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Poetry start-up Tolnø from CBS wins prize at Go Grow Demo Day

Kamilla Tolnø. Photo: Birgitte Ramsø Thomsen

The Demo Day event marked the end of the Go Grow programme 2022 featuring student start-ups pitching in front of 250 invited guests. A jury awarded the ‘best pitch’ prize of DKK 25,000 to poetry start-up Tolnø, run by a CBS student.

News |   29. Sep 2022

Emilie Jacobsen

Freelance journalist

Bubbles, delicious snacks, networking – and a list of 16 student start-up pitches on the podium. Thursday 22 September marked the annual Go Grow Demo Day at Kilen.

This festive event concluded the Go Grow programme 2022, with student start-ups pitching in front of 250 potential investors, mentors, other start-ups, alumni, friends and family.

Go Grow is a seven-month programme that helps start-ups with some existing traction to grow their businesses. To participate, you need some clients and a scalable business along with plenty of ambition.

Go Grow is open to students and recent graduates from all Danish universities, not only CBS.

Mia Jung, Head of Acceleration at Copenhagen School of Entrepreneurship (CSE). Photo: Sofie Bladt

“Our aim with Go Grow is to help start-ups created by students to find investors and be able to scale up and develop further than they could on their own. We see many start-ups that have come really far in their founders’ time at CBS, and our goal with Go Grow is to give them the tools to grow even more,” explains Mia Jung, who is Head of Acceleration at Copenhagen School of Entrepreneurship (CSE), part of CBS.

During the programme, students learn various skills such as pitching, leadership, and how to build their financial toolboxes and receive mentoring and coaching. Besides this, they share office space and can draw on each other’s experiences.

“Training to pitch has given me more peace of mind and confidence”

At Go Grow Demo Day, DKK 25,000 was awarded for the best pitch and this year, Tolnø, a quite unique poetry start-up run by CBS student Kamilla Tolnø, won the jury’s prize, which was awarded for the best storytelling, stage performance and visuals.

Before the pitch, she admitted to being slightly nervous, since she usually expresses herself in writing, but felt that the Go Grow programme had prepared her well for the pitch.

Kamilla Tolnø pitching. Photo: Birgitte Ramsø Thomsen

“As a part of Go Grow, I have pitched more than ever before and attended workshops and training leading up to Demo Day. Training to pitch has given me more peace of mind and confidence. And then, of course, it helps that I am talking about my own business, which I know better than anyone else,” Kamilla Tolnø says.

Besides being the Creative Director of Tolnø – and the poet behind it – she is a fifth-semester student on the BSc in Business Administration and Market Dynamics and Cultural Analysis programme.

Photo: Birgitte Ramsø Thomsen

Kamilla Tolnø founded her business in 2017 and by the time she started at CBS in 2020, she was making a living fromher self-published poetry books. She advertises her books on her very successful Instagram and Pinterest accounts, which have 295,000 and 47,000 followers, respectively.

The Go Grow programme has helped her in numerous ways, for example, when changing her business platform, getting help from accountants connected to the programme and coaching sessions to help her choose the future path for her company.

More students view entrepreneurship as a career path

CSE is seeing more and more students interested in starting businesses as a career path.

“I think that TV programmes such as the Dragon’s Den (in Danish: Løvens Hule) and the many success stories of Danish entrepreneurs have shown young people that this is a viable career path. We are seeing more talented and dedicated students accessing the Go Grow Programme during their first years as students, whereas previously, participants were from master’s programmes,” Mia Jung says.

Kamilla Tolnø is both excited but also at times daunted by being both a student and a business owner. She works with the concept “no zero days”, meaning that she must do some kind of work on her business every day, no matter how little.

“Some days, it is only a social media post, and that is fine. I have accepted that I can’t work on my business all the time: I need to make room for my studies and my social life as well. My advice to other students would be not to put too much pressure on themselves if they want to become entrepreneurs, but also to go for it if they have an idea or even just dream of becoming an entrepreneur. CSE offers so much help to get you started,” she says.

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