Siberian Federal University: Students of the School of Gastronomy of Siberian Federal University defend Dom u Ozera startup

The School of Gastronomy and Bellini group were among the first to involve students in solving real business problems. The students who were in their second year at that time were asked to create their own project — a catering business. In their third year, a real restaurant was opened in Krasnoyarsk and offered managerial positions, which were also taken by students. In 2021, a group of students successfully defended their project. Today they continue to work, acquiring new competencies in financial management and human resource management.

As Denis Guts, vice-rector for Academic Affairs at Siberian Federal University, noted, integration of complex work of students on real cases into the educational process appeared in Siberian Federal University even before the announcement of this national program and has been applied for the third year already.

“Students choose this particular format of the final thesis more and more often. This year has shown that there is a competition among students because they see the positive experience of students who defended their works earlier. The university prepares this program with the participation of business partners, and this close connection provides a clear understanding of what request the employer has, which is extremely important since the university is interested in providing better education. To prepare students for their thesis, companies send real-life case studies. Our partners are astonished by the creativity of the students’ solutions, and, they believe that the students’ proposals are sometimes more profitable for them. Now they are ready to go beyond the preparation of final theses and form tasks for student teams for course projects,” said Denis Guts.

Already, Startup as a Thesis project is being implemented in various schools of Siberian Federal University: the School of Space and Information Technology, School of Business Management, School of Economics, Finance and Public Administration and others. The practice will enhance. SibFU plans to create inter-school student teams and involve students of different background: economists, lawyers, engineers, in solving real cases.

Victoria Orfanidi, 4th-year student of the Higher School of Restaurant Management: “As part of Dom u Ozera startup, I was organizing business processes on the principles of lean production, which became the topic of my final thesis. And I am very glad that this format of defence and training has been adopted at SibFU for a number of reasons: firstly, it is like working with a living organism when you see how your hypotheses start working after testing and implementation. Secondly, this is really the rebuilding of an entire enterprise from scratch: the kitchen, the hall, the flow of guests and its distribution. Here you do not work on mistakes, but build something new. This allows you not only to comply with all the principles of lean production but also to add elements of creativity. And thirdly, opening a business, which you then also manage, makes you have a different attitude to the issue. You understand the level of responsibility — this is a real business with real investments. That is why it is quite easy to write a thesis in this format as you, in fact, live through all actions and their consequences in this process.”

Startup as a Thesis program was announced by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education. It aims to involve talented students in the development of an ecosystem of hi-tech entrepreneurship, as well as to support businesses in their early stages. The development and implementation of a training program for students and university lecturers in the preparation of start-ups as theses are provided for by Digital Economy program. The final thesis is a real-life business project created by one student or team where they demonstrate the level of preparation for independent professional activity.