Project”, and giving qualified, intellectual insights along the way. We would have never done it without him.
And so, the business report was finally done and sent through email, I’m not gonna lie, we were desperate for a reply that would simply get us to the next exciting stage of the competition: GOING TO JAKARTA. Well, Tangerang, to be precise. Our counselling teacher, who informed us about this competition, Mr. Tri, also had faith in us and joined the anticipation as well. All our hard work was finally paid off because the email from the official UPH committee itself finally came to our short notice, confirming that we have succeeded to the next round, and was to arrive there on the spot next Wednesday, on November 16th at approximately 7:30 sharp. You can probably tell that we were the three happiest people on earth that day and was super excited for whatever was going to come.
Then it’s off to the rough part: getting the approval from our beloved guardians, well in this case, MY parents. So yeah, I sort of forgot to mention that I was participating this competition to them when I first registered, which of course led me to telling them soon after I finished registering. Of course, they were not happy about me joining this because it involved going out of town with no further clarifications, but then I kind of soothed them gently by saying that there was still a chance of us not making it to the next stage, so we should really get into this matter once it really happened. Primary to that, yes. I was invaded with a mixture of feeling thrilled but also terrified as hell because it was inarguably hard to get their approval on my departure.
Those few days were the toughest. We were in a state where the information being distributed to us were a complete minimum, whereas all we could do was wait until Monday comes because after all, we did, apparently ask for further information to the contact that was included in the email, but failed on getting the full-on response and information we hoped for, because apparently, the person did not want to be disturbed during weekends, when we only had roughly a number of days until departure. Meanwhile, Ica, Evan, Mr. Petra, and Mr. Tri decided to take this really seriously and looked for real products of green molluscs in Kenjeran, where I wasn’t allowed to come with. But long story short, we finally got the information we needed, and needless to say, I finally got their permission to continue battling through this nation-wide competition.
Then it was set. We were finally going: us and Mr. Petra as our mentor and superior guardian. Our beloved principal, Mam Sioe Ie, was very supportive of the fact that we got into the semi-finals, and offered to help acquire the funds needed from school regarding our travel expenses. Thankfully, the school booked us a flight for Tuesday evening to Jakarta, which was the day after I finally confirmed my permission of departure, and another flight on Thursday night back to our city, so all we had to do was brace ourselves to the hysterical journey that lied ahead of us.
The next day came before we knew it, and I was of course, super stoked by this short getaway, since the competition would immerse first thing in the morning on wednesday, with an observation to the designated destination, Mauk. The day started off with school, of course. We were to leave at 1 PM with Evan’s car to the airport, for our plane departs at 4.30 in the afternoon. Also, we had a religion test that morning, which was quite the burden for us because we had to also study for our upcoming presentation and fully prepare the materials the night before we depart, but we all managed to acquire grades that, to say the least, was above average. Thank goodness.
A few moments later, it was finally time for us to bid our farewells. We said our goodbyes to mostly everyone we met, and even willed ourselves upstairs to our beloved class, 11 IPS 1 during gym class where they acknowledged us warmly, wishing us the very best of luck. Then we went downstairs to meet the teachers in the cafeteria, where they were having lunch, then we finally bid our final goodbyes to Mr. Tri, who had so much hope in us, and whom I suppose, supported us the most. It was a completely marvelous feeling, having to leave the city to bring upon the school’s name outside of it, nationally. I guess God had such a great plan for us that day, because to be fairly honest, never have I expected anything like this to actually occur in my life so far. The most predictable thing about God sometimes, though, is that He is highly unpredictable upon His wills He planned for our lives, and I humbly will be forever grateful for what He has done.
We experienced a short delay and turbulence throughout the flight, so we were 30 minutes late for the arrival. Now during the flight, though, Mr. Petra, Evan, and I used our time *~wisely~* and slept almost the entire journey, while Ica worked her bottom off with the Power Point presentation and chose to stay awake. She told us that several flight attendants that approached her seat had offered her airline products in the most startling way while we were asleep, which kind of pissed her off at some point. Hehe, sorry to hear that, Ca. #peace ✌
Shortly afterwards, we carried our luggage towards the exit and found the driver from UPH that was supposed to take us to the campus. We were staying at the campus’s practice hotel, originally made for the Hotel Management majored students, for the next couple of nights, and to be quite honest, although I forgot to take a decent picture of it, the place was very nice and there was a lot of space for us to walk around and everything. The showers had a heater, and the room temperature was splendid, completed with two double beds and a desk, and then again I still couldn’t believe that we were blessed enough to have experience all this.
The night was still young enough for us to look for food outside of the UPH Campus, and while we were walking, I was completely drawn to how the environment around it looked like, there was an entire full green space with tall trees that surround them, and buildings that are insanely huge representing multiple majors inside of them. We decided to keep walking (using flip flops that hurt like hell because we didn’t know we had to walk that far) in search for the famous “Bakmi GM” (which happened to be Ica’s brilliant idea), so we kept on exploring the restaurants and malls around the campus, we even managed to get ourselves lost for a moment, got into the wrong side of the road (thanks to Evan), but managed getting directions and went straight into the mall where our growling stomachs finally devoured a decent meal.
