MBA Program

WHU Entrepreneurship Roundtable meets Startup Week Dusseldorf

The MBA student club hosts a workshop for Dusseldorf’s start-up scene

On Monday, May 22, the MBA student club WHU Entrepreneurship Roundtable (ER) held an interactive workshop focused on “Rapid Prototyping with No-Code Tools” at WHU Campus Dusseldorf.

As the very first of more than 100 workshops and presentations, the ER workshop kicked off the Startup Week Dusseldorf, a week-long event series initiated annually by the city of Dusseldorf in collaboration with the local “Wirtschaftsförderung” (business development) and numerous corporate partners. The Startup Week Dusseldorf, which brings together solo entrepreneurs, startups, SMEs, and large corporations, aims to foster a strong local entrepreneurial network and boost the city’s startup ecosystem.

During the workshop, participants were given a crash course in building prototypes for digital products without any prior knowledge of programming. “We wanted to become involved in the Startup Week Dusseldorf, and I had the idea to present a workshop around prototyping”, says ER board member Edwin Maldonado (Part-Time MBA 2024) who led the workshop. “Many entrepreneurs think that they must have a perfect product before pitching it to potential users, founders, and investors, but often they don’t have the time and the funds to create it (yet). The truth is: it’s not about having a perfect product. It’s about having a great idea and being able to show how this idea can be realized to start getting customer's feedback. That’s why the concept of prototyping is so useful to entrepreneurs.”

Edwin knows what he’s talking about. A software engineer by training, he not only has extensive experience in software engineering and programming, but also entrepreneurial knowledge. Originally from Guatemala, he worked for numerous start-up companies in Guatemala, Chile, and the United States before moving to Berlin in 2017. He has launched his own start-up and he has accompanied start-up companies from their early stages on to becoming successful enterprises and eventually being acquired by larger companies. He has witnessed some start-ups succeed and others fail. Currently, Edwin works as Product Manager for the tech company Puppet by Perforce.

The prototyping workshop was a huge success: “It was sold out quickly. People from the local start-up community, small and large companies, and across business functions and levels attended our event. Some WHU students also participated. We are extremely happy about the outstanding evaluations we received in terms of the workshop content and the presenter, but also the set-up and the food”, says Viswanadh (Vishi) Gowtham Arigela (Full-Time MBA 2023), who is currently chairing the board of the student club. “We put a lot of effort into the organization of the event, as we wanted to ensure that people have a great experience not only at the workshop but at WHU as a whole. We are very thankful for the support we received from our event sponsors, the WHU alumni association In Praxi and our corporate sponsor, Dentons. My fellow board members, Alexandra Moreno and Shuang Wu, also helped during the event and ensured that everything went smoothly.”

Edwin, Alexandra, and Vishi

Vishi is a scientist with a background in materials engineering who currently pursues his MBA in the Full-Time MBA Program. He was drawn to WHU by its reputation and its strong focus on entrepreneurship. “That’s why I chose to become involved in the WHU Entrepreneurship Roundtable. As the chair of board, I’m taking on responsibility, which helps me ensure that I stay active and engaged. I know from experience that if you participate in a voluntary organization such as a student club, it’s easy to quickly lose focus, which then has a negative impact on the entire organization. As the chair, I’m 100 % invested in the success of the WHU Entrepreneurship Roundtable.”

“So far, ER has been mainly known for its name-giving annual conference, the WHU Entrepreneurship Roundtable. We want to build on that and make ER not only more visible, but also more useful to people and their entrepreneurial journey. Presenting a workshop at the Startup Week Dusseldorf has been a fantastic opportunity to achieve just that: the “Rapid Prototyping with No-Code Tools” workshop provided a hands-on crash course to testing ideas quickly and cost-effectively. We hope to participate in the Startup Week Dusseldorf again next year, and perhaps even make this an annual event – of course, that will be up to the next board”, he smiles.

“Aside from the prototyping workshop, we’ve been organizing several other events recently, such as the “F***k the Idea” workshop, where people can present their start-up idea to an audience who will then try to criticize and destroy this idea. The goal of this exercise is to prepare the presenters for real-life pitches to potential funders/VCs. We also host a number of online events with different guest speakers throughout the year. With all these events, we hope to make the WHU Entrepreneurship Roundtable even more visible, useful, and ultimately successful.”