Wij Inholland: Glass Saver
‘A wineglass holder that fits every dishwasher’ is what student Edwin Stark (Business IT & Management) developed together with Wouter Koomen, Patrick Hoorn and David Rietbroek in the Industrial Engineering and Management programme at Inholland Alkmaar. Their Glass Saver, a plexiglass holder, protects wineglasses in the dishwasher.
The Inholland students were given the assignment to market a product as part of the Jong Ondernemen (‘Young Entrepreneurship’) project . Edwin explained that the choice for a wineglass holder was inspired by an idea from team member Wouter. ‘People tend to wash wineglasses by hand because they break in the dishwasher.’ The students' market research confirmed this. Edwin: ‘We surveyed our target group on social media and took to the streets.’
The enterprising students discovered that existing wineglass holders do not offer complete protection in the dishwasher; plus, they are extremely expensive. ‘We went in search of a cheaper alternative’, Edwin said. The Glass Saver is a ‘basket’ with a divider that prevents wineglasses from bumping against each other. The students designed the wineglass holders in an open workshop where they could hire a laser cutting machine. Technically-minded Patrick set to work on the sheets of plexiglass. Once he was finished, the students collectively assembled the wineglass holders.
Business plan as guideline
The Alkmaar students successfully landed various shareholders with the help of their business plan. They raised a total of €1,000 and formed a partnership with Tamis & Vino Via Wijnen. This Alkmaar-based wine importer provided the wineglasses and wooden crates. With Tamis' help, the students put together a variety of gift packs, including one for Christmas. Also, customers could order a holder with two wineglasses (as opposed to just the holder) from the www.glasssaver.nl site.
Promising start to sales
In the meantime, sales have started and the orders are pouring in. The students are busy with production. Edwin: ‘We received an order from a hospital for 70 of our gift packs, in this case the Christmas version. In addition, we're selling at markets, such as the Winterfair one in Alkmaar, and we want to have a stand at the weekly markets in Noord-Holland, too.’
The students have been nominated for the Wij Inholland award 2017. Wij Inholland offers students an opportunity to distinguish themselves with an innovative project. To be eligible, a project must be innovative in relation to one of the following themes: healthy, sustainable or creative. Other criteria require that the project is multidisciplinary, has an added value for the region and that it involves cooperating with a business, institution or municipality. The winning project group will receive help in implementing their project, such as promotional support or access to an extensive network of businesses in various sectors.