The summer holiday is here and the countdown until the next academic year has begun. And the question that comes to mind is; are we ready for the next half year? Have our business targets been met and our goals achieved? Well, at Mercator Launch we can definitely say that the first half of 2021 has been quite eventful and successful.
Even though the IMPROVE programme had to be organised online, we managed to run two successful tracks with a whopping 22 startups. The programme spots filled up pretty quickly. We even had to turn down a couple of applicants to make sure we had enough time to focus on the individual startups and entrepreneurs.
It is very rewarding to see the entrepreneurs and their startups grow during their journey within the programme. Several entrepreneurs started (or even completed) pilots during their tracks and a lot of connections have been made with some of our partners in the field. This resulted in many cups of coffee at Startup Nijmegen, introductory sessions at Oost NL and informative meetings with Gemeente Nijmegen. A couple of entrepreneurs checked their market statistics with the Rabobank and their Intellectual Property (IP) with the Octrooibureau. Two of this years’ startups have even been nominated for the Most Innovative Student Award, which is a great confidence booster. One startup had the honour to pitch at SmartHub Incubator Industry (SHII) in front of directors from big manufacturing companies! All in all, it has been great to watch all 37 programme participants further develop and grow their businesses.
Of course, the digital aspect of this years’ programme brought some difficulties. For instance, running a session or coaching through Zoom is far from ideal. It is hard to keep the focus and interaction high and to maintain that personal touch that really characterizes our programme. However, organising everything digitally also had its advantages: it was possible to ‘dial in’ from anywhere in the world. This possibility resulted in having entrepreneurs calling in from at least 5 (!) different countries and different time zones for a session. Now that’s what we call dedication! And occasionally bumping into an entrepreneur after an online session at the local supermarket has become more special than before.
We are very happy that all participants rated the quality of our programme very highly and that everyone would recommend it to any starting innovative entrepreneur. The participants praised our extensive coaching and were all very happy with the progress they made during the programme. This is of course what the tracks are designed to do, but nevertheless; we are very proud to see that the reality lives up to the expectation.
We are so proud of everyone who participated in the IMPROVE programme this year and we are already looking forward to meeting new entrepreneurs after the summer. So, do you have an innovative idea? And do you want to become an entrepreneur? Check out our IMPROVE programme and sign up!