Project Description

An Interview With Our 2021 First Place Winner… KELPNET

Jessica Liu – 2022

White Oaks Secondary School

“I hope that everyone can give the Blue Ocean Competition a shot! This is a unique opportunity for you to interact with like-minded students across the globe. The soft skills and entrepreneurship concepts you learn from this competition will be a significant asset to you. Your pitch does not have to be a scientific breakthrough, come and share something that you are passionate about!”

Below is an interview with the Blue Ocean Student Entrepreneur Pitch Competition first-place winner for 2021. This young woman pitched the idea of replacing fishing netting with new bio-degradable kelp. Hopefully this pitch inspires other students to compete and offer solutions to current problems.

Why did you enter the contest? What did you hope to accomplish or learn?

I was reading an article about the future of sustainable businesses over winter break and thought that this competition would give me a chance to try out something new. My goal at the beginning was to create something meaningful that I would be passionate about. With the help of the Blue Ocean Strategy, I wanted to share my ideas and also learn more about how I can best frame them.

Why this contest and not another one? What appealed to you about this competition?

The emphasis on a specific business strategy was very refreshing to see in a pitch competition. I also found it intriguing that the Blue Ocean Competition was the largest virtual entrepreneurship competition internationally. Given these unprecedented circumstances, many competitions paused their events; however, this competition helped me adapt to the situation and offered a new experience I was excited to engage with. After researching further about this competition, I was surprised by the diversity of pitches from past years as they were all so eye-opening! Another factor I considered was that real investors and business professionals were judging this competition. I wanted to try pitching my idea and see if it was worth pursuing!

How much time did you spend creating your pitch?

I began the brainstorming process a few months prior to the competition. The researching process was the longest because I ended up consulting many sources and people for input. I made sure to put in consistent work around my schedule in the month before the deadline so I would have enough time to make the video and submit it on time!

What was hard?

The hardest part was definitely deciding on an idea. I had a few ideas at the beginning and had to research them thoroughly before solidifying an idea for the pitch. It was also quite difficult to grasp the Blue Ocean concepts at first as I was unsure of how to apply them to my pitch. However, after watching a few videos from the Blue Ocean Strategy website, I was able to understand it better and use it to improve my idea.

What was easy?

After choosing an idea to work with, the delivery of the pitch was relatively easy. I became more passionate about it as I worked on it and I had the motivation to work hard on it. By the end of the researching process, I was excited to share my ideas and create the pitch video.

Did you find the fact that this is a virtual and global competition appealing?

Given current COVID-19 circumstances, I was very glad to hear that there were competitions happening online. This virtual competition removed all barriers in terms of the geographic location and costs of traveling. The scale of this competition was certainly a factor that influenced me to compete in this competition too.

Did your school or teacher encourage you or did you pursue this on your own?

I pursued this project on my own. I was inspired in one of my organic chemistry classes when coming up with this project and how we can turn kelp into a durable nylon-like plastic.

What advice do you have for future participants?

My advice is cliche, but I still feel it needs to be said: be passionate about your ideas. Even if you are unsure of your idea at the beginning, you will become more attached and confident with the idea as you work on it. Make sure you accept feedback and use it as positive energy to make improvements to your ideas. It’s so important that you are passionate about the idea, because only then will you be able to carry it out to its maximum capacity.

Quote

I hope that everyone can give the Blue Ocean Competition a shot! This is a unique opportunity for you to interact with like-minded students across the globe. The soft skills and entrepreneurship concepts you learn from this competition will be a significant asset to you. Your pitch does not have to be a scientific breakthrough, come and share something that you are passionate about! -Jessica