The Innovator’s Challenge

case competition


The “Innovator’s Challenge” – the case competition at MEWeek and GEW Maastricht, aims at solving complex company challenges with entrepreneurial solutions. Organised in the format of a hackathon, students are challenged to come up with innovative solutions to the proposed challenge within a short period of time.

The competition – how it works 

1. The company presents the Challenge

The hosting company will present the challenge and the necessary material needed to solve it on the challenge day. A few days in advance the MEWeek team will send you a few preparatory documents and guidelines to get you started.

2. Team Spirit

You will be mingled with 3-5 persons in one team. You will be given 5 hours to work together and come up with an innovative solution to the challenge. Use your team player spirit in order to form a cohesive team that will do the best to solve the proposed challenge! You’ll have to overcome communication, coordination and inter-cultural barriers in order to agree on a common solution of the challenge.

3. Pitch your solution

After the working sessions you will have to pitch your solution in front of a jury formed by company representatives.

4. Win

At the end of the program the jury announces the winner team.

The winners will be rewarded with certificates from the MC4E and in-kind prizes.

All students will receive a certificate of participation on behalf of MC4E.

Day program 


09:00   Registration

09:30   Company presentation and Q&A

10:00   Groups break-out and working session

12:30   Lunch

13:30   Working session – continued

16:00   Pitches of solutions

17:30   Winners announcement


Group registration is possible! Just mention the name of your teammates on the registration form. 


Previous editions


Delivered an innovative and sustainable fundraising model which Unicef now uses in their worldwide campaigns, impacting the lives of millions of children around the world.


UNICEF provides long-term humanitarian and developmental assistance to children in developing countries. UNICEF NL has a long history of raising funds for their good cause. It has an innovative track record: it was the first NGO that initiated a structural membership, the first with a sponsored run (UNICEF Loop) and the first with a fundraising TV-show (TV-show of Ivo Niehe). The organisation faced challenges in recruiting young supporters and donators particularly in the age of 18-40 years.




Students were asked to develop new, innovative solutions for UNICEF NL in order to spur growth in the segment of young adults. They suggested new market offerings, new collaborations, new ways to approach potential new supporters, how to collect donations, and new ways manage different customer segments within the organization.




In advising new solutions, students made use of design-thinking methods they learned through a preparatory workshop with Make Sense Maastricht.

Provided a business model which included partnerships with European entrepreneurial centers in order to expand their business in the vacant Sphinx building in Maastricht.


The Student Hotel is expanding rapidly in Europe with a concept that provides everything under one roof for the young and the young at heart. Within the next five years The Student Hotel expects to have over 20 locations in leading university cities such as Milan, Eindhoven, Maastricht, Florence, Edinburgh, Berlin and London.




Recent trends show

  • increased efforts of universities and cities to develop and grow professionally run start-up and entrepreneurship centers,
  • an increased demand from local start-up centers and young entrepreneurs to book rooms and facilities at The Student Hotel during intense project phases,
  • and opportunities to partner with local incubator centers to locate them near or within the buildings of The Student Hotel (shop-in-shop)




The hope of the Student Hotel was to have a local entrepreneurship center located in or next to the historic building where they would establish their new location in Maastricht- the vacant Sphinx building. 

In order to optimize the proposition, The Student Hotel was eager to explore ways to connect entrepreneurship centers with its European counterparts and support their growth.




Students provided a framework for such a model with a sustainable business concept underlying it, including: 

  • marketing strategies targeting students & professionals
  • legal & financial considerations
  • strategic collaborations (complementary business models)
  • shared facilities and services (meeting rooms, teleconference centers, etc)
  • satellite offices (WTC-model)
  • Strategic leverage of experience and talent within incubators through The Student Hotel


Provided a sustainable business plan for local refugees from Maastricht to startup their own enterprises and integrate economically and culturally in the region.




The refugee crisis is a major issue in many places around the world. In Europe we notice the impact it has in the southern countries like Greece and Italy, as well as in northern countries like Germany or the UK. In the Netherlands the refugee crisis is also an important topic which local and national authorities are trying to find solutions for.




Teaming up with Enactus Maastricht, Refugee Project Maastricht, and Centraal Opvang Asielzoekers, Maastricht University has sponsored this Challenge to propose an innovative and sustainable plan to encourage and empower local refugees to start-up new businesses in and around Maastricht.




The winning team, spontaneously named “The Octopus team” have come up with a solution which involved a two-step action plan. The first step consisted of selecting highly skilled and more experienced refugees with higher education and background in entrepreneurship. These would be provided with a multi-dimensional and comprehensive training in order to empower them to start their own ventures. During step two, these refugees would contribute to developing the skills and education for those refugees that did not qualify for the initial selection round.





Developed a model for a collective sales platform through which (fashion) designers from Maastricht and the Euregio can promote and sell their products as part of the FFH vision and program.




Forza Fashion House Maastricht is the place where knowledge, creativity, and entrepreneurship are connected as of the beginning of 2017. This is a unique meeting and production place for fashion and creativity, located on the 2nd floor of the LAB-building in the new cultural, and creative heart of Maastricht: The Radium | Sphinxkwartier.




Besides providing a future collective workspace, and connecting the chain, (upcoming) designers are also able to learn more about the areas that are vital to keep a fashion business working, focusing on entrepreneurship, marketing, and inspiration for the creative mind. At FFH (graduate) creative talent will receive personal guidance to become economically sustainable businesses with a distinctive personal signature. FFH aims to become a knowledge centre, and creative accelerator where the collective is as important as the individual, and where rising local, national, and international talent can develop into creative entrepreneurs.




The FFH faced the issue that there was a lack of ‘entrepreneurial gene’ in the current community of designers, which hampered its efforts to successfully guide them towards economically sustainable businesses and to develop the creative hub into an effective business. In tackling this problem, FFH asked for solutions for a model for a (collective) sales platform through which future (fashion) designers from Maastricht and the Euregio could promote and sell their products, as part of the Forza Fashion House Maastricht vision and program.




The six competing teams which were formed by 5 students each proposed daring plans to build new commercial platforms. If you want to find out which plan got implemented, stay updated on the FFH website.


Be our partner! 

Would you like to engage and work with students and organize a Challenge for your company/ organisation? Send us a message and we’ll get in touch. 
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