Consultancies with Unisinos students for the development of Startups at Unitec
Consultancy at the level of organizational structure and process validation, market mapping, competition matrix, segmentation, marketing, and sales. This is a support that several startups incubated at Unitec have been receiving through a project in partnership with Unisinos, which involves students from the Management for Innovation and Leadership (GIL) course.
The idea came up in a GIL workshop, known as the Formation of New Businesses. According to the professor of Unisinos, Alexandre Pereira, responsible for the teams of consultants, initially, this workshop aimed at modeling a business plan of some idea that the students would like to put into practice. “We were looking for a context where students’ skills could be relevant to contribute to ongoing business development”, explains the professor.
From then on, a partnership with Unitec was formalized, allowing the use of a business modeling methodology that could subsidize the maturation of startups at an early stage. “We want to apply the differentiated capacity of these students of thinking and acting strategically, as oxygenation for the startups of the Technology Park”, points out Pereira. The consultancy is carried out by students from the 7th semester and is part of the Entrepreneurship Axis of the course. Students develop a set of actions over the period to contribute to the development of startups enrolled in the GIL consultancy project. There, companies have the chance to point issues they face, be it processes, product, marketing, or sales.
The methodology applied in the project is based on the book The Startup Owner’s Manual, which establishes a type of checklist in the formation of a Startup. In this sense, the first three meetings are for diagnosis. “From that point on, students use, in line with the base book, tools, and methodologies they learned throughout the course, and after the initial meetings, they go to a level of proposition for improvements and monitoring of startups”, reveals Pereira.
There are currently two classes of Unisinos students: one in São Leopoldo and another in Porto Alegre, totaling 53 consultants working with 9 startups. The distribution of students within groups is composed in a way that allows the mobilization of expertise. Students get together distributing functions, such as marketing, managing, communication, finance, processes, etc. More than 20 startups incubated at Unitec have already participated in the consultancy. The final product is the delivery of a report, with a diagnosis and the action plan for the startup. “The results are under the responsibility of the startup to actually put such actions into practice”, stresses Pereira.
FABA: putting theory into practice
Incubated at Unitec since 2019, the startup Faba, which participates for the third time in the project, understands the initiative as an excellent opportunity to add management techniques to the business. “Executed by highly qualified students and supervised by renowned teachers, the tools employed are cutting edge and the dynamics allow interaction and fluidity of the challenges”, believes Faba’s Food Engineer and Research, Development and Innovation Manager, Frederico Boff Hofstatter.
Consultancies help the startup to identify the niches of activity, as well as the strategic positioning. “The constructions made currently guide our commercial intervention and are the guiding principles for our strategies for operating in the market”, explains Hofstatter.
In the last semester (1/2020), the group became involved with the development of packaging for the product that the company was developing, logo restructuring, exchange of strategic ideas about POS, among other aspects. “At the end of the semester, we had contributed to a real product being on the shelves”, concludes Pereira. For the teacher, this project has great value for GIL students.
For Faba, the first consultancy served to define the profile of its customers, observing the types of stores and mechanisms to increase the relationship with the public, when the startup was in its birth stage. The second consultancy took into account the creation of a persona, establishing a target audience, which directly contributed to the definition of the positioning of the first product. “This consultancy clarified what we really have in our product, MayOh!, the 1st Brazilian mayonnaise 100% made with natural ingredients”, reveals Faba’s Mechanical, Administrative, and Financial Production Engineer, Rodrigo Kayser Schwertner.
In a third step, which started in August this year, the objective was to seek ways to retain and monetize the customer portfolio, such as ranking the portfolio, defining the POS purchase journey, and after-sales strategies. However, now with products already on sale. The changes in the business routine provided by the project optimized several aspects of the startup. In the daily routine of Faba, the consultancy helped to define which sales points needed focus, the strategic positioning of the brand, and also the intervention on social networks. For Rodrigo, the performance in the market is very positive. “We are gaining a lot of space and this is due to the success in the initial relationship strategies and, above all, the positioning of the product”, he concludes.