Innotalks: Award-winning ideas in the start-up world

At ABC’s Open Day Mingle&Jingle on the December 19 2019 we talked to Veronika Rožmanc, winner of the 2019 Youth Start Up Award Slovenia. 

At our 23rd Innotalks we were discussing awards and achievements in the start-up world. Veronika’s winning idea is Oli, a multifunctional tent for children, which was also awarded as a global most responsible idea. She is also mentored by one of the most influential manufacturing companies in our country: Skaza Plastics.

“Awards make the biggest breakthrough in our heads” as they raise the confidence and confirm we are on the right track, says Veronika who won multiple awards with her children’s tent Oli. She wanted the tent to have a name that is easy for people to remember, and can be pronounced by children, so it does not contain difficult letters and sounds and can be used internationally. This also indicates Veronika’s wish to make the product globally successful.

The idea for Oli began as an end-of-year assignment in high school. For some time after that, the tent waited on top of Veronika’s closet, expecting the right moment to move things further. Things have moved because of the unique combination of boredom and opportunity. 

An opportunity to develop Oli further came in the form of Ustvarjalnik, completely by chance. With the help of mentors at Ustvarjalnik, Veronika managed to complete the development phase of Oli. It is a multifunctional tent in which the child finds shelter while it stimulates the child’s imagination. It is designed in such a way that it fits into virtually any environment. One can also draw on its interior walls, it contains concealed pockets for the child’s personal belongings, and it can serve as a sleeping bag when the is removed.

FOTO: Katja Kodba/ABC Accelerator

Many versions and variations have been made along the way, but Veronika says the current may not be the last. Veronika’s original idea also contained the function of an armchair, where the tent would be turned around and one could also sit in it. Currently, this is not possible due to construction. In addition, Veronika wants the tent to be completely bio-degradable. At the moment, the frame is still made of plastic, since the wood would further increase the cost of production, and thus the sale price. The maintenance too would be much more demanding. In any case, Oli pursues the original idea that the toy grows together with the child, who in turn does not get tired of it and does not discard it. Given the current speed of the world, it could also serve as a refuge for adults. President Borut Pahor also cheerfully nodded to this idea when he presented Veronika with an award for the best youth start-up,saying he would like to have it in his office so he could momentarily hide from his daily duties. At the moment however, the tent is meant for adults only indirectly, as it is designed as a modern piece of furniture, contrary to the majority of children’s toys.

FOTO: Katja Kodba/ABC Accelerator

She also says that while opportunity is needed, personality is very important for the success of an idea, namely that you can accept and respond to criticism. She participates at several projects and start-up weekends, offering her knowledge to others, because she wishes to encourage others to believe in themselves and make the first steps towards entrepreneurship. 

FOTO: Katja Kodba/ABC Accelerator

You can watch the interview here: