You can solve someone’s problem? You should be an entrepreneur!

Room for truly royal innovation: The Erste Bank “KMU Ideennacht” took place nearby the Belvedere castle in Vienna. Meet original, revolutionary and curious start-up ideas in a setting that suggests anything’s possible.

The Erste Campus appears like its own micro cosmos for employees and guests of Erste Bank. Mounted nearby Vienna’s famous Belvedere castle, the enterprise centre consists of its own spacious office buildings, event hall, extended staff canteen and what-have-you. Modern, linear and artsy architectural decisions give the campus an airy and luxurious appearance.

Thursday, July 14th, this place is all about “KMU Ideennacht”, an evening for the ideas of small and medium-sized companies. After a charming introduction by anchor man Daniel Cronin, Nicole Prieller – founder and CEO of the Vienna-based digital consulting agency Point of Origin – takes over.

Bizarre? Unthinkable? You bet it’s a business

Prieller makes a beeline through recent innovations and presents 15 start-up ideas from handy to bizarre that have been realised within the past year or less. We learn about a new flexible and individualistic approach to contents insurance (Trōv) and a smart mirror measuring your body constitution and tracking your fitness progress (Naked). Other projects started out as non-profit visions to optimise learning environment and motivation for children (GotIT). The presentation is topped off by almost comical, yet economically legitimate solutions such as ScooterinoAmen, a service for calling a “priest on demand”.

There’s laughter here and there, but the overall impression is: anything is possible. You have an idea? You think there’s a market for it? Don’t worry, don’t be too sceptical, don’t be too afraid to fail. You might not have guessed any of these 15 ideas would work, and here you are.

Daniel Cronin sweeps on stage again and introduces the audience to join a feedbackr session. After the ice-breaker question “How innovative do you think you are?” (for the curious reader: more than half of the visitors replied with “very”), he invites the audience to vote on their most pressing questions. High on the list: “How can I tell the right time for my idea?” and “Should I talk to people about it?

(© Manfred Machacek)
The airy Campus hall before take-off.

Life on demand: What today’s customers really expect

For the final agenda point before networking could commence, Cronin asked six founders on stage where they pitched their own unique ideas to the audience. From women’s shoes with height-adjustable heels (Mime et Moi) to a self-sustaining mobile home concept (Wohnwagon), there was quite the variety to be inspired by. And to realise just how open the market for start-ups really is.

One of the evening’s buzzwords was “on demand”, and a key point carved out by Prieller, Cronin, as well as the founders asked on stage was: listening to your customer is key. The desires and questions customers have or the problems they face should be the first consideration of every start-up to figure out whether their idea has a chance. Cronin’s own advice as an entrepreneur of many years is that good ideas are there to be discussed and improved by talking to others. Only then can you find out whether people have a problem or a desire that your innovation can answer to. In that regard, we are happy that feedbackr could support the event by showcasing how easy it can be to listen to your audience and work with their feedback – right away and on demand.