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ACE News: Explore Entrepreneurship with ACE

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On October 7, 30 ambitious students, PhDs and researchers pitched the startup idea they’ve had been working on over the course of the Inspire: Entrepreneurship program, part of the ACE Explore Programs.

The 3-day program kicked off on September 23 and continued on September 30 and October 7. Over the course of 3 half days, the participants – students, PhDs and researchers with a variety of academic affiliations – were taught about the fundamentals of starting a business. The program covered topics such as the idea generation, market validation and commercializing technologies. The participants got the chance to meet other startup founders, learn from the best experts and establish their own pitch in teams.

On Wednesday October 7 the enthusiastic group virtually teamed up to give their most convincing pitch in front of a jury of experts. The jury consisted of Peter van der Donk (Business developer at IXA), Liza Kolesnichenko (Head of incubation at ACE), Mark de Graef (Director Market Development and External Relations at UvA), and Monique Van Wordragen, (Manager Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) at UvA).

The teams that were formed during the program, were all determined to convince the jury of their business idea. The 3-minute pitches were timed strictly and were followed by a Q&A with the jury. After careful deliberation in a separate (virtual) room, the jury agreed on the winning team: The New Green Energy. The team won 500 euros to be spent on developing their business idea further. We spoke with them short after the event. Meet the members of the team:

Robin Laird is currently doing a graduate degree in biochemistry and biotechnology at UvA and is very passionate about the biochemistry of the human body and specifically how it relates to our environment and our lifestyle choices. Ruknul Ferdous is a water resources engineer and started his studies in Bangladesh. He came to the Netherlands to study water science more intensively in Delft. After completing his masters at the UvA, he started his PhD in sociology. Tijmen Bakker completed his bachelors at UvA including a major in chemistry and in business & economics and completed his masters in chemistry focused on energy and sustainability. Currently, Tijmen is finalizing his PhD at UvA and came up with a business idea while doing so.

With The New Green Energy, the idea is to incorporate Dye-Sensitized Solar cells into the glass of the greenhouses. The glass normally transmits the entire light spectrum of which the plants only use the blue and the red light, which means that the green light is not being used.  Dye-sensitized solar cells can be adjusted to absorb only a certain wavelength. Furthermore, they are simple to manufacture, work under diffuse light and in colder climates, which makes them ideal for the Dutch greenhouses. Initial calculations show that incorporating these solar cells into the greenhouses completely offsets the energy consumption of the greenhouse, making it energy neutral and even energy positive.

The team experienced several highlights during the program. To name a few: it was very insightful to learn how to create a story out of your business idea to be able to execute a proper pitch and it was great meeting other (aspiring) entrepreneurs and learning from their pitches as well. From this point onwards, Tijmen will continue to work on the business idea (perhaps in a slightly different shape and form) and both Robin and Ruknul will continue to work on their own ventures.

Interested in joining the program yourself? Good news! The second 2020 edition will kick off on November 19. Find out more about the program or sign up rightaway via this link.

About Explore

The Explore Program is a series of events that aims to share knowledge with students, PhDs and researchers on the fundamentals of starting a business. All of the programs are initiated by Innovation Exchange Amsterdam (IXA) and executed by Amsterdam Center for Entrepreneurship (ACE).

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