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.

These are the finalists!

AtlasInvest Entrepreneurship Grant 2020
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.

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.

Trajectory and data 2020

Acceleration Bootcamp - January 31st - February 7th 2020

During the Acceleration Bootcamp, the participants get a chance to further develop their ideas and prepare their pitch. This week is organised by StartHub Wageningen.

Semi finals & Pitch 'n Party – February 19th 2020

During the semi finals on February 19th the participants will pitch their ideas to a jury, who will make a selection of five finalists based on this.

Finale preparation track - February - May 2020

The five finalists will take part in a preparation track before the finale, where they can sharpen their ideas and pitches. This trajectory will include an investors check, a workshop in pitching skills and an impact assessment.

Final pitches – August 19th 2020

The finale will take place on August 19th 2020 in the studio of Starthub Wageningen. Due to the current corona restrictions, very few people are allowed to be physically present during the ceremony. However, the event can be followed online and the audience will be able to vote for the audience award during the ceremony!


Tessa Duste
Impact entrepreneur

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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 Moss, a green architectural firm. Furthermore, in 2017, Tessa co-founded Hrbs, 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

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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

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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, 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

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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.”

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! More information about AIEG 2021 and how to apply will follow soon.

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 upschaling 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.

About the investors

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.