IConnect

Our Idea

Who are we?

Team of Nigerians, Chinese and Indian with living and studing experience in Calgary, customer service and background in petroleum engineering.

What are we offering?

IConnect: A website for students from Nigeria, India and China to get information, settle down, connect and find opportunities in Calgary.

Who are we offering it to?

Initially we focus on students from Nigeria, India and China (around 700) who are new to the UofC and have no relatives or friends. We then plan on expanding our borders to newcomers of the city.

Why does that person care?

The preson wishes to have someone guiding him through everything so that he his aware that he is doing the right thing.

We can interact with the university on their behalf.

Our distinctive competencies

  • Connect with a few travel agents in home countries.

Using WIX to make a prototype

  • Experienced experts to design our website
  • Offering personal communication with seasoned personels
  • Designers understand new comers’ confusing situation.

The substitutes & alternatives

  • Google
  • Social media
  • Travel agents
  • ISS

Our Pitch

The Key Personas and the Value They See

Key persona: Sharon #International Student

  • They care because: Lonely and seek for information (university, bus route, bank card…) to enable them settle quickly.
  • Our offering: An intergrated information platform and 1 on 1 help service.

Key persona; Charmina #Local people

  • They care because: Want to make new friends; want to help others; earn award points to get present/voucher
  • Our promise: all kinds of gifts/vouchers/coupons to redeem

Key persona: International Student Centre/Students association

They care because:We also want to help new students coming to UC, if this website can help those students, we would like to recommend it to our students

Our promise to them: Save times, better lives

Your feedback and ideas

Feedback on our idea and your assessment of it are incredibly important. Please provide yours below.

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9 Comments

  1. Customer (C)

    7

    Value proposition (VP)

    5

    Substitutes & alternatives (SA)

    0

    People (P) on the team

    8

    Offering (O)

    7

    Distinctive competencies (DC)

    5

    Who you are offering this to (newcomers from India, Nigeria, and China) does not match up with your distinctive competencies (connections with a few travel agents in home countries), and does not line up with the persona of tourist or local person. Having a travel agent in China is great, but won’t be able to provide you with the same feedback as if you had travel agent connections in Calgary. I don’t see an incentive for locals to participate, and if they want to there are many organizations that help with that in an in-person context (IAESTE, hostels, meetups etc.)

    Additionally, as someone who in some way could match any of your personas for a different place, I would say that the information I would look for as a tourist is SIGNIFICANTLY different than the information I would look for as someone coming to live here. A travel agent will also focus on touristy information, and tends to be geared towards the interests of an older traveler (guided tours vs hiking up random mountains). As someone who travels a lot, I look for the interesting but not mainstream activities, especially if I’m to live in a place for a while. Therefore, I would be looking for information on things like: how does recycling work, where do I buy bus tickets, how to pay taxes etc. The combination of this information and the “go to Banff” seems a lot like the “everyone is my customer”

  2. Customer (C)

    9

    Value proposition (VP)

    7

    Substitutes & alternatives (SA)

    6

    People (P) on the team

    7

    Offering (O)

    8

    Distinctive competencies (DC)

    8

    I like your idea and you did a good job explaining why it is valuable. There were a couple things that weren’t clear to me though.

    It’s not clear to me what your business model is. Do the international students pay a fee? Are there advertisements on the website?

    I’m also not sure how your business finds the local people that help, Are they people that your business chooses, or can anyone sign up to do it? I think you would have to be careful if you let anyone sign up, because they may give bad information or just give minimal effort so they can get rewards.

    I think you should provide more detail about the substitutes and alternatives. Explain how difficult it is to get the same information if someone just uses google or another alternative.

    Overall I think you have a great idea, but there were a couple things that I think you should clarify on this page or include in your pitch.

  3. Customer (C)

    9

    Value proposition (VP)

    8

    Substitutes & alternatives (SA)

    4

    People (P) on the team

    7

    Offering (O)

    8

    Distinctive competencies (DC)

    7

    I really liked your presentation. It had lots of great visuals that made it easy to follow along. One thing that was still confusing to me after I went through your idea page/pitch is the substitutes and alternatives section. I can see where you’re going with it but I think you need to elaborate more.

    Another thing I find myself asking is: what would stop someone else from implementing this? I can see this idea as highly feasible and highly impactful so if this gets popular enough, a large company may just dominate the space. I understand that you guys have a diverse ethnic background and have experience with website creation, but what else? Maybe try to look for a sponsor to really gain a competitive advantage.

