A global reference in the world of start-ups
mardi 24 août 2021 à 04:00
In 2017, the Entrepreneurship Programme and Incubator were both founded at the University of Luxembourg with the aim of teaching entrepreneurial skills to students, researchers and staff. Their common vision is to champion entrepreneurship education in Luxembourg and mentor future leaders to create economic and social value. Their mission is to build a bridge between the University and the professional world. Meeting with Siva Bactavatchalou, Manager of Entrepreneurship Programme working closely with Incubator.
Who are Incubator and Entrepreneurship Programme for ? What are your projects ?
Current students and graduates, researchers and staff members of the University can participate in the events and initiatives of the Entrepreneurship Programme and Incubator.
The Entrepreneurship Programme offers business courses, masterclasses and entrepreneurial workshops to the University community developing skills beyond core education. Since its creation, the Entrepreneurship Programme has channeled over 2000 participants through its different initiatives. Its most notorious events are “Ideation Camp” and “Build Your Own Internship”.
Ideation Camp is a 72h intensive course focusing on students’ personal growth, higher employability and learning new skills.
Build Your Own Internship was launched last summer due to the cancellation of the internships as a result of the pandemic. This initiative consists of a 10-weeks online course where participants acquire entrepreneurship skills and develop their own ventures.
The University of Luxembourg Incubator is a place where the University community’s startups develop their ideas and receive guidance from mentors until they are able to start their own journey. The Incubator supports their business development through venture mentoring, by providing the networking opportunities and through its accelerator. Today, it hosts over 40 startups in BioTech, Industry Automation, and other areas. Since its launch three years ago, it has supported around 60 startup ideas and created over 70 jobs. It has also created a startup valuation of over €25M in total.
What advice should be given to young entrepreneurs ? What was the most innovative start-up in your eyes ?
There are so many reasons to start a business while still being a student : putting your learning into practice, building an instant professional network, gaining transversal skills.
No wonder that some students are catching the entrepreneurial bug. However, many of them are afraid to make this move. Many lack self-confidences which leaves little room for creativity. Some are not sure if they will be able to convince others with the product or service. For many of our students becoming a female founder is still a big concern, while for others it is a lack of technical skills and feeling that the world is changing so rapidly that it’s difficult to keep up. Though the most dreadful reason we often hear from our students for not starting a business is the lack of “good enough” idea. We listen to them and establish a firm structure of how we could help them to better explore entrepreneurship opportunities.
Is there a maximum number of places available ? Does Luxembourg occupy an important place in Europe ?
Every course of the Entrepreneurship Programme is fully booked, and the Incubator is currently on maximum capacity. Which shows that Luxembourg is a startup nation and confirms a strong need for the support and services of the University of Luxembourg Entrepreneurship Programme and Incubator.
We are also very lucky to be supported by industry, corporate entrepreneurship, and startup ecosystems in Luxembourg and beyond which brings entrepreneurship experience and network connections. Students get more hands-on learning experiences, and this is fantastic for them to be surrounded by all these experts and industry leaders.
While we would like to become the next entrepreneurial hotspot, what matters to us the most is an opportunity to inspire and empower our community to become innovative leaders and engaged citizens contributing to the economic and societal development in the region to build together a sustainable future.
Interview conducted by Sébastien Yernaux
Article tiré du dossier du mois Tellement de raisons d’agir !