The AtlasInvest Entrepreneurship Grant (AIEG) supports student-entrepreneurs with impactful ideas. Two grants are awarded yearly: the Impact Award for ideas with maximum sustainable impact, and the Start-Up Award for commercially promising ideas.
Finals AtlasInvest Entrepreneurship Grant 2021
On Wednesday May 26, 2021 the second edition of the AtlasInvest Entrepreneurship Grant took place.
There are two prizes, the Start-Up Award (€35.000) and the Impact Award (€15.000). A diagnostic platform, based on CRISPR-Cas, able to quickly and precisely recognize illnesses, and diminishing waste by turning it into biochar, a carbon soil enhancer, using pyrolysis. These were the two themes with which the Wageningen start-up companies Scope BioSciences en Pyropower turned winners of the AtlasInvest Entrepreneurship Grant.
More information can be found below.
Photos finals on May 26th 2021
A diagnostic platform, based on CRISPR-Cas, able to quickly and precisely recognize illnesses, and diminishing waste by turning it into biochar, a carbon soil enhancer, using pyrolysis. These were the two themes with which the Wageningen start-up companies Scope BioSciences en Pyropower turned winners of the AtlasInvest Entrepreneurship Grant. Both start-ups are based on knowledge that is developed at Wageningen University & Research. The award ceremony took place on May 26 in Plus Ultra II building at Wageningen Campus as a pre-event to F&A Next.
Scope BioSciences – Winner Start-up Award
The Start-Up Award supports student-entrepreneurs who focus on commercially promising solutions for worldwide challenges in the area of nutrition and sustainability. They develop scalable products and services that have the potential to grow. The Start-up Award exists, among others, of an amount of 35.000 euro which they can use to further develop their company.
Scope BioSciences focuses on CRISPR-Cas, them ost important discovery in the area of biotechnology in the last decades. Scope has, in cooperation with Wageningen University & Research developed ScopeDx, a type III CRISPR-Cas diagnostic platform that offers very accurate molecular diagnostic results in less than 25 minutes. The jury was impressed by the potential of the company and the fact that, since the finals of the first edition last year, they have grown and improved tremendously. Scope has an interesting product, different promising routes to the market and the most clear plan of all finalists for his award.
PyroPower – Winner Impact Award
The Impact Award stimulates sociale initiatives of student-entrepreneurs that focus on reaching maximum impact in the area of environment and sustainability. The Impact Award exists, among others, of an amount of 15.000 euro.
Pyropower aims to diminish the impact of waste and stimulate a biochar-based economy.
Through semi-centralized pyrolysis technology, biomass is converted into clean energy and biochar - a promising carbon capturing method for future carbon credits reception. Biochar is able to sequester CO2, improving soil quality and productivity. Pyropower focuses first on the coffee market, where waste in the whole coffee chain contributes to pollution and where subsequently huge impact can be made. The jury thought this was the trongest pitch of the day, clear and with substantial commercial value. Pyropower offers various propositions to the investor and has a product that is also individually affordable.
For more information, read the news message here.
Photos by Guy Ackermans.
On Friday, February 5, the semi-final of the AtlasInvest Entrepreneurship Grant took place in hybrid form in the studio of Starthub Wageningen. The judges watched online how 10 teams pitched their ideas.
The jury has selected a total of 5 finalists, 3 for the Start-Up Award and 2 for the Impact Award. The final will take place on May 26 before the F&A Next event. The finalists who will pitch their ideas again for the Start-Up Award during this event are Premal, Reshore and Scope BioSciences. For the Impact Award the finalists are Algreen and Pyropower.
The AtlasInvest Entrepreneurship Grant, a new initiative to award talented enterprising students and starting researchers at WUR with starting capital for their start-ups.
The founders of this Grant, Marcel van Poecke (WUR Forestry, 1985) and his daughter Heleen van Poecke, want to support entrepreneurship among students and starting researchers right in the earliest phase. This happens still too little in the Netherlands and for Van Poecke, Wageningen seemed the logical place to offer his support.
