We will provide you with the answers to the Frequently Asked Questions from your peers.
About starting a business
- Is my idea any good?
- Am I cut out to be an entrepreneur?
- What if I'm not cut out to be an entrepreneur?
- How to combine a company and my education?
- How to start a company?
- Do I really need a businessplan?
- How do I perform market research?
- What are the costs of STARTUP/eindhoven's services?
- How can STARTUP/eindhoven help me save costs?
- How can STARTUP/eindhoven help me generate more revenue?
- How can I return the favour?
The question is what you consider to be good. What do you want, at what point can you say that the idea brought success? A regular income? Building a profitable business? Having an impact on people’s daily lives or making a difference on a societal level? The financial value of an idea can be determined at the moment you have paying customers for your product or service.
Get started and validate your idea
- ‘Stresstest’ your idea. Approach Steven van Huiden to schedule the appointment for an intake.
- Eindhoven University Business Club: informally discuss your idea among peers. Contact them for more info.
- Apply the idea in entrepreneurship course like Entrepreneurship in Action. Contact Myriam Cloodt to discuss the possibilities.
Participate in a wide range of extra curricular activities: lectures, pressure cookers, contests, workshops et cetera. Check the (TU/e agenda) for more info.
There is no typical entrepreneur, as entrepreneurs come in different shapes. Overall, successful entrepreneurs are said to be ready to take a risk, are determined, competitive and creative and possess strong social skills and a high level of confidence. Several online quickscans are available, for example the Chambre of Commerce test.
No problem, there are enough other options.
- Become an intrapreneur. TU/e SURE Innovation offers the opportunity to be entrepreneurial, without the risks associated with running an actual business. For more info, contact Hans van Dinteren or Monique Greve.
- Join a startup: you do not have to take the lead in taking your idea to the market, the most important challenge is to carve out the right role for yourself. Contact ESBC and/or Steven van Huiden to get access to the entrepreneurial network events and start your search for a business partner. Although matchmaking is quite hard, in rare cases Steven might also be able to directly connect you to likeminded peers who are looking for new team members.
- Let a company develop your idea into a product or service. Or develop your idea into a marketable product or service as an employee of an existing company.
- Give your idea/product away to the public domain: especially for online products. Creative commons licenses are meant to facilitate this.
First of all: it is a challenge. Secondly: organisation is everything, in preparing to set up a business as well as running it. The majority of successful alumni started their business during their time as a student, and there are numerous possibilities to combine setting up a business and educating yourself at the same time. For tips and tricks, see here. If you have to choose, we advise you to always finish your education. You can start your business at any point of time in your life. A fulltime academic education is a once in a lifetime opportunity. And if the startup fails you still have your diploma.
- Get advice from fellow students who are in the middle of this balancing act. Just be brave and approach your peers in the Flexroom or during events. Contact the ESBC for more info and join our (networking)events.
- Contact the study advisor of your faculty study advisor at your faculty to align your academic education with working on your company.
- Combine the preparation of setting up a company with earning ECTS by following for example an entrepreneurship course like Entrepreneurship in Action. Contact Myriam Cloodt to discuss the possibilities. Another option is to apply the idea in a BEP or in a TU/e innovation Space project. Get in touch here. For all the options in the curriculum, contact study advisor at your faculty.
Starting a company is easy. Basically, you need perform these activities: choose a legal entity, register at the Chambre of Commerce and open a bank account. Once registered at the Chambre of Commerce, you will receive a VAT-number (Dutch: BTW-nummer) which enables you to be part of the “economic traffic” and charge Value Added Tax.
The Chambre of Commerce is located on the TU campus. Please contact this location for registration and further information on the formal procedure of starting a company.
Officially? No. Only 15% of all new ventures start with a business plan. In practice, we advise you to make a business plan: to make sure you thought of everything, to get your story straight, to decide on marketing and sales strategy and to get some grip on your financial planning. Especially for knowledge intensive ventures, this proves to be a bare necessity. It is definitely indispensable when you are dealing with coaches or when you are raising money. Also make an executive summary and a presentation that can be easily shared (confidentially).
