In early 2021, the Project Development Division of the South-East Finland – Russia 2014-2020 Cross-Border Cooperation (CBC) Program launched a course in project management titled PM School 2021 as part of its Startup Connect project. The school’s program consisted of online lectures, teamwork, testing, and working on projects. At the end, the school’s participants presented the results of their work.   

“The project management school was a success, that’s for sure,” says one of the school's speakers, Igor Kuprienko. “The presented projects have received some criticism from our experts but nevertheless, they are elaborate and have prospects for future growth.”

Igor Kuprienko
Igor Kuprienko

A total of 80 people applied for participation but only 40 most strong and motivated ones were admitted to the course. However, by the middle of the school, only 25 participants remained. According to the organizers, this was caused by the fact that many of them couldn’t keep up with the course, as classes at ITMO University were moved offline and their schedules intersected with the school. Overall, seven teams have reached the finals. ITMO.NEWS asked two participants of the school who have completed the entire course and presented their projects about their experience.

Elizaveta Kobets, leader of team EcoSystem

Our team worked on an idea for the project in ecology. We were analyzing if it’s possible to develop, implement, and launch a local solution for recycling on the premises of existing waste facilities in different parts of the city, as well as to create a Smart Waste Cistern (SWC) for paper and cardboard processing.

During our study at PM School, we conducted various types of analytical work, receiving results and helpful feedback, tips, recommendations, and extra tasks from the experts. This allowed us to apply our knowledge while working on our current projects and also share our experience with colleagues from the side projects we’re engaged in.

Elizaveta Kobets
Elizaveta Kobets

The main thing is, we gained knowledge and practical experience that is undoubtedly both valuable and in demand – there were nine weeks of specialized studying in project management conducted in English. Most importantly, this knowledge allows us to improve our projects further, present them to investors or potential customers, be ready for their strict expertise, start our sales, and scale up the project.

Anton Voskresensky, TELEGRAM-BOT project

During the school, our team has been engaged with the creation of an app to help fight stress and burnout. While working on our project, we conducted the analysis of our competitors and concluded that we need to focus on B2B, as this niche isn’t occupied by major companies. We also created a prototype of the app – a Telegram bot.

The lecturers became a part of our team – that’s how deeply they were involved in the challenges we had to face and helped us see our project from an investor’s point of view. I really loved the way our classes were focused on practice and achieving results.

Anton Voskresensky
Anton Voskresensky

The materials we came up with during the school can be used for applying for funding as part of the START-1 program. Our team will continue to work on the project and we hope to receive funding and launch it.

Prospects

According to the organizers, the first launch of the school was successful. That’s why in the future, they plan to continue their work and enroll new students.

“Next year, the project management school will take place internationally, and a year after that it should be able to become self-funded,” says Igor Kuprienko.

The Startup Connect project is funded by the European Union, the Russian Federation, and the Republic of Finland as part of the South-East Finland – Russia 2014-2020 Cross-Border Cooperation (CBC) Program.

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