Ideation Camp 7 - The very first virtual Ideation Camp
Last month Ideation Camp 7 organised by the Entrepreneurship Programme of the University of Luxembourg gathered 50 participants supported by a total of 53 high profile mentors. Due to the COVID19 pandemic, this edition of the Ideation Camp had to go fully online for the first time. Even in virtual format, this Ideation Camp was as action-packed and challenging as previous six physical editions.
The event started with an inspiring Opening Ceremony on Tuesday where participants pitched their ideas, followed by the vote, after which the best ideas were selected to form teams of 4-5 participants to work on them. Throughout the event, all the teams were supported every step of the way by three dedicated and extremely experienced “Guardian Angels”: public speaking expert and founder of Verbalius Pedro Castilho, business development expert and founder of Spoticle Brice Dondelinger, and startup bootcamp expert and serial entrepreneur Shai Haim. Other 50 industry leaders from Luxembourg and abroad formed a “League of Mentors” which was carefully assessing the progress of each team every evening of their three days and nights of non-stop work. Participants of the event included current students and recent graduates of the University of Luxembourg from all levels of studies and different enrolled courses. They were carefully selected from over 100 applicants to ensure the dedication required for this intensive workshop.
In order to provide the teams an opportunity to test the market in the most accurate way, this edition of the Ideation Camp also partnered with digital marketing platform Balloonary.io. Within minutes from the launch of the Ideation Camp 7, the teams were able to create a landing page for their idea, hook up a survey and distribute it to their target audiences, gaining valuable insight into how the market responses to their idea. Balloonary is packed with features to help entrepreneurs and SMEs build, run and improve their marketing machine, and founders also kindly offered all participants the possibility to continue their entrepreneurial journey with this platform, even past the event itself.
The Closing Ceremony on Saturday featured top ten startup ideas in various areas, including sustainability, technology, fashion and food industry. These ideas were pitched in front of a high-profile jury, including LBAN Board Director Elias Chbeir, University of Luxembourg Vice-Rector for Academic affairs Catherine Leglu, LHoFT CEO Nasir Zubairi, Deputy Director of the Paperjam Club Ana Wiscour-Conter, and FNR Programme / Innovation Manager Sakthivel M. Sundharam.
The winning team of the Ideation Camp 7 is Homemade Eats, an online platform that connects cooks with foodies. The team was formed around the idea of Maroun Altekly, Master’s student in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Inspired by his mother’s homemade food and opportunities related to selling it to foodies, Maroun decided to build a business model around this demand. “I learned so much through working hard under pressure during this event and thanks to the fantastic mentorship provided by Guardian Angels,”- says Maroun. “This success is a result of coordinated work of my team: founder of Happy Local and Bachelor in Information Technology Sam Abdi, Doctoral researcher Amirhossein Adavoudi Jolfaei, Interdisciplinary Space Master Mariusz Ludwikowski, and Bachelor student in Business/Managerial economics Marius Smintina”. The winning team is awarded a free fellowship by the Founder Institute Luxembourg and University of Luxembourg Incubator. Homemade Eats team already expressed a desire to bring their business idea to life with a help of the Venture Mentoring Service of the University of Luxembourg Incubator.
Following the success of Ideation Camp 7, the next edition will take place from 27th of April till 1st of May 2021. Ideation Camp 8 also promises to be full of exciting events and innovative ideas as a group of students from the Miami University joins the University of Luxembourg students for this edition to bring an international perspective and global outreach to the event. “Transposing our flagship event into a virtual version whilst keeping the same level of engagement and outcome for our participants seemed almost impossible,” says Manager of Entrepreneurship Programme, Siva Bactavatchalou. “If someone told me how successful this first online edition of Ideation Camp would be, I would have never believed it! It was fascinating to see how participants use with ease our communication platform to teamwork, communicate, learn and brainstorm - all in one virtual place over three full days (and nights for some of our participants). The same goes for our many amazing mentors who did not hesitate to join us in this adventure and support our brilliant students. Remote and online working is taking a new and stronger dimension due to the pandemic and I am glad to see that the next generation of leaders graduating from the University of Luxembourg is ready for this new standard. I was also revealed to see that there was no video lagging throughout the Ideation Camp, even during the ten sessions of mentoring which were run in parallel with over 100 participants, so I would like to thank the University IT department who provided us a full non-stop support over this Ideation Camp”.
About Ideation Camp
Ideation Camp is an intensive workshop focusing on students’ personal growth, higher employability and learning new skills. After attending this workshop, students are often motivated to open their own enterprises. There have been already 6 successful physical editions with a total of 550 registrations, 265 participants and 234 experienced mentors. Some successful entrepreneurs that have resulted out of Ideation Camp series include: EdTech companies CheckMath and EduGamiTec; Social startups GoldenMe and Visibility STEM Africa; FoodTech startup Happy Local and GreenTech company OurChoice.
About Entrepreneurship Programme and Incubator
In 2017, the Entrepreneurship Programme and Incubator were both founded at the University of Luxembourg with the aim of teaching entrepreneurial skills to students, researchers and staff. Their common vision is to champion entrepreneurship education in Luxembourg and mentor future leaders to create economic and social value. Their mission is to build a bridge between the University and the professional world opening new career perspectives and opportunities to students.
The Entrepreneurship Programme offers business courses, masterclasses and entrepreneurial workshops to the University community developing skills beyond core education. Since its creation, the Entrepreneurship Programme has channeled over 1,500 participants through its different initiatives. Its most notorious events are Ideation Camp and Build Your Own Internship.
The University of Luxembourg Incubator is a place where the University community’s startups develop their ideas and receive guidance from mentors until they are able to start their own journey. The Incubator supports their business development through venture mentoring, by providing the networking opportunities and through its acceleration programme. Today, it hosts 35 startups in BioTech, Industry Automation and other areas. Since its launch three years ago, it has supported around 60 startup ideas and created over 70 jobs. It has also created a startup valuation of over €25M in total.
The Venture Mentoring Service (VMS) at the University of Luxembourg Incubator has been created under the license of MIT and as an affiliate sister programme. VMS provides experts from the industry who match each venture’s needs regardless of their startup stage. Today 35 mentors bring their knowledge of 750 years of total experience. Every mentor provides their support on a pro-bono basis.
Entrepreneurship Programme and Incubator of the University of Luxembourg are also proud to have entered into partnership with the University of Joseph Ki-Zerbo in Burkina Faso and Toutes a l’Ecole Association. With the University of Joseph Ki-Zerbo, they have hosted the first international Ideation Camp. The partnership with Toutes a l’Ecole Association has allowed them to welcome four very bright and talented students from Cambodia for a week of International Summer School.
The support and services at the University of Luxembourg Entrepreneurship Programme and Incubator offer one-stop solution for all entrepreneurial activities at the University.