The INTACT Story
Startup from Malta wins European Challenge in Helsinki with INTACT, an innovative system to increase safety for motorcyclists.
The European Enterprise challenge hosted this year by JA Finland gathered 19 Startups from 15 countries in Helsinki. University students who took part in the ‘Start Up Programme’ were competing and presenting their start-ups to a selected jury.
The main Award was presented to a student team from Saint Martin’s Institute of Higher Education in Malta. They impressed the jury with their INTACT system, a technology enhancing safety for motorcyclists. Impact sensors installed in the rider’s helmet are connected to a smartphone app that automatically alerts emergency services and relatives, providing the location once a collision is detected.
“Winning the award is overwhelming, it happens once in a lifetime. From the beginning we wanted to have a positive impact on society and our focus was to improve safety for motorcyclists on the road. Participating in the JA Startup programme was a practical experience of our studies in entrepreneurship. We learned team work, how the real business works and how to present our company. We’re going to keep on working on our system for further success”, said INTACT member Katryna Briffa.
The INTACT team consists of five student members, Stephen Mintoff, Katryna Briffa, Nicole Cassar, Sam Hoiles and Erika Galea mentored by Charles Theuma, Dylan Seychell, Sue Wallbank and Mark Pizzuto. It is the very first time that a Maltese team has ever won the European Start-Up Competition.
Every year, the Startup programme engages over 14,000 students from 300 centres of higher learning, giving them the opportunity to experience running a business from top to bottom. Supporting European goals of improving youth employability and the start-up ecosystem, the programme fosters key competences to ensure that students are prepared for success after university. They gain key understanding in self-employment, business creation, risk-taking and coping with adversity, all with the support of experienced business volunteers.
“It was extraordinary to see so many talented young people. I’m so grateful to JA Europe and JA Finland for inviting me as a keynote speaker and jury member in this competition. These companies not only know how to run a business, but they also want to make money, help a lot of people, and most importantly have a lot of fun”, said jury member David Meltzer, CEO & Co-Founder of Sports 1 Marketing.
The European Enterprise Challenge is supported by businesses who awarded the competing startup with signature Awards. Local partners in Finland included Microsoft, Nordea and Roschier. INTACT won the Roschier Client in Focus Signature Award. At European level, the NN Social Innovation Award was presented to the Spanish team who developed Light, a mobile application encouraging people to be more sustainable in their daily lives through gamification and smart city systems. The Visa Award for Connected Commerce rewarded City Check an app with a customizable family game that allows you to play various games while visiting a city.
“Visa has a long standing commitment to entrepreneurial education. Our partnership with JA Europe at this year’s European Enterprise Challenge in Helsinki has given us a fabulous opportunity to hear from the young start-ups and talented entrepreneurs from across Europe who are helping to shape a culture of innovation. We are delighted to recognise City Check with the Visa Award for Connected Commerce, and look forward to meeting the team again when they visit London for a mentoring session with our innovation experts”,said Anthony Craufurd, Director, Venture, Visa.
The Jury members were;
• Hans Daems, Group Public Affairs Officer, Hitachi Europe
• Max Mickelsson, Director Government Affairs, Microsoft Finland
• David Meltzer, Chief Executive Officer, Co-Founder, Sports 1 Marketing
• Sari Suono, Chief People & Culture Officer, ISS Palvelut
• Cristian Gheorghe, Managing Partner, Nexus Consulting
• Laurent Roux, Entrepreneurship Officer, European Institute of Innovation & Technology
• Joonas Ahola, CEO & Co-founder, Meetingpackage.com
The Junior Achievement Young Enterprise Start-Up Competition Malta (May 2017)
INTACT attained their right to represent Malta after winning the Start-Up Competition competing among nine teams from different Universities. The process was spread over seven months, with the setting up of the team happening in October 2016.
During the initial weeks, the team brainstormed their concept and whilst immediately focusing on the development of a safety product for bikers, they went after an inflatable vest that is triggered through the electronics on the bike sensing a collision or a skid. One process after another, testing for feasibility and competitors, carrying out a detailed market appraisal declared that the product required some fine tuning until the current INTACT system was developed.
The learning curve was substantially steep since all five students are on their first year of their undergraduate degree in international business. The programme of studies they are following spans the whole cycle, but these students had to literally grasp the concepts in the classroom and adopt it quickly by testing their idea and follow it through. This is what has made the INTACT team so special — the cohesion between team members, including mentors and teachers, has meant that the chores that needed to be done were done and to the highest possible standards.
The NEXT step for INTACT
The next step is to take the product to market. The team will now start a process to attract the necessary equity funding, and build a fully functional prototype to test on the Maltese roads. The technology is being protected and the company established. INTACT is on its way!
Saint Martin’s Institute of Higher Education
Saint Martin’s Institute of Higher Education believes that students will only be able to improve themselves through challenges on an international level. Apart from the pegging of our curriculum to that of the internationally renowned University of London, with students from 187 Countries sitting for the same examinations, Saint Martin’s wants to assure that apart from the academic prowess students must possess the skills and the confidence to face challenges of an international nature, meet people outside Malta, and face entrepreneurs and businessmen who have made it big.
We profess that wealth generation culminates from individuals who are able to share ideas and have different talents to achieve mutual benefits. INTACT have married high technology to business acumen, learning how to take inspiration from a negative trend in Malta to build a start-up that has attracted the attention of two juries, in Malta and Helsinki.
Saint Martin’s Institute of Higher Education is proud of the achievement of INTACT and looks forward to further challenges in future. The Institute invites you to visit us and check whether you have the potential to reach such heady heights. Watch this space!