A Bright Future: Student Entrepreneurship Excellence at the Maastricht University Challenge
February 15th, the Maastricht University Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Soapbox and 39 business partners organized the 2nd annual Maastricht University Challenge, the biggest student entrepreneurship event in Limburg. It was an exciting event that showcased the next generation of student entrepreneurs currently studying at different faculties of Maastricht University and Universities of Applied Sciences in Limburg. The University Challenge provided a platform for these students to share their ideas. About 150 participants have been working on 60 different projects during the past few months. 71 coaches from a diversity of partner companies have assisted the teams in the development of their business ideas. In the grand finale, the best 20 student teams got the opportunity to pitch their idea within one of three categories: Ideation, Prototype or Start-Up.
In the category Ideation, ‘Fungi for future’, captured the award of 2000 euros. This team wants to fight climate change and pollution of soil and atmosphere by emissions and petrol-based products (i.e. single-use plastic packaging). They aim to develop products based on mycelium, for which they use waste streams that are locally sourced or crops like hemp. Those products will put less straining on the environment at the end-of-life stage. The project was coached by VDL Nedcar, Admesy, LIOF and Fujifilm.
Aestuarium, received the winner’s cheque in the category Prototype with a sustainable solution for desalination of water. Current desalination of sea water relies on established methods such as reverse osmosis. But these methods are fossil fuel dependent, expensive and destroying habitats. Aestuarium’s solution is biodesalination. The addition of a green light activated chloride pump and sodium antiporters to the cell’s membrane allows for water desalination. With these techniques the team aims to convert sea water into fresh water and decrease fresh water scarcity. This project was coached by the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation of Maastricht University.
The start-up award was given to ‘Eatly’ whose goal is to fight food waste. These students are selling leftover greens and second-class fruits and veggies to Maastricht dwellers that retailers refuse because they do not fit the customer standards. They work closely together with local farmers and whole sellers to get these greens. So far, Eatly sells bags/boxes to local customers but also delivers restaurants in Maastricht. Until now, Eatly has already supplied more than 4000 kg of sometimes leftover and ‘ugly’ but tasty greens. LIOF coached this student team.
In addition, the Brightlands Smart Services Campus awarded both ‘Altered Minds’ and ‘Eetos’ with 4800 euros worth of mentoring. The audience saw the most potential in Methagone, with their solution for significantly reducing methane production of cows, and awarded them with 1000 euros.
More information on all these amazing student companies and the Maastricht University Challenge can be found at: https://www.maastrichtuniversitychallenge.nl/
Whether you're a student, investor, entrepreneur, or simply interested in the latest innovations, it is definitely an event worth attending. We hope you will join us next year!