Speed dates UT Challenge Enschede
In the easternmost part of the Netherlands the speed dates of the UT Entrepreneurial Challenge took place on 14 May. After a long period of recruitment and selection, more than 100 projects were registered in the database: this competition is a success. Students get the chance to discuss ideas with professionals and to develop themselves as much as possible. This year, the competition is being organized for the third time in Enschede. Today, 27 student groups were allowed to present their project to the companies during the speed dates.
The event started in a cozy restaurant in the Design Lab on the university campus. Here students and companies listened to a short introduction while enjoying lunch. Petra de Weerd-Nederhof (Department head of NIKOS) spoke about today's planning and provided general information about the event. We then moved to the Design Lab. Here Miriam Iliohan (Interim director Designlab) told about the lab: it is run by students and there are many learning opportunities. Lino Thewissen (UT Challenge project manager) took the floor, gave general information about the day and let the companies pitch themselves one by one. There were many new partners: Bosch, Rabobank, Vcare and PwC took part in this event for the first time. There were also partners from the first edition, such as Speakup and Recognize. VolkerWessels Telecom indicated during the pitch "we are always looking for smart people". They hope to find this among the students.
In one of the interviews, Markus Baumeister from Bosch says that they received a lot of input from the students: it gives them fresh, new ideas. Atilla Kerpisci from the University of Twente thinks that getting feedback and consulting with companies is very good for developing entrepreneurship. Wido van de Mast of VolkerWessels Telecom mainly looks at what the students want to achieve in society: what do they really want to change? Gerard Olde Olthof from VCare can mainly help the students by bringing them into contact with the right people: they have many connections. Jan Peter Doomernik from Nature 2.0 is very enthusiastic about the students: "they are so driven by purpose and committed to change the world." At Rabobank they are also a fan of the students and willing to offer help in all areas, says Stephan Altena.
According to Rahul Mundekkottil of the Space Plant project, the companies changed his whole perspective after two speed dates. That is valuable to him. Akarsh Narsepalli from the Micro Supercapacitors project is also positive about the day: he gets a lot out of the tips from the companies. Roussi Roussev of the Eco-constructions project thinks that as a starting company you cannot do without feedback from professionals. The students of G-Lake have received a lot of help in the technical area and with the marketing of their product. Tyrell Pantophlet of project Plaex says that the many years of experience enable the companies to help him well with preventing or tackling problems. The companies will help you direct your project, according to Jorg Wellink of SolarProjects. They learned a lot today.
The day is over: students and companies are overloaded with new information and ready to process it. During the closing drink everybody is still buzzing and talking. Beers are drunk and the people look cheerful. The speed dates of the third (and certainly not the last) edition of the UT Challenge in Enschede were absolutely successful.