Business Day 2019: think BIG

Published on
October 1, 2019

“Finding Answers Together” was the motto during the second edition of the Business Day on 26 September 2019. The 200 participants, roughly 60% of whom had a business background, were able to meet and exchange ideas about new technologies, potential applications,
and their impact during various interactive meetings.

During the opening gathering, Rens Buchwald, member of the WUR Executive Board, invited the managers, innovators, developers, and policymakers present to think about how WUR should work on current major challenges such as climate change, overcrowding, malnutrition, and overconsumption. These challenges call for a transition and collaboration. He expressed the hope of "finding answers together" with the companies and with the people working in the WUR domain.

THINK BIG and be agile

The keynote speaker, Onno van der Stolpe — WUR alumni and founder of Galapagos NV — described the history of Galapagos and how it grew from a small start-up in Leiden with an idea for an anti-inflammatory against rheumatism to one of the largest biotech companies in Europe over the course of 16 years. Stolpe: “Value creation requires a long-term approach, but due to the deal with a major player in the pharmacy industry (Gilead) we can no longer be acquired. This has allowed us to work on developing our original ideas for ten years." He shared the lessons he learned over the past 16 years. “Follow your plan. Always think about the financing. Be agile and THINK BIG. Early on in Galapagos' history I already stated that we would become the leading EU biotech, much to the surprise of others. But I am the type who sets the bar high and keeps my eyes on the final objective.”

Pitches, W-EUROs and drawings

After the opening the visitors, many carrying umbrellas, attended the theme sessions at various locations across campus. They were able to indicate the subjects that would appeal to them beforehand, so that positive and lively discussions could be had, and new insights and ideas would emerge during the different sessions. The themes this year were: new proteins (Phenomea), climate problems (Lumen), data and platforms (Orion), phenotyping (Unifarm), circularity problems (Zodiac), and balanced nutrition and sustainability (Impuls).

For example, the topic of circularity involved brainstorming about the challenges and solutions to issues such as circular business models and the supply of sustainable biomass. The best ideas were pitched, after which the participants used money
(W-EUROs) to indicate which idea they thought had the most potential or had inspired them the most.


The Business Day ended with a networking cocktail hour in Orion. Take a look at the photos and the video to get an impression of this inspiring edition of our Business Day.

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