Innovation Journey ends with a BANG: the Entrepreneurship School!


Last week, 32 young engineers joined the Entrepreneurship School – the last stop on the Innovation Journey 2015 – 2016.

The Innovation Journey, which is part of the MSc Energy for Smart Cities programme, encourages students to work in teams to transform challenges (from real companies) into innovative prototypes. The former Summer School was yet another jam-packed week with innovative workshops, company visits and intensive coaching.

The visit to ‘De Ceuvel‘ was probably one of the highlights of the course. The Ceuvel site is a workplace for creative and social enterprises. It serves as a new blueprint for urban development, where decentralized technologies and full recycling of local resources empowers urban areas to be self-sufficient. The students got an extensive tour at the site, and a presentation explaining the planning and objectives of ‘De Ceuvel’. Furthermore there were also some interesting workshops of Erik Boer (Start-up Hypothesis Validation), João Miguel Dias (Venture Capital Financing of Start-ups) and Alexander Kaatz. Lastly, after a year of hard work the final entrepreneurship proposals were presented during the Innovation Competition on Friday 1 July.

Applying all techniques they learned during the past school year, the students pitched their prototypes to a professional jury at the Innovation Competition. This jury consisted of: Prof. Johan Driesen (EnergyVille), Paul Voskuilen (Alliander) and Xavier Crusat (Innovation Manager). After a vast deliberation the next teams were awarded the top three winners: Netploit, FASCOM and El Contenidor! Want to know more about these projects and the challenges they answer to? Keep on reading!

  1. Netploit – challenge provided by COMSA EMTE
    This challenge was about facing the expected future penetration of electric vehicles and its impact in tertiary buildings. Baring in mind the difficulties of exceeding the contracted electricity supply, mostly due to limitations of the substations’ capacity. The objective was to provide a charging system for Electric Vehicles and a feasible business model at the same time. That’s why this team created Netploit, a solution that takes advantage of bidirectional chargers, demand side management and the creation of an app for the users.
    (Congratulations to Alvaro Picatoste, Anastasia Sampani and Salman Shahid)
  2. FASCOM – challenge provided by SIARQ
    This challenge was about making a smart device out of a product that already existed, FASCOM, a streetlight powered by a solar panel. The solution is a new concept of smart urban furniture, able to combine street lighting, micro-generation of solar energy and support for smart city devices. One of it’s unique features is the safety mode. Thanks to motion sensors, the light intensity can change. More than energy saving, the information can show how often and how much is a street occupied, providing data on which streets are usually occupied in order to make the pedestrians feel safe and confident.
    (Congratulations to Stavros Bouklas, who also was handed an internship at SIARQ for his work)
  3. El Contenidor – challenge provided by Atenues de Fabricacio
    This challenge was about finding a new functionality and location for some containers that were formerly used as classrooms. The team also had to find new social usages, with accepted value, that would mean benefits for the neighborhood community. The solution, El Contenidor, offers charging stations for mobile devices. These stations are geared up with fitness bikes and solar panels to generate electricity. Furthermore there is also the possibility to boost social coherence by adding a second container to fulfill the needs of the particular location or event.
    (Congratulations to Ahmed Jaudat Nahian, Elias De Keyser and Mina Mirzadeh)

Of course we would like to congratulate ALL students / young engineers who took part in this year’s Innovation Journey as well. Enjoy your holidays, and get ready for next year’s edition!

Interested in providing your own challenge for next year’s innovation journey? The call for challenges is now open until 25 July!