There are several examples of a business plan format available on the internet. STARTUP/Eindhoven is also happy to coach you when you are composing and revising the business plan. Just reach out to us or drop by.
Lack of proper market research is one of the biggest pitfall for starting entrepreneurs. Next to the standard desk research about market size/scope/competition, validating your assumptions on what customers might need, want and how it helps them getting their job done is crucial. Getting “out of the building” and engaging in customer conversation not only gives insight in the potential need for your product or service, but also provides essential feedback that enables you to decide what the offer should specifically look like. Otherwise your idea remains a nice theory…
STARTUP/eindhoven is part of TU/e Innovation Lab. TU/e Innovation Lab is the expert center that helps translating knowledge into business and stimulates entrepreneurship at the TU/e. For this purpose there is an enthusiastic and experienced team of coaches, advisors and supervisors available to help TU/e staff and students as well as external parties.
In principle our services are free of charge. However in the rare case where the university ‘significantly invested’ in you and/or your company we have to discuss a fair return.
For example, there are cases where TU/e paid expensive patent costs upfront for student entrepreneurs, while they couldn’t afford it, so that the patent could be filed and the company could be founded quickly. For running the high risk of failure and paying the costs, TU/e deserves a return.
Housing and facilities: STARTUP/eindhoven offers its Flexroom, a free working space with ICT facilities, large roof terrace and coffee. A place where you can work concentrated, but can also invite clients and business associates. Please see this link for registration.
Coaching & Learning: the community of entrepreneurs, coaches and STARTUP/eindhoven prove to be a valuable pool of experience and network. The business sessions and events are a means to keep up with the latest insights for startups without additional fees.
Specialized business services; STARTUP/eindhoven collaborates with organisations that are able to provide you with specialist advice in fields such as product development, corporate finance, legal, IP, Human Resources, on- and offline marketing and sales. Also STARTUP/Eindhoven partnered with several Cloud Partners. Prices for these services vary from free to a fee with a STARTUP/eindhoven discount.
Access to market: we have liaisons and relations with large and small companies in a wide range of markets, ranging from energy to creative industry and high tech systems to agriculture. By introducing you to the right informal investor/customer/channel partner/supplier, we are able to open up new worlds, or at least save you a lot of time.
- Access to funding: we have access to the Brabant Startup Fund, an early stage fund with the mission of funding startups just like you. For while for startups based on a scalable technology, there is €50.000 minimum up to €350.000 available. Further, we are able to guide you through the forest of subsidies and funding possibilities like Angel investors. As a first tip: visit mkbfinancieringsgids.nl for a first overview.
- Access to competitions, awards and events: STARTUP/eindhoven will always try to make you aware of interesting competitions where you might win some prize money.
- Also we’ll nominate you for awards, which in some cases might be coupled to prize money. These awards give you some credibility. Quite often there are special events where you can pitch your proposition and network with companies, funders, potential customers etc. It is up to you to convince them.
- Access to knowledge: as a partner of the TU/e, we have access to (applied) research/researchers and prototyping facilities as well as an extensive technology portfolio that might enable you to take the next step in the development of products or services.
Since our support is generally a free service from the university we’d ask you kindly to help us out in return, mostly in kind.
- Please mention in media and in public that STARTUP/eindhoven supported you.
- Pay it forward – share your knowledge with peers. New entrepreneurs can learn a great deal of more experienced fellow students and alumni.
- Be active in the community & join our events.
- Help us out in case we ask you to join in for a showcase. For example by giving a lecture/ interview or by sharing a stand at an event with us. Think of it as extra exposure J
- Shares or other financial arrangements – Depending on how much the university did for you/your startup we can arrange a collaboration deal. Think of it as an asset to be a TU/e company, in terms of branding, credibility, access to a huge network, doors that open more easily etc.
- Future donation – when you have built a successful company, please think back of where you first got started. With a donation, as big or small as you want, we can keep STARTUP/eindhoven sustainable, and ensure we can help the next generation too.
This is not obliged, but we highly appreciate it, so maybe, please…