    Overall, this idea is quite clever and I can see it being popular.

  4. Customer (C)

    8

    Value proposition (VP)

    8

    Substitutes & alternatives (SA)

    7

    People (P) on the team

    6

    Offering (O)

    7.5

    Distinctive competencies (DC)

    7

    I like this idea since i myself am an international student and i didnt have any contacts or relatives in calgary to help me with the moving process.
    Try to focus on students or immigrants (because you mentioned a tourist in you personas which widens the customer base..)
    Focus on people on your team and on your strategy to prevent any other website from stealing your idea or copying it

  5. Customer (C)

    9

    Value proposition (VP)

    8

    Substitutes & alternatives (SA)

    4

    People (P) on the team

    7.5

    Offering (O)

    8

    Distinctive competencies (DC)

    5

    I like that you’re turning personal experiences into opportunity. That always gets me jazzed.

    Why just Calgary? If successful here, would you plan to expand to other cities/universities?

    ISS would be a good partner, as they’re an obvious touchpoint for incoming international students, but what would be their incentive for driving clients to use your service? What services do you provide that you do not? At first glance they seem like a pretty attractive, free substitute. Tell me what holes their service has and why they can’t just implement your features as you come out with them.

    I would focus in on students and leave tourists for now. Focusing allows the branding to become tighter and the value prop to be honed further. Also, tourists can get connected with eager locals for free through sites like couchsurfing.com and even dating sites (bumble has a friend feature and tinder is often used to ‘hack’ travel). Why are students from Nigeria, India and China not using these channels? (Not a criticism, just something I think is worth addressing in the pitch if there’s a strong answer to that question).

    I liked that you addressed your backgrounds as petroleum engineers and recognized that expanding the team to include experts in web design will be necessary.

    Is a subscription fee something YOU would have paid as a potential client, or are there other ways to monetize this? I’m notoriously cheap, so subscription fees always need to be really well justified to me.

    I would lean harder on the connections to travel agents abroad to strengthen your DCs. Do you have connections with specific agents already? How many of their clients are students? What incentive can you offer agents to promote your product?

  6. Customer (C)

    6.3

    Value proposition (VP)

    6.2

    Substitutes & alternatives (SA)

    6.3

    People (P) on the team

    6.3

    Offering (O)

    6.3

    Distinctive competencies (DC)

    6.2

    Hope to see more functions in the future.

  7. Customer (C)

    9

    Value proposition (VP)

    7

    Substitutes & alternatives (SA)

    7

    People (P) on the team

    7

    Offering (O)

    8

    Distinctive competencies (DC)

    7

    This is really a good idea which can offer a lot of people help. But I don’t know how will you make money? Is it non-profit? Also, how can you find the local people to help you? Will you pay them money or rewards (which kind)? How can you spread your website among the people is also important. People need to know your website then they can visit you, cooperate with uni/ISS is a good idea. Better focusing on students or immigrants, you can’t do everything for everyone.

  8. Customer (C)

    7

    Value proposition (VP)

    8

    Substitutes & alternatives (SA)

    6

    People (P) on the team

    7

    Offering (O)

    8

    Distinctive competencies (DC)

    5

    I think the idea itself is really great and I feel if I was an international student coming here there would be a high chance of me checking this out. I think the substitutes and alternatives portion of the pitch needs work as that was not really made clear to me during the pitch and that can be focused on to improve it. Also my critique for this pitch is that I don’t really think there is a big distinctive competency here and there is not really anything that stops others with similar backgrounds in stealing this idea.

  9. Customer (C)

    9

    Value proposition (VP)

    9

    Substitutes & alternatives (SA)

    7

    People (P) on the team

    9

    Offering (O)

    9

    Distinctive competencies (DC)

    7

    I really enjoy your pitch and the visuals really added to your delivery – good job!

    One component of your venture that I feel can be improved is your distinctive competencies. The multinational backgrounds are definitely a plus, but is there any other way you can ensure no one else mimics your idea? Perhaps you can establish a connection with ISS instead of just mentioning them as a substitute/alternative. If you can convince the audience that you have sought a partnership with ISS and they have agreed to back your idea and help implement it, I think this would provide you guys with a strong edge.