At WUR, the enterprising students in the Wageningen domain are closest to the latest developments and have access to the most updated knowledge. Therefore beautiful ideas are being born, but the starting phase is the most difficult one to find banks or venture capital funds that want to do risky investments. Together with University Fund Wageningen and StartHub, Marcel and Heleen set up this Entrepreneurship Grant.
The AtlasInvest Entrepreneurship Grant
Teams can sign up and participate in an intensive entrepreneurial skills program. At the end, a selection of the most promising teams pitch before a jury in the semi-finals. Only five go through to the finals, which this year, takes place right before the opening of F&A Next in front of a jury of successful entrepreneurs. The winner will be announced at the opening of F&A Next.
The Grant involves two Awards: the Impact Award (€15.000) for the start-up with the best initiative creating societal or sustainable impact and the Start-Up Award (€30.000) with the best growth potential. Next to an award, it is also important to network and being able to show what you have. Therefore we are pleased to have teamed up with F&A Next!
For the first time you will have the possibility to have a sneak preview of what happens in the nursery school of entrepreneurship at WUR and get inspired by young student entrepreneurs and their ideas. Realizing that these start-ups are still in the earliest phase, they are important for innovation and a creative mindset. In the UFW/AtlasInvest Entrepreneurship Grant Booth you can meet all five finalists and talk to the organization behind the grant. More information about F&A Next can be found here.
On August 19th 2020, the finale for the AtlasInvest Entrepreneurship Grant 2020 took place in the studio of Starthub Wageningen. The finalists can be seen in the slideshow above.
Reuse of substances in waste flows for food products and sustainable material from fungi, with the quality of leather. With these themes, the Wageningen start-up companies Greencovery (Start-Up Award) and Mylium (Impact Award) are the winners of the Atlas Invest Entrepreneurship Grant.
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Want to know more about the finalists? Read the news report here.
Semi finals 2020
The semi finalists of 2020 were:
These are the finalists!
Acceleration Bootcamp – 29 January -5 February 2021
During the Acceleration Bootcamp participants get the chance to further develop their ideas and prepare their pitch. This week is organised by StartHub Wageningen.
Semi-finals – 5 February 2021
During the semi-finals the 10 best teams will pitch their ideas in front of the jury. Based on these pitches, the jury will select 5 finalists, 3 for the Start-Up Award and 2 for the Impact Award.
Finale – During F&A Next on 26 May 2021
The finale will take place on 26 May just before the F&A Next event, in hybrid form, from 13:00 - 15:00 CEST. The F&A Next event starts at 15:30 until 18:30 CEST. How this will take place is yet to be decided and depends on the corona rules at that time. Go to the F&A Next website for more information.
Tessa graduated in 2013 with a Master’s degree in Integrated Product Design from the Delft University of Technology. She is now an impact entrepreneur and in 2013, she co-founded , a green architectural firm. Furthermore, in 2017, Tessa co-founded , a subscription based service model for fresh & locally produced herbs, cresses and edible flowers. Both companies are currently based in Amsterdam.
“Impact entrepreneurs are driven by a desire to disrupt the status quo and thereby pushing the world forward. Being an impact entrepreneur myself, this is the most rewarding work you can do. It does not only get you out of bed every morning, but it will also keep you motivated to do more and better. This way of entrepreneurship will shape our 21st century business, where business success will not only be judged by profit, but also through cultural and sustainable impact. That is why I would recommend all of you to build your own ventures and start to create impact yourself!”
Heleen van Poecke
Heleen holds a Bachelor and Master in Economics from Erasmus University and a Masters in Business Administration from Harvard Business School. She is an investor at Atlas Invest where she focuses on investing in the Energy Transition and serves on the board of innovative Energy businesses EWT and Kayrros. Together with her father Marcel she took the initiative to launch the Atlas Invest Entrepreneurship Grant.
“Having an amazing business idea is step 1, step 2 is to find a way to execute your ideas and bringing them to life. With this grant and the pitch competition we hope to stimulate young talent to start executing. Pitching your ideas to potential customers and investors is not easy but it is something you can learn, especially with the feedback from other entrepreneurs and investors. I am amazed by all the talent and drive from Wageningen University students and cannot wait to hear the pitches!”
