Local investors walked away with a 60% return on investment from an innovative student company program in Chandigarh this month.
18 hard-working student entrepreneurs from the University of the Fraser Valley—a Canadian university with an offshore location in SD College, Chandigarh—reported the earnings after eight months of intensive manufacturing, marketing, and sales activities.
The product? Fully customizable notebooks and handy bedside organizers under the brand name “Nobizers”.
“Our company was a part of UFV India’s Student Company Program,” notes Varundeep Singh Chadha, the Vice President of Accounts & Finance for Nobizers. “We created the temporary company as a student team under the guidance of UFV India professors and staff.”
Nobizers launched their operations in January with a plan to close the business in August. That meant that the team had only eight months to create a profitable business.
“Our first step was to create a strong team,” reflects Varundeep. “Team-building activities help us build trust between each other and improve our communication skills.”
The team-building challenges, organized by the UFV India Student Life department, also helped train the team to work towards common goals and deal with unexpected problems.
Product development began soon after. “This is the first time in Student Company Program that we pursued in-house production. This helped us cut down costs significantly and contributed to the high return.” says Abhinav Aggarwal who worked in production and inventory management.
As part of the process, the team relied on customer feedback to help improve their products.
“Making our customers happy was our biggest motivation,” says Minoti Kapur, a second year BBA student working on the Nobizers’ marketing team. “We used positive and negative feedback from our customers to make rapid adjustments to our products.”
Strong sales challenged the Nobizers team to work efficiently to meet demand. They relied on a variety of tools to help them communicate and track their sales.
“We used a group communication tool to share order delivery statuses and gain real-time customer feedback,” Varundeep shares. “We also worked extensively on Tally, an accounting and enterprise resource planning tool, which our Finance Manager, Nipun Goel, suggested.”
But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. Monsoon season washed Nobizers June profits away when the team saw heavy rains at an outdoor event in Kalagram.
“Our notebook products were not protected from the rain, so we had to act fast to prevent as much damage as possible,” says Implepreet Sahota, a second year BBA student who helped set-up at the event. “Even though we weren’t able to cover our losses that day, we learned a lot which helped us succeed at other events.”
Multi-disciplinary perspectives help drive the team’s success. Students from UFV’s business (BBA), computer information systems (BCIS), and liberal arts (BA) programs played vital roles in the company. This approach helped the team develop unique ideas and ultimately break the record for the highest earnings per share of any UFV India student company program cohort.
And while Nobizers’ profitability padded the pockets of investors, the student entrepreneurs responsible walked away with invaluable leadership, conflict resolution, and time management skills.
“Being proactive and communicative were among my biggest learnings,” says HR Manager Vanshika Oberoi. “The UFV India Student Company Program is a great ‘test drive’ to see if you are interested in working on a startup.”
Students will have the opportunity to do it all over again in January when the program re-launches for the 2018/19 school year. The UFV India Student Company Program is an integral part of the university’s focus on applied and co-curricular learning.
“My best advice for new Student Company Program participants is to remember that your customer is ‘god’,” says Varundeep. “Treat them like one.”
Congratulations to the entire 2017/18 Student Company Program cohort. Your success is attributed to the contributions of the Nobizer’s team as a whole; however, UFV India Student Life would like to recognize some star performers who went over and above their individual roles and showcased exemplary commitment to the organization: Varundeep Singh Chadha, Abhinav Aggarwal, Gurkirat Singh, Implepreet Kaur Sahota, Minoti Kapur, Navneet Kaur, and Vanshika Oberoi.