Aviator Won the Silver Award in the 7th China International College Students’ Internet+ Innovation & Entrepreneurship Competition Guangdong Province Final.
The 7th China International College Students’ Internet+ Innovation & Entrepreneurship Competition Guangdong Province Final came to a successful conclusion on 12 August 2021. The competition was hosted by the Department of Education of Guangdong Province, United Front Work Department of the Guangdong Provincial Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Cyberspace Administration of Guangdong Provincial Committee of the CCP, Development & Reform Commission of Guangdong Province, Department of Industry & Information Technology of Guangdong Province, Department of Human Resources & Social Security of Guangdong Province, Department of Agriculture & Rural Affairs of Guangdong Province, Market Regulation Administration (Intellectual Property Administration) of Guangdong Province, Rural Revitalization Administration of Guangdong Province, and Guangdong Provincial Committee of the Communist Youth League, organized by Guangzhou University, Guangdong Branch of China Construction Bank, and co-organized by the Employment Promotion Association for Colleges & Universities Graduates in Guangdong Province.
Teams from various universities in Guangdong Province joined in the competition to create sparks of innovation. A total of 300 projects registered in the provincial final (including those with an express ticket to the provincial final), of which, 130 in the category of Higher Education, 80 in the category of "Youth Revolutionary Dream Journey", and 90 in the category of Vocational Education. Aviator, an entrepreneurial team of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (Shenzhen), won the silver award in the final after fierce competition.
1. Background of the Competition
The purpose of this provincial final was to showcase the innovation & entrepreneurship achievements of colleges and universities in Guangdong, build a new platform for the integration of industry and education, and enhance the influence of mass innovation & entrepreneurship education in Guangdong. According to statistics, the provincial final this year had greater influence and wider coverage with all numbers reaching a record high: 250,900 projects registered and over 1.02 million students participated in the competition. The entrant projects covered multiple areas like Internet+ modern agriculture, manufacturing, information technology services, cultural & creative services, and social services. During the final, all project teams were full of enthusiasm, and elaborated on their products or services, market analysis & positioning, business model, marketing strategy, financial analysis, risk control, team introduction, etc., and answered questions from a panel of judges composed of investors and experts from enterprises and universities.
2. Silver Award-winning Project of CUHK-Shenzhen
Aviator is committed to creating a platform for sharing the most practical information about studying abroad so that every student won’t feel at loss during his or her journey. Aviator is an independent third-party overseas study information sharing platform born out of Apartsa, a campus self-media brand of the CUHK-Shenzhen. The platform is student-oriented, committed to providing neutral, practical, and authentic information about studying abroad for CUHK-Shenzhen students who want to study abroad. It provides a variety of customized pathways for studying abroad for students with strong initiatives who are thirsty for knowledge. Meanwhile, it breaks the monopoly of information by the overseas study agencies through a mechanism of comments by overseas study institutions. It is hoped that the platform could rectify some chaos going on in the industry and protect students’ rights so that students who want to study overseas can have a smooth journey and go to their dream universities for a bright future.
Aviator Project Team Members:
Executive Team: Yu Zhe, Jiang Yihan
Marketing: *Zhou Yuxin, Han Ziyu, Li Xiaoyuan, Yu Zihan, Zhang Yunfei
Operations: *Jin Liying, Liu Ziling, Hu Chenlu, Peng Xinyi
Product: Feng Chike, Sun Zongru, Zhao Antong
Technology: Zhou Ruiyu (back-end development), Chen Chen (front-end development)
*person in charge of each function.
3. Our Team Keeps Growing
Apartsa is an on-campus startup established by fellow students in 2015. It is known among students for its course rating push notifications and experience sharing on its WeChat account. The team had an organizational structure change in 2020 and Jiang Yihan, a student of 2018, took over the management. Up till now, the team members have increased from 2 to 33, and stable profitability has been achieved.
4. Our Products Are Iteratively Upgraded
With the recent upgrading of its brand and a comprehensive plan, the team decided to upgrade from self-media focusing on overseas study & life to a brand of campus information product development and made a series of attempts in product development. In June 2021, the Graduation Yearbook App developed by the technical team gained over 660,000 users within one month of its launch. It became a sensation on WeChat Moments and swept through universities and high school graduates nationwide.
