The six success factors

Climate-KIC summer school student Maxe van Heeswijk blogs about the learnings of her group on The Journey through Europe. This week reflecting on their first two weeks in The Netherlands.

Problems transforming into business plans

All selected based on our motivation, enthusiasm and different backgrounds in climate change and entrepreneurship we kicked-off the Journey in The Netherlands. For me common ground as an Industrial Design Engineering student from the TU Delft but for others known as that tiny country below sea level in the North-Western corner of Europe. My fellow student Tessa explained in her blog about the first week of the summer school how we were introduced to the diversity of Dutch projects taking care of our future planet. As our problem statements start to transform into business plans in Norway, we reflect on our final week in the Netherlands.

Climate resilient cities

After a good night of sleep because of Sunday’s booth camp in the dunes we freshly started the second week in Rotterdam’s harbor on Monday morning. We got introduced into the most up to date and sustainable building elements for housing and their application in three concept houses built as living labs in corporation with the Delft University of Technology. The greenhouses on the roof and staircases are in use by its residents producing vegetables, solar panels take care of the energy supply and rainwater is collected for the plants. From the municipalities office we enjoyed the great view on the Erasmus bridge from the 42nd floor which was a perfect update for everybody’s Instagram. We hear about Rotterdam’s future plans as resilient city because being resilient is tomorrows way of being innovative.

Doing epic things

In order to beat the sustainability battle against the other Climate KIC Journey in Hamburg, we changed our comfy bus for the public transport. The train dropped us in Delft for a visit at incubator YES!Delft were a few Climate-KIC startups are based. In a journey learning how to starting your own business, there is nothing better than hearing the enthusiastic stories of young entrepreneurs themselves and see them working on their prototypes. Discussing the differences between the European and Silicon Valley startup vibe Frans Nauta talked us through topics as acceptance of innovation by the larger crowd and common pitfalls in new product development. Harish Reddy Mareddy (23), student energy engineering in Munich: ‘As we reflected the next day on his lecture and the YES!Delft visit it was clear that we could all dream of a start up doing ‘epic things’ following the five success factors: Comparative advantage, Compatibly, Complexity, Testability and Visibility.’

The Netherlands feels like a big incubator

As the summer school is there to bring our lessons into practice we went up the streets of The Hague on Thursday for short market research. Practicing ‘the Mom-test’ interview method we ask the opinions of our targeted consumers and reflect on our concepts. Trial and error means embracing failure and many, many, many iteration cycles for defining our problem statement and solution. How did we experience this straight away method for feedback without fishing for compliments? Ata Roxas(26) student environmental sciences, policy and management in Lund:’ It was very interesting to experience how honest and open the Dutch people are. This is very helpful in setting up a business and improve your ideas next to the variety in funding options. However, it was also the selection, quality and in depth topics which made it interesting to listen to all the guest lectures and visit the locations to see what is going on in the Netherlands on the level of sustainability and entrepreneurship.’ Mohaddesh Abdullahi (21), student environmental technology in London adds to that:’ The Netherlands seems like a hub on its own. I never realized there is this intense entrepreneurial vibe going on that it feels like a big incubator’.

Learning from critical questions

We combine our findings and experiences on Friday morning and share the do’s and don’ts for the perfect presentation. Posters and first prototypes are created to convince the jury of the potential success of sustainable business idea’s and we prepare for their critical questions. Niek Schumacher (24), student energy science in Utrecht: ’It was valuable advice from our coaches to carefully listen to the jury’s comments and recommendations. The less you talk and try to defend your not-perfect-yet-idea, the more you can make use of the jury’s knowledge to improve your business idea.’

Having fun along the way!

Completing our experience in The Netherlands full innovation, climate rescuers and entrepreneurial inspiration we spend the weekend relaxing our minds and recharge for our next destination by surfing the waves of Scheveningen and dancing at Europride in Amsterdam. Because of course the final and actually quite an important factor of a successful start-up, is also having fun!


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