My NOCCA Experience: Demand for Green Hotels
What happens when a travel industry professional wants to make the world a better place? Well, Casper Suovalo rolled up his sleeves and participated in NOCCA hackathon. His goal was to find team mates with whom he could work on his business idea: a market place for environmentally friendly hotels.
Why did you participate in NOCCA?
The California wildfires in summer 2020 got me thinking that I want to do something for this Earth. Although I wanted to pitch in, first I needed a team to get my idea of market place for green certified hotels actually going. When Jari Luomakoski told us about NOCCA hackathon during Haaga-Helia’s entrepreneurial business course, I knew it would be a great way to do that.
How would you describe your NOCCA experience?
The 4-day NOCCA Online Hackathon was super intense! Before the event, I didn’t know what a pitch deck was but it was a great tool to learn. It’s such an essential part of startup world whether you want to present your business idea to possible investors, future team mates or media. It was great to learn how to showcase your business idea professionally.
Initially I wasn’t too excited about the online aspect of the event. As I didn’t see anyone’s facial expressions when I presented my idea, I wondered if anyone was interested about it. However, everything went really smoothly working remotely and I got three people joining my team.
The greatest thing in the hackathon was to deep-dive into a problem and create a solution for it with your team. Step by step, we built our pitch deck at a very high pace to present our idea. It went well! Our team came in second.
A special shout out to Jari and also Namrata Sethi who were so supportive and helped us to take next steps with our business idea after the hackathon!
What’s the current status of your business idea?
We, my business partner Mari Tuomisto whom I met at the hackathon and I, continue to work on to build a market place for hotels with environmentally friendly certificates such as Green Key or Joutsenmerkki. A lot has happened after the NOCCA Hackathon!
Currently, three Haaga-Helian business students are doing their bachelor thesis related to our business idea. There are already a few green market places for hotels in Europe but their customer experience is poorly designed which translates into low visiting rates on those sites. We’re not afraid of the competition, because we have what they don’t: passion!
Through NOCCA, we got in NewCo Accelator program to further develop our business idea. We’re also looking for a technical support so that we can integrate hotels’ reservation systems to our market place. As it isn’t a great time to start a new business in the traveling industry due to corona, we’re planning to get our business up and running in 2023.
What would you say to someone who is planning to participate in NOCCA?
You should absolutely join! No university teaches things like this, it’s a really unique way to learn and create something new. It will be super intense but the most rewarding thing is that you can choose what you want to develop and find team mates to do that with you.
Join NOCCA to start your entrepreneurial adventure
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