A day in the life of… Brechtje!

Usually my day starts running towards my bike and racing to the office, trying not to be late…. Note, being late is absolutely not done in business! Unfortunately, it’s a bad habit I can’t seem to shake. At the office we often joke that my introduction should be “Hi, I’m late and my name is Brechtje.”

The last couple of months however, my days have started differently. I don’t have to rush to get to work anymore, which saves me a lot of stress. So I snooze for a few times, I get dressed, and get a cup of cappuccino to start my day.

First on the agenda is an online meeting with Lumo labs and my colleagues from incubators in Amsterdam, Eindhoven, and Utrecht. Our ambition: to join forces and set up a joint support program and fund for AI startups. Artificial Intelligence is hot and the amount of AI-based innovations is booming. As a coach though, guiding AI-based startups is quite challenging since AI does not only have many fields of application and the usual technical challenges, but also a lot of legal and ethical implications.

After a fruitful meeting, I pour myself another cup of coffee and make a few phone calls. The first one is with our patent attorney who is helping me file a patent for one of our spin-offs. Yes, you heard that right! If your business idea originates from your university research, chances are the university will pay for the protection of this idea. My second call is with Mathijs Buddingh’ from Gemeente Nijmegen. The municipality is very supportive of entrepreneurs and invests a lot of time and money to strengthen the local startup ecosystem. Mathijs knows a lot of companies and locations in the region. One of our entrepreneurs is growing quickly and needs a cheap warehouse so I am hoping he knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone. I’m in luck and Mathijs is going to talk to a few people for me.

When I’m done with my calls, it’s already time for lunch. While I prepare my sandwich, I decide to call a colleague and ask her how she’s doing. I miss joking around with my colleagues during lunchtime, so I try to call them more often to remain connected to the workplace and to each other as a team. 

After lunch it’s already time for my one o’clock appointment. I’m meeting Kris online, one of our IMPROVERS. She developed Crowdience (a croudsourcing platform) during her PhD and is now continuing her activities as her own girl boss. During the IMPROVE sessions our candidates get an information overload and we meet up regularly for some 1-on-1 coaching to go over the content more in-depth.

The rest of the afternoon is all about Investor Readiness. Radboud University is a member of EIT Raw Materials, an EU platform for innovation that offers really nice funding and coaching programs to early-stage start-ups. I have been asked to (digitally) join the evaluation committee and review some of their Business Booster applications. Officially, I’m asked to rate the technical, organizational and economic viability of various business ideas. Basically, you ask yourself the question ‘Will this work, who is going to pay for this solution and will this team be able to do this.’

After 3 pitches it’s finally time to close my laptop while thinking ‘Man, I have the best job in the world!’

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