‘If You Want to Create a Start-Up, This Minor Will Definitely Be Helpful’
On March 22, the enrolment period begins for the ‘Start-Up from Scratch’ minor, which is offered by the HSE Department of Innovation Management. The minor introduces students to different fields of entrepreneurship and guides them through the entire start-up process: from the development of an idea to entering the market with a product and attracting investors. 24 start-ups have made it to the stage of making their first sales. Below, HSE News Service talks about the most interesting student projects.
Third-year students Ekaterina Strukova and Julia Konovalova of the Bachelor’s programme in Fashion (of the Apparel Design profile) launched the WasteLess project. ‘We sew unique tote bags from our client’s used clothes. This is a way to preserve their precious clothes and the memories connected with them,’ said the students about their start-up idea.
Initially, they focused on the fact that the start-up is eco-friendly. ‘Today, many products are eco-friendly – it is a common, high-demand area,’ Ekaterina said. ‘But our project is unique, because the idea – re-sewing – is not something you encounter often, and we made this aspect our main focus.’ In addition, according to Ekaterina and Julia, re-sewing helps make the start-up economical: less costs are spent on fabrics and materials.
The students have already sold their first eco-friendly tote bag, and today, WasteLess is at the MVP (minimum viable product) stage. Katya and Julia are also planning on contacting bloggers and offering them a barter system, which may lead to more sales.
‘I believe the “Start-Up from Scratch” minor, which is where WasteLess began, was useful, particularly when the classes were held in person (it’s hard for me to really master material online). If you want to create a start-up, the minor will definitely be helpful,’ Ekaterina said of the course.
A project dedicated to pleasant travel to regions around Moscow was conceived and created by third-year students Musa Abutalibov (Business Administration), Anastasia Nikulina, and Anastasia Rykhlik (both students of Sociology).
The students admit that at first, they were going to do a project related to indoor plants, but later they decided to try out other areas. Besides, when people found themselves locked down in the pandemic, they started dreaming about taking short trips more.
‘We realized that all of us have traveled a lot around regions that are not far from Moscow, and we have very diverse expertise from our travels,’ said Anastasia Rykhlik, head of the ExploRussia project. ‘Nastia knows about lots of cultural and historical attractions; Musa is into unusual locations and anomalies; and I love art. Together, we complement each other, and that’s why our tours may surprise even the pickiest travelers.’
Advertising on Instagram brought ExploRussia their first ‘real’ clients, not from friends and family, but from people who came across them online and became interested in the project idea, the students say.
‘This is a really cool new experience,’ Anastasia said. ‘That’s why I am sure the minor is useful. Even if you don’t have a clear innovative idea for a start-up. We are taught about the entire process of product creation: from coming up with the idea to its rescaling.’ The minor also teaches students how to manage the finances of their enterprise and handle the legal aspects. Additionally, a lot of attention is paid to issues related to leadership.’
If you want to develop as a businessperson, if you are interested in how it all works, you will get a lot out of the course. In fact, you will gain skills that will be useful in any field.
Another student project that is aimed at helping clients not only express their individuality but care for the environment is Crystal Custom. Its authors are second-year students Maria Trubnikova (Philology) and Katerina Gruzdeva (Design).
‘I’ve always loved the idea of unique clothes, which also reflect my individuality,’ Maria Trubnikova said, ‘In addition, shortly before the start of the minor I got into graffiti: this is how I came up with an idea that customization would be really cool-looking and trendy on jackets, shirts, and dresses.’ In the minor, Maria met Katerina. It turned out that Katerina already had experience with clothing customization, and as a designer, liked the idea a lot. This is how the girls decided to launch the joint project.
Today, the students’ start-up is at the development stage: they keep trying new formats of audience contact and are choosing the right concept for their brand profile. Meanwhile, Maria and Katerina have already managed to do some sales. ‘Of course, we haven’t reached the peak of our project’s development yet. The good is yet to come,’ Maria believes.
We’re going try new techniques of dyeing and customization: embroidery, patches, and raised prints. I would also like to do more eco-conscious pieces and start working with disposed clothes and redesigning them. Today, people buy lots of new clothes and don’t know they can give their old things a new life.
Maria also adds that when she was enrolling in the minor, she couldn’t even imagine that it would be so detailed and useful: ‘I’m particularly happy that during the course, we meet and work with professionals, which means that the minor name is not empty words. The teachers really push us to build our own businesses from scratch, but of course, nothing will happen without motivation and willingness on your end.’
HSE University and MTS have launched a joint project to develop IoT devices (NB-IoT) within the framework of the Internet of Things and Cyber-Physical Systems Master’s Programme and as part of the project activities undertaken by students of HSE’s Tikhonov Moscow Institute of Electronics and Mathematics. Students will have access to the equipment and the network in order to develop energy-efficient devices, while their professors will be provided with expert and advisory support from the MTS specialists.
How can you meet new people beyond your university and your immediate professional circle? Is it possible to make new friends during the pandemic when we are all self-isolating? Renata Sabirova, a fourth-year student of the HSE Faculty of Law and co-founder of the online chat service, Neplokho Poboltali (‘We’ve Had a Nice Chat’), helps answer these questions. She spoke with the HSE News Service about online lounges that are open to the country and the whole world.
To celebrate the 130th birthday anniversary of Man Ray, the renowned avant-garde artist, students of the HSE School of Art and Design have collaborated with Moskino to create soundtracks for three of Ray’s films: Leave Me Alone (1926), The Star Fish (1928), and The Mysteries of the Chateau of Dice (1929). The HSE News Service discussed how these elective sound art classes can develop the creative potential in students from different fields.
With five hours of networking, 22 ‘video guest halls’, and over 800 visitors from 16 countries, this year’s MIEM TechnoShow was a spectacular online exhibition. Attendees could visit various ‘rooms’ to see the projects MIEM students had been working on this past academic year.
On May 31, MIEM students will present their projects at the Institute’s annual exhibition, which this year will be held online. Of 200 team projects created at the Institute this past academic year, the expo will feature the 25 most brilliant and successful, both in terms of innovation and practicality.
Though students of the Moscow Institute of Electronics and Mathematics (MIEM) only learned that their defenses would be moved to an online format a few weeks before the defense date, they showed impressive results. 134 projects developed by student teams collectively totaling 383 students were presented. Of them, the best 37 projects were recommended for participation in the annual MIEM Tech Show.
Daria Romanova, third-year student of Information Science and Computation Technology, with her project, ‘Developing immersive software with a performance analysis system for teaching physics at high school’, won the Innovation Promotion Fund’s national UMNIK programme. The programme supports research and technology projects with commercial potential by young researchers.
In 2018, MIEM became HSE University’s first department to officially introduce project work to its curriculum. Students choose their projects in September and present them in poster form in January. The January poster session serves as an interim evaluation mechanism before student present their final versions of their projects before an expert jury in May and June.
The best features of the university model created by HSE over the years will be preserved, but a new model is essential for further development. This new model will focus on project-based learning for all students, as well as the digital transformation in the field of education.
Starting this academic year, hands-on project work has officially been incorporated into the MIEM educational programme curricula. Working within real-world professional parameters, current third-year students designed, soldered or coded projects for real clients. Once the students presented their projects at a final defense, a Tech Show was held at HSE University for the first time on June 10.