Top Student Entrepreneurs #3
Top Student Entrepreneurs #3
12 February, 2016
Hopefully you've already had a chance to read our interviews with Jessica Chan and Stan Jallot, two successful student entrepreneurs at the University of Warwick. Today we bring you our third and final interview, this time with Filip Nilsson who has design and produced his own board game! Instant Impact Brand Ambassador Lynn Hamadallah met with Filip to find out more...
Filip Nilsson, Founder of Västerviksspelet
What is your business idea?
I launched a board game for my home city of Västervik in Sweden, named Västerviksspelet ('the game of Västervik'). The board game combines mechanisms from various popular games with a range of my own ideas, making for a really engaging design. Essentially local firms can buy-in to be present in the game, while the players enjoy seeing local landmarks such as town squares, churches, and town halls appear in the game. Generating revenue is achieved in two ways: Firstly, through local companies paying an ‘advertisement’ fee to be featured, and secondly through selling the physical game itself.
Where did you get this idea from?
I found that people around me wanted more and more local products and, as I really enjoy playing board games myself, I thought the concept would work well. I asked around and people were generally positive to the idea of having a board game with a recognition-factor, and then it just kind of took off from there!
What were the important considerations you had to take before setting it up?
Obviously, as I partly used other existing game-mechanisms there was the issue of copyright. My former Business Studies teacher put me in touch with an intellectual property lawyer who provided more insight into this particular issue.
Production was also a major consideration; both in terms of cost and sourcing a supplier. I reached out to supplier agents covering China while also contacting numerous domestic firms. This came down to making a ‘cost-quality-delivery-security’ trade off, and I ultimately opted to produce the game domestically.
Another key issue was design, as I had no experience or knowledge in this (and don’t really consider myself the creative kind). I reached out to a local design agency who agreed to do the full design in return for presence in the game.
How did you actually put it into practice?
Getting the business from idea stage to actual launch took about 2 years. During the school year I worked mostly with the concept and game-mechanism itself. During the summer I reached out to companies and retailers, trying to secure funding and distribution channels. It could have been completed within one year but was delayed as the designs took longer than expected and I wanted to hold out for a pre-Christmas launch.
I run the business myself but my friends really helped me to come up with ideas. It was certainly challenging to run production, design, financing, sales etc. all by myself but by working late evenings and weekends I could balance the business with my studies.
As you’d expect, money was an issue at the beginning. I did manage to secure a £5,000 bank loan and also pushed for pre-payment from all featured corporates, which allowed me to meet the up-front costs set by the production company.
What stage has your business now reached?
The business is still running but plays a more passive role in my life. As the game is a limited edition production, the scope for expanding to new cities is limited. During the first year it generated revenue of £26,000 while today instead provides useful ‘pocket-money’!
What did you learn from this experience and what would you recommend to other aspiring student entrepreneurs?
It’s been a very broad experience covering everything from supplier negotiation, distribution arrangements and commission negotiation, liaising between the manufacturer and the design agency while also pitching executives for funding. By far it’s the most rewarding and developing experience I’ve had in my life as of yet.
One important thing to remember is all of this would never have been possible if it wasn’t for me reaching out to people with more knowledge. Remember to test your waters often and don’t be afraid to take a deep-dive once in a while (I did and the reward was incredible). Just get out there and try it out - especially when you have the ‘young entrepreneur’ card to play for!
If Filip's experience has inspired you to find out more about Start-ups, then head over to our blog where you'll find lots more useful content. Even better, you could submit an application to our Student Summer Internship Programme and bag yourself a paid internship at one of the UK's hottest Start-ups!
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