Twenty young tech entrepreneurs travel to four innovation ecosystems – Munich, Lausanne, Copenhagen and Eindhoven – to gain entrepreneurial skills and access to experts and investors, to support them with their upcoming ventures. This is the concept of the now fifth edition of the European Venture Program (EVP), set up by the EuroTech Universities Alliance in 2015.
The start-ups selected by TU Eindhoven, DTU Copenhagen, TU Munich, EPFL Lausanne, École Polytechnique Paris and the Technion in Israel, visit different cities in an effort to broaden their horizons and ultimately seek a presence for their companies on the European market and beyond. The program 2019 was split into two weeks, in which two EuroTech partners each were visited, one in July, one in August.
EVP 2019 kick-off in Munich: Internationalization as key topic
All started in Munich, where the focus was on internationalization. Hana Milanov, Professor at the TUM Entrepreneurship Research Institute and former Senior Vice President for International Alliances and Alumni, hosted the group on the TUM Garching campus and introduced the participants to internationalization strategies and real-life case studies. TUM presented its Incubator and MakerSpace by UnternehmerTUM as a one-stop-shop to support technology-oriented entrepreneurs, while Invest in Bavaria was showcasing the wider Munich region as the ideal place for young businesses. Giving a true impact to the program, highly successful TUM start-ups, whose founders were once EVP participants, Inveox (EVP 2016) and Retorio (EVP 2017) shared their experiences with the emerging start-ups, reflecting on their own company development and the impulse the EVP added to it. The group left then for Lausanne, where the program focuses mainly on the market, competition and risk analysis.
Eindhoven wins EVP 2019 pitch competition
The second week in late August took off in Copenhagen, where it was all about marketing, sales and prototyping. Lastly, Eindhoven focused on start-ups’ finances and funding and ended with a pitch competition in front of a jury, where one start-up, Hable Accessibility from TU Eindhoven emerged as the winner. Last year’s winner was TUM’s Frachtklub, formerly known as Transport Heros. The well-rounded program also left time for networking, company visits and cultural immersion.
At the moment of the program set-up, there was a clear niche for EVP as an international extracurricular entrepreneurship education program for academic start-ups in an early stage. EVP has since been very well perceived by the participants and the European Community. It will have more than 100 alumni after the 2019 edition.