“The IMPROVE programme is an eye-opening opportunity to learn more about building your business – the true magic of turning random ideas into concrete projects” – IMPROVE programme participant
NOTE: this inspirational story is based on a fictional character, we’ll name him or her ‘you‘ because it could be you. You decided to apply for the IMPROVE programme at Mercator Launch and this is your story.
“I found out that Mercator Launch helps academics and students with the commercialisation of their research results and business ideas. This is why I contacted them. I had an innovative idea and was wondering if I should build a business around it. I met with a Mercator Launch business coach who told me all about the support I could get from them. They can help you with IP checks, office space, network, and funding. It all sounded great, but I was really looking for way to figure out where to start and what to do. Luckily, they could help me with this too!
The flagship of Mercator Launch is the IMPROVE programme. IMPROVE is a one-stop-shop to test your business ideas, build your first prototype, get your first customer and build your founding team. Everything you need to get started or start growing. And the best part is: you don’t have to do it alone! You start the programme with other ‘wantrepreneurs’, so you meet like-minded people to share your highs and lows with.
“Mercator launch guides you through the enormous amount of choices you have to make when starting your own business” – IMPROVE programme participant
Last October, I started the programme with 27 fellow wantrepreneuers. We were grouped together based on which phase our business idea was in. This helped us focus on the different aspects of starting a business that were relevant for us at that time. The business coaches guided us through the 3-month-programme. They organized weekly sessions about certain topics, such as: determining the business value of your idea or product development from a customer perspective. In between the sessions we did research and tested our ideas by talking to potential customers. It was a lot of work, but definitely a great learning experience for me! Sometimes it was stressful to find out something did not work as I thought it was going to. But most of all, it was fun and exciting to see my idea come to life!
The result? Me and my fellow ‘wantrepreneurs’ worked out 19 innovative ideas and turned them into viable business concepts. Together we interviewed more than 125 potential customers and 9 of us already went to the chamber of commerce and launched their business. 7 of us wrote our first business plan. 5 teams even got their first funding.
Next to that, everyone in the Venture Track – the advanced programme -, got their first paying customer or paid pilot. To summarise for the BETA’s among us, this is a 100% score! 😉
Long story short: would I recommend it? Definitely! And so would everyone in my group. Just read the quotes.”
Are you ready to turn your idea into a solution?
Don’t hesitate and sign up for the next IMPROVE programme.