Despite being tired from their trip, Silva and Offner had returned from Austria on Monday 27 September, the two had a smile on their faces. They won the bronze medal in the "Entrepreneurship/business development team challenge" category at Euroskills, the European Skills Competition.
"There were even a few tears" when the result was announced, admits Ivo Silva. "It was stressful for three days, we gave it our all. We had the ambition to win, but we are very happy to be on the podium, because the level was very high." Ten teams competed in the category. This category is not included in the 38 countries that are taken into account for the calculation of medals per country, hence the absence of Luxembourg in the general ranking. This is because it is one of the ten "host presentation skills", organised for the first time and by the host country.
In all, ten Luxembourgers took part in the Euroskills in Graz in various categories. They had been preselected following a review of their CVs and presentation videos. The result was announced on 23 April, after which they were able to train with their coaches. They competed against 300 young people from 20 European countries between 22 and 26 September.
Intergenerational education through housing
Silva and Offner already knew that the competition would be about one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, but did not know which one. They decided to focus on quality education, and more specifically on "how the elderly can learn from the young and the young from the elderly,” says Ivo Silva. Together with his teammate, they thought of a problem that is well established in the grand duchy: "the skyrocketing price of real estate". For three days, they devised a platform so that young students, or those returning from their studies, could stay with elderly people looking for company or simply "a new challenge in their lives". The young people can also help them develop their online skills, "for example online banking".
In addition to coming up with the idea, the team had to think about the business plan and marketing strategy before presenting it to the jury.
A project to be realised?
The two youngsters just have to try to make the project a reality in the grand duchy. "I believe that this could be the case. We will talk about it more seriously and in more detail," notes Silva.
This is not the duo's first entrepreneurial victory. In 2020, they were part of the winning team in the Mini-Business of the Year competition. They have continued to sell local baskets, and their "FrëschKëscht" has since become a limited company. It does not have a complete annual balance sheet at the moment, but it had already exceeded €300,000 in turnover in a few months during the competition. The range of products has been expanded, as have the services, with the possibility of personalising the basket for dry products.
They continue to run the business, having just started their first year at university, one in economics and the other in psychology. "It takes time, sometimes we have less sleep than others, but we enjoy it. After his studies, Silva dreams of being an entrepreneur. "I had already done that as a child. I tried selling grapes when I was eight years old," he laughs. "I always wanted to have my own project.
Their third place on the podium did not earn them any financial support. But congratulations from education minister Claude Meisch (DP) and middle class minister Lex Delles (DP). And a new line on their CV.
This article was originally published in Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.