> KU LEUVEN

ENTREPRENEURIAL HUBS BUILD BRIDGES

Innovation is closely intertwined with entrepreneurship – of that, the KU Leuven Faculty of Engineering Technology is firmly convinced. That’s why entrepreneurship gets a great deal of attention in the training of our engineers. Het Eiland and cocoon2440, the entrepreneurial hubs at Geel Campus and De Nayer (Sint-Katelijne-Waver) Campus respectively, further refine the entrepreneurial skills of our budding engineers.

Entrepreneurship is trainable. That’s why all our Engineering Technology students are introduced to the opportunities offered by innovative technological applications as a part of their training. They learn to cope with complex issues and uncertainty in a team setting.

BUSINESS COACHES
Our students are thoroughly familiarized with the world of business. They go on company visits, make research trips and are given the opportunity to get started on challenges presented by companies and other organisations – under the supervision of expert coaches.

And companies and organisations naturally find their way to our campuses when they are looking for innovative solutions to technological problems. Researchers, lecturers and students work with them to find the right answers.

This interaction between university and business is not only stimulating, it also benefits both parties.

FOOD BARS WITH INSECTS
The entrepreneurship hubs in Geel and SintKatelijne-Waver are further strengthening the connections between science, technology and entrepreneurship. Het Eiland (De Nayer) and cocoon2440 (Geel) are primarily coworking spaces. Students with a business project meet start-up entrepreneurs and begin collaborating on their innovative projects or designs. At Het Eiland, we work in partnership with colleagues from Thomas More University of Applied Sciences; Cocoon2440 also has a strong link with the unique bioscience engineering technology degree: in a modern kitchen, students experiment with trendy drinks such as kombucha and healthy food bars based on chickpeas or insects.

EDIBLE STRAWS
Aspiring entrepreneurs are supported by faculty-trained business coaches. The coaches provide input and practical assistance and encourage these young people to participate in innovation challenges: working as a team on a tangible (bio-)technological solution for a social or industrial issue. This often results in surprising inventions, such as an edible straw that makes recycling superfluous.

EUROPEAN UNION
Het Eiland and cocoon2440 are themselves textbook examples of synergy between local government and education. The city councils of Geel and Mechelen joined forces with KU Leuven, Thomas More University of Applied Sciences and a local youth organisation.

With the support of the European Union (ERDF) and the Flemish government (VLAIO) they build communities for young go-getters. The partner organisations have their own entrepreneurial hub, but a common mission: to give entrepreneurial young people a boost. The success stories follow.

KU LEUVEN

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