The Sustainable Business Battle

2018 edition


OUR business CASES


The battle

The second edition of the Sustainable Business Battle was all about validating what the founders had started the year prior, and building a strong foundation for the event to become a yearly fixture.

This year, the battle started with a social gathering. The Rendez-vous was on May 25th at the Novotel in the Hague, where participants checked-in for the night and met their fellow SBBers. After a few team-building exercises and a dinner, they were off to the Plein for some drinks before the start of the first workshop the next day.

Leiden University and Rabobank partnered up with us again, and provided each team with their own rooms for each event. The participants first met with their client and coach during the first workshop. Soaking up all the information provided, they were ready to work on finding the best solution for the case presented to them. Professors from Leiden University’s Industrial Ecology programme, OpenUp Academy, and the Center for Sustainability joined in on the process, sharing their knowledge on sustainability, and helping the participants develop the most comprehensive solutions possible.


The semi-finals took place two weeks later, on June 9th. Each team prepared for their pitch at the Rabobank Leiden headquarters prio to the arrival of their client. The teams competed against each other and 5 finalists were selected. The finalists were able to participate in a private workshop with Boston Consultancy Group in Amsterdam, provided by strategy expert consultants from the firm.

The finals

The final preparations completed, the participants performed their final pitch at PLNT, Leiden University’s business incubator. The final took place three weeks after the kick-off, on June 14th. Under the spotlight, and facing a large crowd, the participants, confident, presented their business solution to the crowd and a jury’s panel. Both the public and the jury voted. HHR’s Escape Room idea won best idea of the competition for the 2018 edition. The team who came up with the idea was composed of Evelien Winkel, Ashish Padhi, Elisa van der Lingen, and Kevin de Raat.

The idea was later implemented by Rijnland, and the inauguration of the escape room will take place on the 6th of March 2019 at PLNT, in Leiden. (send us an email at for more information).


Rijnland - Leiden University - The Center for Sustainability


2017 edition

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It all began in September 2017, with a couple of students pitching their crazy idea at the inauguration of the Green Office in Leiden. Thanks to their enthusiasm and ambition, the project soon became a reality, and the SBB’s first edition was launched in June 2017.

This concept arose during a brain-storming session, bringing together the founders of the SBB (currently the Foundation of the SBB), the Green Office, the Municipality of Leiden, Rabobank, and several student associations. With the input of all parties, the Sustainable Business Battle was developed. By the time of the Kick-off, on May 13th 2017, five organizations had joined the battle and presented a case: Leiden University and the Municipality of Leiden combined, Koninklijke Horeca Nederland, Renewi, Duwo Student Housing and Hoogheemraadschap Rijnland. Thirty passionate and eager students participated in the battle that year.

The battle launched, the first training day unfolded in the Hague, providing participants with inspiring lectures on sustainability and workshops tackling entrepreneurship. Rabobank and along with Frisse Kijkers introduced students to the art of design thinking and business models.

A week later, the teams confronted the judges and pitched their business idea during the semi-finals at Rabobank’s headquarters in Leiden. The participating firms selected their finalists, which were then invited by the Boston Consultancy Group for further training in Amsterdam.

The final took place on June 23rd. It was opened by the then Dutch Minister of Environment and Infrastructure, M. Schultz van Haegen, as a key-note speaker. Nervous and hopeful finalists had the opportunity to pitch their idea to a large audience and a panel of judges. After much debate due to the incredible quality of the pitches, the team of Hoogheemraadschap Rijnland won the first edition of the SBB.



The success of the first edition of the SBB did not go unnoticed. Later that year the SBB received the Van Berge Prize for the best initiative promoting the relationship between Dutch and international students. On top of that the SBB was also awarded the University Green Trophy, and declared “best student initiative engaging with sustainability”.