CEMS Start-up Challenge: The Start-up to startup your day

CEMS alumnae Cristine Sousa and Jessica Holzbach from Nova School of Business and Economics (NOVA) are out to revolutionize the way you have your breakfast. Their journey started in November 2016 at the first CEMS Startup Challenge that took place during the Career Forum at Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU).
CEMS Start-up Challenge group picture

Initiated by the Student Board, the event brought together some of the best entrepreneurial minds for an opportunity to turn their ideas into innovative solutions. 


Finalist LYL Breakfast Boxes (from NOVA) have continued their work since then and today with the two co-founders Cristine Sousa and Jessica Holzbach residing in Canada and Germany, LYL Breakfast Boxes are planning their next big step in entering the two respective markets. We caught up with Co-Founder and CEMS alumna Cristine Sousa to learn more about the project.

1. Can you briefly describe what LYL is and who it is for? 

In today’s society, most individuals live extremely busy lifestyles. Balancing friends, family, work and personal time all at once has created the need for time saving measures. That is where LYL breakfast box is able to help!  No longer does the consumer have to worry about grocery lists, bad food choices or skipping the most important meal of the day. We have created an all-in-one solution, that is the first to combine a healthy breakfast with the highest degree of convenience. Busy individuals (professional & busy families) are now able to pursue a healthy life style thanks to LYL breakfast box that delivers its members high quality healthy food right to their doorsteps. 

2. What inspired the creation of LYL breakfast box? 

In July 2016, the very first idea to create a new attitude towards our daily breakfast, and thereby help millions of customers that suffer from a lack of time, food intolerances and/or the aim to start a more balanced diet, was born. After this, a validation phase started. The current market was screened, macro and micro trends observed and similar product offers were analyzed. We teamed up with an incredible group of advisors from different food and tech industries and soon identified a company called IAWIE UG from Berlin. It was then that we prepared our pitch for the CEMS Startup Challenge and exposed our work to the entire CEMS community! 

3. How do you feel the CEMS Startup Challenge helped you further develop your idea?

The CEMS startup challenge was an incredible opportunity for the whole team! Not only were we able to really sit down together as a team and clearly define our goals, we also had incredible insights from all the mentors that participated in the challenge including our personal mentor CEMS alumnus Andreas Schwarzenbrunner. It was such a pleasure to work together and to have outsiders’ opinions and advice. Even after the Challenge, our mentor was instrumental in helping us continue with our project and providing us with the contacts that could help move the idea forward. 

4. How has the CEMS MIM programme helped you develop yourself as an entrepreneur?

The CEMS MIM program gave me the confidence, skills and tool set to go outside my comfort zone. Not only were my advisors and professors within the program a large contribution to this, but so did the diversity of the students themselves, with whom I had the privilege to work with on a daily basis. Through group work, projects, and discussions with individuals from different backgrounds, cultures and languages, I had the opportunity to work with some incredible individuals from around the globe. Overall, the CEMS program offers a world without borders, expanding students minds and opening doors to endless possibilities. 

5. If there was one piece of advice you could give to fellow CEMSies considering entrepreneurship what would it be?

Go for it!

Your ideas are your own and if you do not try them, then who will? Considering the life of an entrepreneur is not easy and can be very scary, you would be surprised at how many people actually pursue it and succeed one way or another. Through this journey you will also learn a lot about yourself, your capabilities, strengths and weaknesses, which in turn, will help you to grow. Success comes only with trying your hand at something, so put yourself out there and see where it takes you!