This March, Powered by Twente is organizing the StartupLaunch Experience Twente, a weekend for everyone who is passionate about entrepreneurship. To discover if this event might be your cup of tea, there will be a free-of-charge Prelaunch event.
The StartupLaunch Experience is organized by innovation network Powered by Twente, who have been organizing similar events in Twente for six years now. The StartupLaunch Experience used to be known as Startup Weekend Enschede. The name is new, but the concept stays the same: a very full weekend-long programme aimed at people with innovative ideas and entrepreneurs.
Nancy Trip, director of Powered by Twente, said to StartupJuncture the organization decided to host a likewise event but without the Startup Weekend label. “The benefit of Startup Weekend is the international aspect of it. But here there’s not much need for it, as our participants come from The Netherlands and Germany only. So we’re doing it independently.”
During an intensive three-day programme, participants will learn how to develop an idea into a business model, preferably with a working prototype. Trip expects that due to the limited time a weekend offers, a lot of the ideas will focus on creative technology (and less on nanotechnology, for example), an area where Designlab really offers added value. With facilities like a 3D-printer, developing a prototype is possible within a weekend.
Participants will be partaking in a marketing workshop, receive coaching and get a chance to listen to inspirational speakers. Then, on the final Sunday, all participating startups will present their ideas to a jury consisting of entrepreneurs, who will choose the best ideas. The top three ideas will receive additional benefits, such as free consultancy from Cottonwood Technology Fund or six months of free office space at BTC Twente, a local startup incubator.
The StartupLaunch Experience will take place on March 11-13 in Designlab in Enschede.
Designlab is a creative design and research ecosystem that is part of The Gallery, a centre for innovation located on the Kennispark campus of the University of Twente. Kennispark claims The Gallery is the largest incubator of the Netherlands. The building is five hundred meters long and functions as a bridge between the university and the adjacent business park.
One of the partners of Kennispark Twente is The university of Twente. The university specializes in the areas of technology and social sciences. Research is focussed on health, energy, water, safety and education. The Kennispark campus houses advanced research institutes such as the Thermoplastic Composite Research Lab, the Experimental Centre for Technical Medicine and the European Membrane Institute.
Other partners of Kennispark Twente are the Saxion university of applied sciences, the province of Overijssel, and are range of cities, including Enschede.
Two speakers have been announced, several others will be announced later. Already confirmed are:
Ray Quintana, general partner of Cottonwood Technology Fund
Cottonwood Technology Fund is an early stage VC fund with offices in the USA and in Enschede, which invest primarily in companies with activities in photonics, advanced materials, healthcare and cleantech. As recently as this week, Cottonwood invested 500.000 euro in Amsterdam-based telecommunication startup OPNT and last year they invested one million euro in Enschede-based nanotech startup Eurekite and 1.6 million euro in drone startup Clear Flight Solutions, also from Enschede.
Quintana is head of European operations for Cottonwood. He will speak about his ideas on startups and will teach participants about what it takes to be successful as a startup.
Jacco Eltingh, former Dutch tennis player
Together with his tennis partner Paul Haarhuis he started an event company for everything related to tennis. Every year they organize the AFAS tennis classics, a tennis event for former professional tennis players, which doubles as a huge networking event, with over five hundred business guests each day. Eltingh will speak about the similarities between top athletes and entrepreneurs.
Prelaunch and post-events
Tickets for the full weekend are available for a very reasonable 75 euro, including all food and accommodation for two nights. Early bird tickets are available until February 26 for 55 euro.
To get into the mood and to be able to meet fellow participants, the Startup Prelaunch event will be organized on February 24. Here, participants can pitch ideas and possibly already meet like-minded people to form a team with. There is also an opportunity to participate in workshops and receive coaching to prepare you for the main event in March. And of course, visiting the prelaunch events is also quite useful for people who want to find out if the StartupLaunch Experience really is something for them.
After the main event on March 11-13, there will be a post-event on March 23 and possibly once every month after that. The main goal of these events, according to Nancy Trip, is to create a community of entrepreneurs who will be able to stimulate each other.
Image by mathiasen @ Pixabay