Business Engagement actions
Below a list of the possible activities to be executed by labs to engage with the innovators and business within their network.
Factory visits is an activity matching students and factories, or other places such as fablabs, companies.
A visit is a nice first activity to make in order to develop students’ awareness of the different career paths available to them, and comprehension of the T&C sector. The visit's main impacts on students are discovering new ideas and opportunities, and meeting T&C actors.
This activity requires a low budget (transportation to the place visited…) and little organization time if as a Lab you have close contacts with a student class and a place to visit.
A bootcamp involves T&C business partners and students. The concept? The business partners set a challenge they're currently facing to student teams. Several teams work on the same challenge (like in a contest), and try to offer innovative solutions to solve the company's challenge. Keeping the best of each team, the business partner would create a solution to be developed and exploited; all participants are then free to contribute to the development and implementation of the solution in question.
This format could really help to achieve the objectives of WP3 as it would both encourage young students to create innovative projects, but also allow them to put their already acquired skills to work for large companies. In addition to stimulating creativity and innovation, this format also brings together innovators and companies around a common project, creating links and laying the foundations for potential future hires or collaborations.
This activity requires some budget (the main expense is the place to hold the Bootcamp, and the meals for participants). Activity organization required around 1 month. Indeed, as a Lab you need to recruit companies who want to participate in the Bootcamp, frame a realizable challenge with these companies, recruit students to participate in the challenge, and prepare the agenda of the event.
A hackathon usually lasts between 1 and 3 days, and is addressed to students or emerging entrepreneurs. Participants are divided into teams and compete against each other to solve a challenge. Hackathons are close to Bootcamp in the format. However, in Hackathons, participants are not solving a company’s challenge, but developing a startup idea. A Hackathou aims at bringing out innovative projects. Through collective and accessible methodologies, participants can create a project out of an idea or accelerate the development of an existing project. Hackathons can be thematic, and thus linked to Shemakes topics.
Hackathons help participants to develop new ideas, network and meet T&C actors. Depending on the Hackathon’s theme, participants can get tech help (prototyping their idea if there are machines available). If there is an economic prize, participants also receive some economic help for their project.
This activity requires lots of organization and budget compared to the other activities of the business engagement set (at least 3 months). As a lab, the activity can be easily implementable if you have access to equipment for rapid prototyping, a network of coaches in different fields, and a big space where participants can work, but also chill and eat.
Meetings and interviews¶
This activity consists of organizing an encounter between students and inspiring individuals, such as entrepreneurs, creatives, or people working in T&C companies.
It can be a good “sensitization” activity to develop students’ awareness of the different career paths open to them, discovering new opportunities, and expanding their network in the T&C sector.
This activity requires a low budget and little organization time if as a Lab you have close contacts with a student class and an inspiring person, willing to share her career path.
Entrepreneurial ideas contest¶
"Entrepreneurial ideas contest” can be an activity aiming at boosting competitiveness and entrepreneurial density in a given territory, capturing and promoting the promotion of business initiatives among young people entrepreneurs, providing them with the instruments and resources necessary to develop their ideas in strategic sectors, as well as helping to consolidate existing companies and promote cross-border cooperation between entrepreneurs and companies.
The methodology can consist on 4 phases:
1- Contest and selection of the finalists 2- Mentoring for the 8 selected projects 3- Selection of the winner 4- Accompany to the winner to make a product
This activity answers various innovators’ needs, depending on the mentoring sessions (which kind of help is provided)
- Discover new opportunities (funding, visibility…)
- Network and meet T&C actors and mentors
- Increase their credibility in the T&C sector
- A tech help (prototyping, transitioning to industrialization…)
- An economic help (making a living out of the project, finding funds…)
Activity organization This activity requires a high level of budget and organization time (between 1 and 3 months). This activity needs the engagement of other stakeholders in the territory (fablabs, mentors…) and the knowledge of the needs of each project. It is not easy to implement with simple guidelines for novice labs.
You can access a more information on each phase :
Phase 1: Public Contest. Selection and awards given to the 8 finalists between designers, creatives, artisans, artists, architects, or engineers or the territory. Phase 2: Initial Mentoring. Process of mentoring of each project and first prototype fabrication. Phase 3: Selection of the winner. Each participant presented a report explaining the development of their idea, from the initial conception to the execution of the prototype, also indicating the necessary steps to subsequently manufacture the minimum viable product. Phase 4: Accompany to the winner. This phase consisted on the mentoring of the winner to make a product (10 hours)
Challenge solving workshop¶
Please find the detailed guideline for this activity here
Mentoring sessions consist in pairing expert mentors with project leaders who are facing a challenge that is hindering the development of their project.
Activity impact This format would allow women innovators to:
- Benefit from advice from qualified experts,
- Connect to the T&C business ecosystem that surrounds them and to professionals who could in the future become collaborators.
A mentoring session is easily implementable if you have access to a network of project leaders or early stage entrepreneurs, and experienced individuals who want to offer their advice as mentors.
Typical schedule of a mentoring session: 8.30 : Welcome, introduction and energizer 8.45 : Presentation pitch for entrepreneurs and expert mentors 9.00 : Peer-to-peer n°1 (each entrepreneur meets a first mentor on topic A) 9.25 : Peer-to-peer n°2 (each entrepreneur meets a second mentor on topic B) 9.50 : Conclusion and sharing of action plans
Focus groups are relevant to organize in order to discuss a project launch with various actors. REDU organized one with actors from academia, business and civil society - the proposed theme was the transformation of a hall of the technical university in Iasi into a Living Lab space, in which we proposed, under the same roof, a vegan bistro, a library with books on environmental protection, sustainable development, sustainability, a library of materials, the REDU workshop, MaiBine offices and also an event space and coworking space.
The main impact of the activity is to collect feedback and advice for the project. Focus groups also connect actors, and lay the foundation for future collaborations between these actors.
Organizing focus groups usually takes less than 1 month. As a Lab, you need to have ties with various actors in order to invite them to the focus group, and nothing more than a facilitator to keep things entertained, a big venue, meals, etc.