It was finally time for us to enrol to the semi-finals. We reached UPH Business Building F, at approximately 7:20 ish and waited till 8:00 to commence our registration. While we were waiting though, we got to witness the competitors. There were 12 our of 200 groups in total that got into the semi-finals, and to top that, we were the only representatives from our city, which was a total shocker and a decent motivational pride that got us even more anticipated into winning this competition.
They provided us all with a bus that transported us to the village with an additional breakfast to eat along the way. The journey took us about 2 hours long, and after devouring breakfast, we started to doze ourselves to sleep until we reached our destination.
There was a lot to see in the village, from the non-hygienic water they consume, to the pile of green mollusc shells that were left untouched and not recycled, the less-saturated pig farms, diverse cultures that can be seen through temples, etc. Our business idea revolved around using the green mollusc, a main commodity in the area, and start using them to their fullest potential, using them as a coagulant that filters contaminated water, decorations, seafood ingredient, and so on. The main point of the observation was to prove whether or not our business was practical to improve the welfare of the people that lived there.
After all day exploring, we managed to get back to campus and was informed that the presentation was due tomorrow afternoon immediately right after Mochtar Riady’s seminar, which was located in one of the seminar buildings in campus. So after we got back and showered, we knew we were off to working our bottoms all night on our presentation tomorrow. Ica was of course, the one who bombarded the designs of the slide presentations, as for Evan and I, we practiced, practiced, and practiced on presenting our ideas for the judges. There was a slight conflict between us three about equality towards presentation materials, since we all couldn’t get a hold of ourselves and were extremely tired that day, we even ordered delivery service from KFC to boost up our energy so we could continue pulling a late shift that night. Mr. Petra, being our mentor, helped us along the way by tweaking a few words and arrangements here and there, giving us great mental support, and motivation as we continued practicing. We finally got ourselves to bed at 1 AM in the morning, while according to Evan, Mr. Petra continued doing his piled up work for school until 3 AM.
So on our next day, we managed to get up at 5.30 AM first thing in the morning and took ourselves quick showers then continued practicing again for the very last time before heading to the seminar. The slides were nicely done, all we needed to do was print 3 copies of them to give to the judges. We embarked at around 7.30 to look for someone who can print these out for us. We managed to find a print center just in front of campus, and printed our slides there.
We were scheduled for a seminar by Mochtar Riady and ended up listening to him for a few hours, talking about his achievements in life so far and how he got to the point he was then, interviews, etc. Mochtar Riady is the CEO of UPH, Carrefour, and several other big companies that are located in Indonesia, an inspiration for people of all ages to accomplish big things in life. Right after the seminar, we were directed by our friendly group mentor from UPH to the building where the presentation was supposed to take place. So that was it, I guess. The moment we’ve all been waiting for at last.
To our surprise, the waiting room was chillier than usual that day and we were still using the little pieces of time left on our hands to keep practicing in order to not make any mistakes during the presentation. Then a few moments later, our kind and lovely mentor finally summoned us to the presentation room where we were introduced to three judges sitting before us, and one of them, a lady, told us that she came from Surabaya and that she recognized our Surabayan accents when we first marched in. So I personally handed them the printed slide papers before the presentation began. Everything was smooth at the beginning and we all did a very good job at presenting our ideas for the first 10 straight minutes until it was time for Q&A, where we blew it. Now allow me tell you guys why:
- We didn’t exactly get the idea that this was supposed to be a formally written business plan from the start, because of some type of miscommunication thinking that this was supposed to be just a business idea, not a business plan. Hence, we failed to explain the details that were supposed to be included in our presentation and simply just lost track on answering almost all of the judges’ questions.
- Our team was too busy practicing on presenting the ideas the night before and seemed to have a loose focus on research. The judge lady was not satisfied with our work and had sternly advised us by correcting all the things that went wrong in our presentation, which in other words had put our business ideas to waste.
We had lunch just after that with the coupons they gave us to buy food in their campus cafeteria. Just to put it out there, we didn’t fully enjoy the lunch due to our disappointment towards the presentation we brought upon, and all the critiques we got on our business ideas. Believe me, it was like the judges (especially the lady) told us right in front of our faces that we weren’t valid enough to get into the finals. We wanted to go home so badly back then, but our mentor managed to cheer us up a bit with a tour around campus while waiting for the finals announcement.
The tour was okay, I mean, we got to witness a real campus life right before our eyes, with students carrying books running to catch their next classes, working on their projects, or just having playful conversations with each other. Our mentor was super nice and friendly as she showed us around then. But was not much of a help on making us forget the fact that we failed the presentation.
As many of you all already know, we did not get into the finals. We had so little hope going on, and many more disappointments later, but we managed to stay in to watch several teams that actually went into the finals presenting their ideas in front of everyone. Each team was very unique in their own way that we were very much inspired to be just like them one day on our next presentation. And although we didn’t win, us getting this far, was an absolute struggle and achievement itself that we should really be proud of having.
Were we embarrassed? Absolutely. Were we scared of facing the people back home? Of course. But did we learn from our mistakes? We sure did. So for that, we would like to humbly apologize for not bringing home an entitled winner’s trophy despite our loss, but we promise that we have fought our very best and are eternally grateful for having this incredible opportunity to represent our school on a whole new level nationally. What we truly know is, that failure will not stop us from moving forward, for we believe that failure is the unknown road to success. Thank you so much to everyone who had supported us from the very beginning.
I’ll see you on my next post!
shoutout: all polaroid picture edits are made by Gracia Tumakaka.