As a more complex platform product, Aviator is a new attempt. Apart from that, Auditor (a course evaluation app) and Accelerator (a technical backend product) are also under development. The team will continue to develop new products based on students’ needs in the future. We hope to build a complete product matrix and become the Bytedance of the higher education sector. (We will continue to recruit team members for marketing, operations, technology, business, and design in the new semester, so stay tuned!)
5. We Grow with Aviator
Aviator is a new product that Apartsa started preparing in November last year. It has existed for over 9 months by the end of the competition. From the initial reckless concept research to the mid-term team structural changes for efficiency & optimization to the implementation of the product with its structure taking shape, there is a feeling that we are finally about to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
On-campus internet entrepreneurship is nothing novel, but it is only after we tried it that we found out there were so many details to consider and so many difficulties one might encounter to do a complete product project. It was agonizing to try to balance perfectionism and efficiency, but this unique on-campus entrepreneurial experience enabled us to grow quickly, and it is something you cannot get from daily academic studies or internships. We devoted lots of effort and consideration to the product, hoping that it can really help everyone after it goes online!
-- Yu Zhe (Project Leader & Product Director)
Aviator is a platform with complex functions. So many details need to be carefully considered in terms of its functional framework, content matrix, and business model. We didn’t have any experience in product development, so there was a lot of zig-zag in the early stage. However, we worked together and were actively looking for solutions. This might be the charm of entrepreneurship. All departments were learning while practicing. I also used this project as an entrepreneurship project last semester and entered it into a business simulation challenge. I drafted and constantly improved the business plan during this process, which laid a foundation for this entrepreneurship competition.
I was mainly responsible for project management in this project and would also get involved in marketing. Although I was super busy with discussions & handover meetings of various departments every day, it was gratifying to watch the product being gradually improved. It was like watching my kids grow up.
-- Jiang Yihan (CEO of Apartsa & Project Management)
Upper right: Some members of the Business department and their partners.
Left: Team members' avatars.
Bottom right: Some members of the Design department.
The initial work of the Aviator marketing department was difficult because it was a brand new team and we didn’t know each other before, and we didn’t know what everyone was good at. However, things started to become better after a few meetings. From cluelessness at the beginning to the clear implementation of most of the work, the team's goals became increasingly clear along the journey.
When doing user research, we quickly recruited 12 students who were willing to be interviewed. They provided us with many useful ideas. And their interest in this product greatly inspired us. The team had meetings to discuss brand planning, brainstormed market growth plans, and communicated with agencies. For me, this is a unique & rewarding experience. Finally, I hope Aviator will be well-received by the market after it goes online!
-- Zhou Yuxin (Head of Marketing of Aviator)
From online discussions during the pandemic to numerous meetings during the semester to preparations for the competition, Aviator gradually evolved from a vague idea to specific work, such as a complete functional framework and product design. It was also the first time for me to get involved in an entrepreneurial project and acted as the Head of Operations. The operations involved lots of detailed and miscellaneous work. In the beginning, I felt a lot of pressure when doing some large-scale content collection and consolidation, but other team members would help me with patience. After getting to know each other, team members in the operations were also able to independently produce high-quality work and were responsible for interviews with senior students. The operations team is still actively enriching the product content. We look forward to the day when you can see the product!
-- Jin Liying (Head of Operations of Aviator)
A variety of events are organized by Apartsa.
6. What We Want to Say About the Competition
The entrepreneurial project has been upgraded and transformed from Apartsa to Aviator. There must be lots of lessons and experiences along the journey. Your team won the silver award in the provincial final. Do you have any experience you want to share with future entrepreneurs?
First of all, we are very grateful for the entrepreneurship mentoring resources CIDE provided. We consulted entrepreneurship mentors and roadshow trainers before the competition. We already developed and revised a business plan. The mentors pointed out the loopholes in the business logic straight from the shoulder during the two consultations and put forward many valuable suggestions from an investor's perspective. On the eve of the competition, roadshow trainers with extensive experience in competitions also helped us patiently by sorting out the roadshow details and key points to present.
This is a very valuable experience for all team members as we could experience the operation of the real business world, improve our logic and communication skills, and practice how to better market our products and concepts while studying on campus.