Mark Twain famously said, “Don’t let your schooling interfere with your education.” But, when it comes to TU Delft, Twain might have reconsidered his words. According to students at the university, Delft is among the few technical universities globally where entrepreneurial skills are encouraged as much as classroom learning.
One of the most successful ventures of TU Delft is their YesDelft initiative. YesDelft is a business incubator started by TU Delft, the Delft Gemeente, and TNO. It encourages students and professors with ideas to set up companies and provides tangible support. Over 100 companies have already opened under their banner.
“YesDelft is a great initiative on the part of TU Delft to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship from both students and their supervisors. It provides a very good launch pad to take their research to the next level. The motivation, as seen from the field of IC design, is to bring the success of global business models in, say for example the Silicon Valley, to Netherlands,” says Seyed Morteza Alavi, who is doing his PhD in Electronics.
One of their success stories is Conference Compass, a company which makes mobile applications for conferences and is now expanding all over Europe. The company was the brainchild of Jelmer van Ast and Mathieu Gerard, who came up with their big idea in 2008, while still doing their PhDs. “At first we brainstormed together for a year. In July 2010, we beta tested an app on an old Nokia phone and decided that the prototype was definitely worth developing. That’s when we approached YesDelft and they were willing support us, as long as we believed in the idea and could give them some projections. We were also asked to do a course to introduce us to various aspects of business management,” explains van Ast.
First published in TU Delta. To read the complete story, click here.