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Intercontinental creativity and digital innovation at the Ideation Camp 8

Updated: May 10, 2021

The eighth edition of the Ideation Camp went online last week, hosting not only the brightest minds of the University of Luxembourg but also a student delegation from the Miami University. Participants had an opportunity to work in interdisciplinary and intercontinental teams while being supported by the industry leaders internationally.

Opening Ceremony on the 27th of April saw 39 different ideas pitched by participants, followed by the vote where the top ideas were selected and teams of 4-5 participants were formed around each of them. Erica Monfardini, Director of Administration and Finance at the University of Luxembourg, greeted participants, mentors and guests with a welcome note: “It is an honor for me to be a part of this initiative. Ideation Camp is extremely challenging so you need to stay strong and learn resilience but it is going to boost your soft skills and the qualities which will be precious for you when you are going to look for a job, when you need to work in teams and to inspire others”.

The next three days and nights, teams were working on the market research and business plan for their commercial ideas, supported by one dedicated full-time mentor each aka Guardian Angels. As oppose to Ideation Camp 7 where there were only three Guardian Angels, this edition hosted five to provide the participants with a maximum support throughout the event: business development expert and founder of Spoticle Brice Dondelinger, public speaking expert and founder of Verbalius Pedro Castilho, startup growth strategist Rashmi Vittal, sales and marketing consultant Ruchi Jaju, startup bootcamp expert and serial entrepreneur Shai Haim.

“This was my first experience with the Ideation Camp,” – comments Ruchi Jaju. “What stood out for me in the course of the event was the fact that students were very receptive to working with each other while understanding the strengths and weaknesses of every individual. Having experienced the corporate environment myself, I know how important it is to get the synergies right with your colleagues. Ideation Camp is a great example of providing an on-job experience to all the participants and it could not get more real than this. It not only prepares the participants to enter into entrepreneurship but it also prepares them for the corporate world. Ideation Camp is a great platform to learn how to manage teams and conflicts, exercise your mind in different directions and come with the best possible solution, stay focused, and practice agile decision-making. Textbook knowledge can be gained anytime but dealing with people and challenging situations is what Ideation Camp prepares you for".

Closing Ceremony on the 1st of May featured 9 impressive pitches, covering diverse business ideas in GreenTech, Social, FoodTech and other industries. All the pitches received a very good feedback from the Jury: Head of Partnerships and Ecosystem Alex Panican, Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs at the University of Luxembourg Catherine Leglu, Erica Monfardini and Managing Partner of Elite Circle and Manager at SES Simone La Torre.

“I have now acted as a judge for the fourth time on the Ideation Camps,” – comments Catherine Leglu. “Two were in person, and two have been online. Nothing can replace the excitement of an in-person event but the online alternative allowed students to benefit more from detailed interactions with their mentors, and it also permitted well-earned, regular breaks throughout the week. There are advantages to both approaches. I enjoy seeing the creative and resourceful solutions that our students are finding for the challenges of today. The Ideation Camp is an excellent transversal addition to our University programmes. Students learn to work in teams, to share and to prioritise ideas, and to work out how to identify a need, how to propose an answer for that need, and, finally, how to identify (or even to create) the market for that answer! This is a big set of objectives for a few-days-long event but they always manage to produce something for the panel of judges to consider. We require our Bachelor students to spend at least one semester on mobility abroad during their studies, and it is clear to me that a week spent on developing a new idea for a business or an initiative is another good example of the ways in which we develop our students’ experiences and ambitions (for Bachelor, Master and PhD students alike)”.

The winner of the Ideation Camp 8 is NexPerience team formed by the students from both universities: Aymeric Le Drezen from University of Luxembourg, Kyle McCorvey and Max Rattner from Miami University, Myriam Merz and Yacine Abbas from the University of Luxembourg.

“Signing up for Ideation Camp, I was very excited to leave my comfort zone of biomedical sciences and put my translational skills to the test,” – says Myriam Merz. “When I first saw the timeline for the 3 days, I felt apprehensive about my qualifications and the merit I could bring to my team. After the groups were formed, I felt more at ease. We exchanged ideas, thoughts, and knowledge without restrictions and at a fast pace. It was invigorating and exhausting at the same time. Whenever we felt stuck, our Guardian Angel (Brice Dondelinger) gave us a nudge in the right direction and when we felt confident, he encouraged us to do even better. Getting a lot of different inputs from mentors and organisers did feel overwhelming at times but we evolved as a group and stayed true to our goals. I am glad to have taken on this challenge because it showed me the real value of my skills and strengths. I am also truly grateful to have met my amazing teammates who, with all their skills and passion, were truly inspiring. Winning the Ideation Camp was an added bonus but the real value was to see how much we could achieve within the timeframe and how to leverage the most from individual strengths”.

Glenn Platt, Director of Armstrong Institute for Emerging Technologies at Miami University, commented: “We were eager to get our students involved in Ideation Camp for a number of reasons: to meet fellow University of Luxembourg students who share their passion for entrepreneurship, to learn more about the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Luxembourg and to network with and meet the mentors and Guardian Angels. We expected our students to be challenged by top-notch mentoring and domain expertise of their fellow team-members. We expected the experience to be enlightening about how entrepreneurship in Luxembourg is both similar and different from the United States. Our expectations were not only met but exceeded. Our students had an incredible experience”.

“I am impressed by the level of the projects presented at this Ideation Camp,” - returns Erica Monfardini. “This underlines the importance of these events, and of how useful they are to boost the competences of our students and to prepare them for their future career”.

The eights edition of the Ideation Camp went online last week, hosing not only the brightest minds of the University of Luxembourg but also a student delegation from the Miami University. Participants had an opportunity to work in interdisciplinary and intercontinental teams while being supported by the industry leaders internationally.

About Ideation Camp

Ideation Camp is an intensive course focusing on students’ personal growth, higher employability and learning new skills. After attending this event, students are often motivated to open their own enterprises. There have been already 8 successful editions with a total of 761 registrations, 363 participants supported by over 300 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 Our Choice.

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.


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