Jonathan Berte, CEO at Robovision, is a civil physics engineer (University of Ghent 2002). During his studies Jonathan specialised in applied neurology at the Institute of Neuroinformatics (INI). He is a pioneer in artificial intelligence and saw the potential cultural impact early on. Jonathan co-founded Robovision.ai, where he now leads a 60-headed team to make Deep learning applications accessible for everyone. He was awarded the Engineer of the year 2019 thanks to his innovative work and influence.
“The future is now. There are just not enough people to solve all the world’s problems, but powerful and gigantic computational resources can help us create a better world. At Robovision, we want to democratise artificial intelligence, so everyone can benefit from these resources. I believe that the only limitations are the limits of our creativity. Seeing these possibilities come to life and the positive impact they can have on society is what’s driving me as an entrepreneur”
Christiaan de Koning
Christiaan graduated with a Master’s in Sociology of Technology from Maastricht University and went on to do a PhD with the Oxford Martin School and the Entrepreneurship centre at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford. He is particularly interested in the commercialisation of emerging biotechnologies such as the genome editing platform CRISPR. He is an avid deep tech enthusiast working closely with early-stage ventures, investors, and policy makers.
“Today’s innovations attempt to fix yesterday’s problems, but change the world of tomorrow. To enable science to be adopted throughout our society it is paramount to bridge the gap between science and business – as only so much can be done with public funds, private capital is a huge driver behind how we may shape our future. Commercialisation enables for standardising and scaling of new ideas, well before monetisation. To tackle global wicked challenges is to be in the business of building better futures. It’s messy, it’s exciting, it’s important.”
Are you a student-entrepreneur, studying at or recently graduated from Wageningen University & Research, and do you want to bring your entrepreneurial idea to the next level? Take a look at the guidelines and criteria for the AtlasInvest Entrepreneurship Grant! More information about AIEG 2021 and how to apply will follow soon.
The Start-Up Award supports student-entrepreneurs who focus on commercially promising solutions for global challenges. They want to develop products and services based on WUR expertise, that have potential for upschaling and growth. The Start-up Award includes a grant of 35.000 euros.
The Impact Award rewards social and public initiatives from student-entrepreneurs focused on maximising their impact on global challenges in the environment or in developing sustainable solutions. The Impact Award includes a grant of 15.000 euros.
The investors of the AtlasInvest Entrepreneurship Grant are Marcel van Poecke and his daughter Heleen. Marcel van Poecke graduated in 1985 from Wageningen University & Research with a masters in Forestry. "My education at WUR has laid the foundation for entrepreneurship, a creative mind and a broad, international view on society", says Van Poecke; Ingredients that contributed to his succesful entrepreneurship, among which his company AtlasInvest. According to his daughter Heleen, who studied Business Administration at Harvard, you do not only owe your success to yourself, but also to the support of the people around you and the education you received. Van Poecke therefore wanted to give back to his alma mater, and currently does so as a member of the Wageningen Ambassadors, a group of successful alumni who support education and research at WUR.
Besides supporting a variety of projects, a new priority of WUR caught his attention: stimulating entrepreneurship among students and young researchers. In the US, Heleen saw that the link between American universities and businesses is more developed than in The Netherlands, and that investments in start-ups are much more common. In The Nederlands, most universities focus almost completely on the academic side, and offer less extracurricular opportunities to prepare students for a career in business; reason enough for father and daughter to contribute to this priority of WUR.
Together with University Fund Wageningen and Starthub Wageningen, Marcel and Heleen developed a grant for young entrepreneurs: the AtlasInvest Entrepreneurship Grant. Through a pitch competition, young entrepreneurs can pitch their creative ideas to a jury and win start-up capital to get their enterprise off the ground. According to Heleen, the start-up capital is the hardest to obtain. "This platform should give students the feeling that they can be bold and just go for it. The basis of entrepreneurship, furthermore, is using your network. Dare to ask!", says Heleen. That is why networking with other participants, the audience, panel members and the jury is central in the grant programme. Even if participants cannot obtain that start-up capital, this grant can thus really offer them important experiences.