2018 Tulane Business Model Competition kick off with the Business Model Canvas Workshop

Emily Champagne, BSM 2020

On Wednesday, October 25, students from every school at Tulane of all Majors came together for The Business Model Canvas Workshop.

Tulane has hosted its annual Business Model Competition for eighteen years, and every year, gearing up for the competition becomes more exciting. This year, to spark collaboration and interest, the Albert Lepage Center sponsored a Business Model Canvas Workshop featuring Rob Lalka, executive director of the Lepage Center; Jon Atkinson, director of Loyola University’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Development; Kris Khalil, Managing Director of Bio Fund II; and Josh Webb, Principal of JW Capital. The task of the evening was to engage over forty students and administrators, along with our business leaders, in an entertaining round of creating a hypothetical start-up.

Nine categories exist to outline a Business Model Canvas: Key Partners, Key Activities, Key Resources, Value Propositions, Customer Relationships, Channels, Customer Segments, Cost Structure, and Revenue Streams. Unless you’re a business major or have some former experience with start-ups, these words and their applications are foreign.

Our objectives were to understand the parameters of a start-up-which is defined as the action or process of setting something in motion, to detail the type of information that should be addressed when beginning a company, and to practice with a sample idea invented by an attendee.

The ideas were priceless: hovering umbrellas, boutique hotels for bachelor and bachelorette parties, tools to help elderly people with dementia participate in the workforce, and match making tinder. While all the ideas were innovative and entertaining, how could a room full of millennials pass up the opportunity to discuss match-making tinder?

The fun and creativity were too abundant to finish the entire Business Model Canvas, but we were able to establish Key Partners, Key Activities, Value Propositions, Customer Relationships, and Customer Segments. To briefly give an idea of our collaboration, an outline of a few of the mentioned categories follows. First, we need to understand who our target audience should be and what our company is offering. In other words, how is the solution we designed going to be valuable to anyone else? In the context of our match-making Tinder, the app is a form of entertainment that is inclusive of people in relationships and people who want to impact their friends’ romances. On a broader scale, the app could offer other social media sites the opportunity to pair with a start-up that involves a related target market (e.g.. Facebook, Tinder, Bumble, etc.). Therefore, our value to individuals is inclusion, entertainment, and increased possibility of romance. The value for partners is increased awareness of a market segment and the possibility of new customers.

The enjoyment of the evening was encompassed by observing students studying to receive PHDs, MBAs, engineering and business degrees apply their vast knowledge of pop culture, technology, marketing skills, sales techniques, and more to entertain a fictitious app.

Passion was present among the creative minds in attendance and could involve a broader scope of students as awareness about events such as this one increases.