SBE team wins TNO Entrepreneur Challenge

The Lifetech team of Maastricht University’s School of Business and Economics is the happy winner of the TNO Entrepreneur Challenge.

TNO is an independent research organisation which aims, among others, to develop entrepreneurial skills and launch successful new startups in the Netherlands. The Entrepreneur Challenge helps to connect high-tech opportunities with new entrepreneurial talents.

On 18 and 19 October, seven teams from various universities and vocational schools competed to elaborate a business case for a start-up company based on a tested and patented TNO technology.

SBE’s Lifetech team and Delft University’s Spark team were selected as the two best teams and were given three weeks to optimize their plan for the final round.

The Lifetech team, consisting of MSc students in IB Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management Felix Plitzko, Eugene Stassen, Youri van Dijk and BSc IB student Louis Lohest, came up with the winning idea: a strongly improved method to monitor and control sewer systems from the inside.

TNO has over 40 years of experience in signal processing for cameras and has developed a special technology in contrast improvement, which has found applications in the defense industry. The participating teams were challenged to commercialize this technology for the business market.

“Enthusiasm, drive and creativity”

“24 hours to develop a business case seemed like a very short time but it proved to be one of the most productive sessions ever,” said Felix Plitzko. “Now, with the implementation of our case a new challenge is about to begin. We would like to recommend this event to everyone who wants to stop working and start creating!”

Boy Kodde, SME Manager at TNO, described the Entrepreneur Challenge as an inspiring experience: “We were surprised by the enthusiasm, drive and creativity of the student teams. We will definitely support the next Entrepreneur Challenge.”

The winners now have six months to put their concept into practice and set up the start-up company. If the project is successful, each participant will receive a 2 percent share of the company.

During this period, TNO will provide SBE’s team with 40 hours of technical support free of charge and the option to participate in the TNO Winter Course. The winners will also receive a sum of EUR 10,000 in seed money from Secureview, a workplace at the Team Academy’s School for Entrepreneurs, 40 hours of team coaching from the Team Academy and 10 hours of legal support from the legal firm SOLV Advocaten.

The next Entrepreneur Challenge will take place on 23-24 May 2013, once again using a TNO technology as a starting point. For more information, please contact Arjen Hemelaar at Team Academy Netherlands: arjen@teamacademy.nl.

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