Who needs plastic when you can use a material which is both stronger and biodegradable. With the creation of a material which has human hair as its principle ingredient, Rotterdam Partners and its team smote the competition in the Rotterdam 100 final which took place on Tuesday afternoon. Rotterdam 100 is an entrepreneurial case competition molded on the ‘Get in the ring’ format in which candidates pitch their ideas inside a boxing ring.

Team captain Shamai Cohen, master student of Spatial, Transport and Environmental Economics at VU Amsterdam, felt wonderful when his Rotterdam Partners team was announced winner of the competition. “We knew we had a great idea and it feels great.” smiled Shamai, “Before the competition started, I’d paced on the ring that is our stage for the day, to have a feeling of what it would be like. I was pretty nervous at the beginning. I would recommend this experience to anybody though. You get the support you need to fulfill your ideas like nowhere else.”

Group photo Rdam 100
The winners are awarded by the mayor and judges

The teams had three months to come up with the ‘next economy’ idea. Shamai and his team came up with a material which is sustainable and efficient and it’s made of human hair. On the ring, Shamai addressed the fact that many people might find the idea gross. To this, the team responded that it’s time to be open minded and embrace innovation.

On the ring

The ring was set up in the area outside the Aula in the Erasmus building of Campus Woudestein. Music resembling a heartbeat was played contributing to the atmosphere, smoke guns were also used as competitors were announced on the ring. The format of this competition sees four groups battling each other out on a ring while pitching their analysis and solution for the duration of five rounds. At the end of it all, five judges decide who presented the most innovative idea.

All teams dueled with no reserves, not sparing stingy comments to the opponents nor giving in to the tension depicted on their faces. The crowd equally cheered for both sides, although guests made up their minds on who their favourite was. Nienke Simons is an Arts and Culture student and she preferred the idea presented by the Port of Rotterdam’s team. “I found their solution of creating a dashboard to regulate the traffic at the mouth of the port very practical and needed. I live next to the harbour and every day I see boats stopping and waiting for hours. Their solution could resolve this issue.”

Visionary ways

Mayor Aboutaleb
Mayor Aboutaleb giving his speech

Before the winner was crowned, the mayor of Rotterdam, Ahmed Aboutaleb, said a few words. Aboutaleb reflected on the need of innovation to steer the economy forward, declaring that visionary ways of thinking are needed to revive the economy. The co-host could not contain himself from campaigning for the mayor as he is considering running for Prime Minister, as awkwardness hovered over the crowd.

The winning team won the chance to develop their idea with the current partners, moreover the team will be joining the international final of Get in the Ring as well as receiving a letter of recommendations from the mayor himself.