Two winners from LumiNose hold their award in their hands, with the instigator of the award Marcel van Poecke and Lies Boelrijk and Sebastiaan Berendse from WUR.

AtlasInvest Entrepreneurship Grant

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.

Finale AtlasInvest Entrepreneurship Grant 2023

On February 10, the five finalists will compete for the Start-Up Award and the Impact Award during an inspirational evening in Plus Ultra II. Do you want to attend this exciting finale? Please register through the button below.

Programme

14:00 - 17:00: Pitching finale

17:00 - 19:00: Networking, drinks and bites

About the grant

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!

Start-up Award

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 upscaling and growth. The Start-up Award includes a grant of 35.000 euros.

Impact Award

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.

Procedure

Please register yourself through the registration form on this webpage. You will be asked to answer a number of questions on your enterprise, as well as to provide a motivation letter.

On December 5, 2022, the 10 entrepreneurs will be announced, who will participate in the semi-finals on December 8, 2022.

During the semi-finals, 5 finalists will be selected for the finals: 3 for the Start-Up Award and 2 for the Impact Award.

These finalists will participate in the Acceleration Bootcamp of entrepreneurship@WUR. At the end of this week, they will pitch their business idea in front of a jury during the finals on 10 February 2023.

Important dates AIEG 2023

Here are the key dates and deadlines:Registration deadline: December 1, 2022Result selection: December 5, 2022

Pitch training for all entrepreneurs in the Ideation programme of Starthub - november 29, 2022

If you have been selected for the semi-finals, the following dates are important:

Preparation session: December 6 or 7Semi final: December 8, 2022Acceleration Boot Camp Starthub: Week 6 or 7, 2023organized by entrepreneurship@WUR, lasts a week and offers the candidates for the AIEG finals a great opportunity to further develop their idea and prepare a high-level pitch. Final: 10 February 2023At the end bootcamp, the AIEG candidates will present their business idea to the jury of experienced entrepreneurs.

Jury 2023

Heleen van Poecke Investor

Heleen van Poecke

Heleen van Poecke is an investor at AtlasInvest where she focuses oninvesting in the Energy Transition and serves on the board ofinnovative Energy businesses EWT and Kayrros. Together with herfather Marcel she took the initiative to launch the AtlasInvestEntrepreneurship Grant. Heleen holds a Bachelor and Master inEconomics from Erasmus University and a Masters in BusinessAdministration from Harvard Business School.

“Having and amazing business idea is step 1, step 2 is to find a way to execute on 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!"

Laura Roosenboom Managing Partner

Laura Rooseboom

Laura Rooseboom is co-founder and Managing Partner of StartGreen Capital and Oneplanetcrowd. StartGreen Capital focuses on sustainable and impact investing. Oneplanetcrowd is one of the biggest sustainable and social crowdfunding platforms in the Netherlands.

Previously Laura was Managing Partner at DOEN Participations, the venture fund of Foundation DOEN of the Dutch Postcode Lottery. In the Netherlands, Laura was one of the first investors in sustainable businesses and supported many of the early “green’ companies in their growth. Before this, Laura was active as an account manager for private banking clients at NBC Vermogensbeheer, (now Fair Capital Partners).

“I find it important that young entrepreneurs in the area of sustainability and impact are being supported in their early stage with money and knowledge. An award like this can most certainly help.”

Jacqueline Pieters Non-executive director

Jacqueline Pieters

Jacqueline Pieters-Zetsma has over 30 years of management experience in advising and financing multiple companies in the international Food & Agribusiness space.

Jacqueline is currently chair of the University Fund Wageningen, independent board member and chair of the audit committee of Calysta (US), chair of the advisory board of The New Fork (blockchain) and Board member of Breadfruit House Dominica.

From ’92 to ’21 Jacqueline held positions at Rabobank as Global Head in M&A, in Food & Agribusiness Sector Banking, in Banking for Food and in Dairy. She was member of the Investment Committee Rabo Frontier Ventures, of Shareholder Council Rabo Partnership, of the Ethics Committee and of the Art Collection.

Jacqueline has a Master degree in Agricultural Economics at Wageningen University & Research.

“Connecting brain power of the braves with the network and experience of the seniors”

Katherine Sherrill AgTech Investor

Katherine Sherrill

Katherine Sherill is an investor in the food and agricultural spaces and pursuing two Master’s at Wageningen, in Environmental Sciences, with a focus in Soil biology, and Geo-information Sciences.

Having worked in the food and agricultural industries for almost 10 years, at a plant-based beverage company in finance and supply chain, andfinancialadvising, she is excited by opportunities to integrate environmental criteria more deeply in the private sector. Katherine seeks to invest in companies that support a shift towards sustainability and a circular economy whether they be in regenerative agriculture, environmental monitoring, or financial marketplaces.

“I am excited to see finalists' creating technologies and products that not only respond to a societal need but more importantly incorporate nature's intrinsic functioningand act to support these systems.”

About the initiators

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 student entrepreneurs: the AtlasInvest Entrepreneurship Grant. Through a pitch competition, student 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.

 Alumnus Marcel van Poecke and his daughter Heleen van Poecke.
Alumnus Marcel van Poecke and his daughter Heleen van Poecke.

AtlasInvest Entrepreneurship Grant 2022 winners

During the opening event of F&A Next, the two AtlasInvest Entrepreneurship Grant awards were presented. LumiNose's student entrepreneurs won the €35,000 Start-up Award with their 'Insect Odor Receptors': technology that mimics the sensitive sense of smell of insects. Urban Funghi, which grows oyster mushrooms in vacant buildings, won the Impact Award for the best social initiative with impact.

Read the news article here:

Alessia from Urban Funghi (on the right) with Sebastiaan Berendse (director CVC), Marcel van Poecke (instigator of the award) and Lies Boelrijk (director University Fund Wageningen)
Alessia from Urban Funghi (on the right) with Sebastiaan Berendse (director CVC), Marcel van Poecke (instigator of the award) and Lies Boelrijk (director University Fund Wageningen)

AtlasInvest Entrepreneurship Grant 2021 winners

A diagnostic platform, based on CRISPR-Cas, able to quickly and precisely recognize illnesses, and setting up microalgae production systems. These were the two themes with which the Wageningen start-up companies Scope BioSciences en Algreen 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.

Bart Scholten and Niek Savelkoul of Scope BioSciences. Photo: Guy Ackermans
Bart Scholten and Niek Savelkoul of Scope BioSciences. Photo: Guy Ackermans

Algreen – 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.

Algreen helps microalgae producers in all aspects of their business: from production to downstream, regulation and certification. They combine hands on experience with scientific knowledge and skills to co-develop the algae production system tailored to the client's needs. 

Their mission is ‘every day algae’. They strongly believe in the potential of algae to become a large scale commodity, replacing many traditional products, thanks to their unique properties and their sustainable and scalable production methods.

Stefano Canziani from Algreen at the Dutch Design Week

AtlasInvest Entrepreneurship Grant 2020 winners

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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Team members dr. Carlos Cabrera and Juan Cajiao, MBA and Industrial Eng. of Greencovery with their check. Photo: Guy Ackermans
Team members dr. Carlos Cabrera and Juan Cajiao, MBA and Industrial Eng. of Greencovery with their check. Photo: Guy Ackermans
Iris Houthoff and Mylium volunteer Hugo Hoenink with Heleen van Poecke. Photo: Guy Ackermans
Iris Houthoff and Mylium volunteer Hugo Hoenink with Heleen van Poecke. Photo: Guy Ackermans

Want to know more about the finalists? Read the news report here.