On June 14 the final of the Brains Award took place at the Muziekgebouw Eindhoven: the annual contest that challenges students from Eindhoven (MBO, HBO and WO) to come up with innovative, creative and socially relevant ideas or products and present them. Over 20 contestants battled each other and pitched their ideas enthusiastically to the audience. In the end Fontys ICT & Business student Steve Thijssen was awarded the Leefbaarheidsprijs (viability award) Brains Award 2017. With this price (a cheque in value of 3000 euro) he can further develop his concept Guardian. Time for an in-depth interview with this entrepreneurial student.
How did you get selected for the Brains Award 2017?
I saw a call from Brains Awards on Facebook. It is a great contest where you can pitch your concept to a large audience. I have registered for the contest with an explanation and some images, and I got selected to be part of the top 20.
You have won the Viability Award. What kind of prize is this? And why do you think Guardian won this prize?
The Viability Awards concern social problems / concerns we deal with on a daily basis. Guardian is a platform where children can look for help in a simple way in certain situations. Last year there were over 242,000 reports at the Kindertelefoon, a rise of 39,000 reports or 19%, which means something has to be done.
With Guardian organisations can cooperate, so specialisations can be deployed better and more efficient. Guardian offers an solution for a socially growing problem, that I think is why it won the Viability Awards.
Did you expect this prize? Or hoped for?
Most important was to clarify there is a problem and we can tackle this growing problem. I’m very grateful Guardian has won.
Then, your name is being called during the ceremony. What’s happening to you?
Enthusiasm and appreciation for what you have done.
What do you want to do with the money?
Develop the concept and go to San Francisco to work on new developments
You also participated at the ICTalent Awards with Guardian. You didn’t win there. Was it an extra motivation to register for the Brains Awards?
It was not an extra motivation to register for the Brains Awards. I think it is very important as many people as possible see the concept and to present Guardian to a large audience.
Do you feel partaking at the ICTalent Awards and the Brains Award made you think and do bigger?
During the ICTalent Awards Carl Heskes of the CVO approached me with the question to contact hem. Carl helped me with applications and chances for the concept. Because of the ICTalent Awards I have come in contact with new people.
Any suggestions for students who hesitate to register for events like these?
Show it when you have developed something great. Through these events you get in touch with new people, which can only improve your concept.
Steve, congratulations! Good luck with the future of Guardian.