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From Dad’s Garage to a Winning Product

»The task of the employer is to connect with the young. You have the passion and are willing to do a lot to make your dream story come true. It is our responsibility to try to give you realistic examples so that by attempting to solve these you can discover the field in which you feel most at home. Which position in a company is the one where you can show that you are the added value for the company? This is the best and the only right way to walk together.« Those were the words of Tanja Skaza, the CEO of Skaza, upon the conclusion of the four-month long cooperation between Skaza and the Faculty of Entrepreneurship at GEA College.

The innovative and successful family company from Velenje presented the students with the so-called Student Challenge – a project which tests their ability to generate ideas for a new product, preparation of market analysis, business model formation, or execution of consumer behaviour analysis. Students faced their challenge with the help of their mentors, professors from GEA College, and the management of Skaza. At the end the jury chose the best group and the best student.

The winner was the group that created their own product, a sink in which we not only wash our hands but can also dry them off. »They had an idea which is not completely unknown in the market, but they adapted it and made it more contemporary so that it truly stood out. They prepared a business plan, carried out market research, and priced it appropriately. They were the only group that even made a product prototype which was very complex and also included electronics. They assembled the sink in the garage of the father of one of the group members,« said the director of business development for Skaza, David Čeplak. The best members of the winning team were Maja Novak and Aleks Munda, who got a 3-month paid apprenticeship in the company Skaza.

The best individual student was selected by the jury on the basis of a personal interview with the 13 candidates who advanced to the second round of the evaluation, their commitment and passion for the project and the effort they dedicated to the project. The first prize, a 4-month paid apprenticeship in Skaza, was won by Tadej Rozenberg: »This project gave me new experience, but I have also made a few mistakes. I have learned a lot and I can’t wait to learn more through my apprenticeship at Skaza. I also want to prove myself there. This experience will certainly benefit me in the future.« First and foremost, Tadej won because of his exceptional creativity and resourcefulness. »We saw creative and technical potential in him for our development department. He is very practical and can offer numerous ideas for products and their realisation. If he does well during his apprenticeship, he will also be interesting for us as an employee in the long-run,« added Čeplak. Skaza presented two students with a year-long mentorship: Alen Pliberšek and Gal Burger.