In November, the University of Luxembourg Incubator and Entrepreneurship Programme hosted their 11th Ideation Camp, an intensive 5-days long hands-on course for which teams are selected through My Big Idea competition.
Ideation Camp 11 took place in Maison des Arts et des Étudiants on Belval campus and started on Tuesday, 21 November with an Opening Ceremony, where 14 teams pitched their ideas in front of the audience for the first time.
By the end of the course 10 teams were pre-selected to pitch during the Closing Ceremony on Saturday, 25 November in front of the executive jury: Diego De Biasio, CEO of Technoport, Marco Caldana, Founder and Chair of FARAD Group, Michel Rzonzef, President of LBAN, Prof. Marie-Hélène Jobin, Vice Rector for Partnerships and International Relations of the University of Luxembourg, Luisa Ferreir, Head of Social Programme at EIB Institute a, Programme and Innovation Manager at FNR Sakthivel Manikandan Sundharam, and Joëlle Welfring, Member of Luxembourg’s Parliament (Déi Gréng).
The winner of this edition is Circu INVENT team, which consists of two student researchers of the University: Jeff Mangers and Alexej Simeth, The team won €10,000 to invest in their venture. Circu INVENT is developing a circular economy assessment tool to help product designers in the packaging industry create recyclable product designs with lower penalty fees.
“Starting from a scientific development, the Ideation Camp provided an ideal environment for us to challenge and further shape our idea by offering a secure space for critical examination and refinement through interactions with business angels, mentors, a high-level jury, and fellow participants,” said Jeff Mangers. “We highly recommend this intensive competition as it not only jumpstarts the development of your own concept but also fosters multidimensional thinking. Congratulations to the entire Incubator and Entrepreneurship Programme team for this great event!”
With so many great ideas, it was difficult for the jury to select only one winner so thanks to the generous contribution from Technoport, the runner-up team, AI-Heal Tech formed by three students – Danial Tabbakh, Ulisse Saverio Bassi and Mahdi Panjehpour – won €5k to invest into their project. AI-Heal Tech proposes to create a platform to enable predictive analysis of neurodegenerative diseases. “Entrepreneurship is not just a project, it’s a state of mind”, said Prof. Marie-Hélène Jobin. “This week the teams have made a major shift in the way they see the world.”
Prior to the Ideation Camp 11, My Big Idea competition was run throughout the month of October to select the teams for the Ideation Camp and to reward the best business idea. This year the winner of My Big Idea competition was Emblem, a social media platform that aims to evolve the way we explore and remember our experiences and accomplishments on each journey. The team consisting of Daniel Michels, Miguel Curtido Linares, Saad Shakeel and Pit Baumgot won a €1,000 cash prize provided by FARAD Group and was qualified for the Ideation Camp 11 among other selected teams.
The organisers of the Ideation Camp invite the leaders of Luxembourgish ecosystem to participate as mentors. Three mentors also act as ‘Guardian Angels’, providing round-the-clock consulting on their few assigned teams throughout the entirety of the Ideation Camp: owner of Verbalius Pedro Castilho, tech startups value creator and investor Shai Haim, and co-founder of Balloonary.com Brice Dondelinger.
The Guardian Angel of the winning team, Brice said: “I love the intensity of Ideation Camp. It requires a lot of commitment from the participants. It’s hard at times for sure, but we also laugh a lot.”
Each day of the Ideation Camp 11 started with a workshop (on finding product-market fit the first day, on pitching the day after and on idea protection the last day), followed by teamwork, and intensive mentoring. Participants ate, slept, and lived on campus throughout the whole Ideation Camp. “Ideation Camp 11 was an odyssey!” said Siva Bactavatchalou, Manager of Entrepreneurship Programme of the University of Luxembourg. “The combination of dedicated participants, supportive mentors and jury members, and the overarching commitment of the University creates an environment where entrepreneurial dreams are not just nurtured but flourish. A special mention goes out to the participants who delved into sustainable topics, proving that Ideation Camp is not just as a platform for business ideas but a catalyst for solutions that contribute to a sustainable future. The commitment of the participants has been nothing short of inspiring. Here’s to the Ideation Camp and its profound impact on shaping the future of entrepreneurship! I am very proud of the winning team.”
“That’s a fantastic outcome!” summarised Pranjul Shah, Manager of the University of Luxembourg Incubator. “Ideation Camp 11 has achieved notable success with two research-driven projects winning top prizes. Rising participation in Ideation Camps reflects researchers’ increasing interest in entrepreneurial pursuits while underscoring the University’s commitment to merging academic excellence with innovation. The surprise ‘Coup de Cœur’ award from Technoport further validates the University’s role in nurturing early-stage founders, demonstrating wider recognition from the startup ecosystem. This success is a testament to collaborative efforts between academia and the startup community, showcasing the University as a hub for innovative initiatives.”