Project Description

An Interview With Our 2022 Best Social Care Pitch Winner… Ring a Bell

Kaitlyn Wang, Kevin Wang – 2024

The Harder School

“Blue Ocean goes beyond a simple competition in that it reaches out to provide a mini-training course and guides you through applying the leading business strategy method to your entrepreneurial endeavor. This experience will be a great asset to you!”

Below is an interview with the Blue Ocean Student Entrepreneur Pitch Competition best social pitch winner for 2022. These young people pitched the idea of personalized student tutoring for the underserved. 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?

We started off with an exciting new idea and entered the contest to turn this into a real product. Through Blue Ocean, we learned how to apply the leading marketing strategy in the business world, and we hoped to create a platform that could truly benefit students from around the world.

How did you learn about the competition (school or teacher, Internet, recommendation from a friend…)?

We came across this Blue Ocean competition when searching for free business resources on the Internet and noticed Blue Ocean is a competition that is open to every high school student.

If you learned about this from the Internet, did you find this through Instagram, Facebook, websearch…?

We started with a web search and found the Blue Ocean website informative.

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

We liked Blue Ocean because it is open to every idea and every high school student. We also found Blue Ocean very encouraging. It is more than a simple competition as it reaches out to teach aspiring entrepreneurs how to find the unique value proposition for their business and how to devise a marketing strategy.

How or why did you pick your topic?

We have been doing volunteer tutoring for five years and through our day-to-day interactions with our students, we observed a huge gap for underserved students to find tutoring resources to answer their daily homework questions. We implemented our idea into a product because we think this will be really helpful to a lot of students who find traditional private tutoring prohibitive.

Is this a real business that you plan on pursuing?

Ye, this is a real business that we plan to launch soon! We have developed a working platform on Discord, but we plan on continuing to upgrading our platform and user experience and expanding to more tutors and students, even internationally.

Do you plan on being an entrepreneur?

Yes, the experience of entrepreneurship is very fascinating and fulfilling. There’s nothing better than the experience of pursuing a project and working with a team who all share the same passion.

What were your favorite learnings from the Blue Ocean concepts (if any)?

First, we were enlightened by the concept of “Blue Ocean Market” which provides insight into how to set a new business apart in a seemingly crowded market. This is the key to success in entrepreneurship. Furthermore, we liked the tools of Strategy Canvas and 3-Tiers of Noncustomers, which nicely turned complex market analysis problems into visually intuitive charts.

How much time did you spend creating your pitch?

We spent around 3 weeks creating our pitch, which includes organizing our work, learning Blue Ocean concepts, preparing slides, recording our product in real customer scenarios, and editing the video.

What was easy?

While nothing in this competition was really “easy”, we were very happy to find that learning the mini-course on Blue Ocean Strategy was much less daunting than what we had anticipated. Imagine that we were learning the leading business strategy courses which were taught in business schools — the mini-course was designed to be very intuitive and explained the essence of the concepts in a way very easy to understand.

What was hard?

The whole life cycle of converting our idea into a real product used by customers was challenging. To start with, we overcame a steep learning curve to implement our online crowdsourcing platform. Then we found it critical to design various aspects of user experience so we revised our user interface and error handling numerous times to make our product robust and intuitive.

Did you have fun?

Yes, we enjoyed every step of the competition and we had a lot of fun making the pitch video! Our startup name came to us from a joke that we realized could be adapted to a real name for our business (Ring a Bell)

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

Yes, the virtual aspect of the competition makes it very convenient for us to participate, without concerns of hefty traveling overhead and costs. The global aspect makes this competition high quality and unlocks the opportunities for sharing ideas with high school students all over the world. Both aspects of the competition are very helpful.

If you worked as a team, how did you work together virtually during this interesting year?

We Zoomed a lot and we kept chatting on Discord. Each of us had to make videos separately piece by piece online and then we combined and edited the pieces together. When we occasionally had to have personal meetings, we showed up with masks.

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

This is our individual out-of-school project and we pursued it on our own.

What did you learn?

We learned many lessons along the way. For example, we learned that customer validation is critical to prove that our idea and business model have real demand and real feasibility in the market so we spent a lot of time doing customer interviews and surveys. We also put a lot of thought into the unique positioning of our product, and made efforts to communicate them well to our customers and in the pitch video.

What would you do differently?

If we had more resources for this project, we would grow one more person in our team dedicated to establishing partnerships, expanding our customer base, and maintaining customer support. It takes systematic effort to build up our brand name but it’s very rewarding.

What advice do you have for future participants?

We would like to encourage all younger students to try the Blue Ocean Competition and not feel scared. It’s fun to make a video to demonstrate and share your ideas, and you will like this process because it opens up a lot of new learning opportunities and it is very fulfilling.

Quote

“Blue Ocean goes beyond a simple competition in that it reaches out to provide a mini-training course and guides you through applying the leading business strategy method to your entrepreneurial endeavor. This experience will be a great asset to you!”