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Incubators and accelerators normally focus on start-ups. Bright Society chose a different path: with its programmes, it directly invites talented young people and connects them to companies where they can grow. This way, they can enhance their professionalism in their early career.

During the programme, these young academics, all with a PhD degree, discover their passion and talent. After finishing, they will be able to launch their own programmes that have contractually guaranteed autonomy from Bright Society Office but do get access to its resources, including buildings. The programme provides these young talents with a $3500 bonus card to be used to study Dutch, and other interesting things to enhance their social well-being. Bright Society’s partner companies are charged on an hourly basis and that is how the company, as well as its members, make money. Formally, the Bright Society is the employer of the participants in their programmes.

One of the Founding Directors of Bright Society, Stijn Berden, says the company wants to ensure that talented students who have advanced mental abilities are able to join the Bright Society incubator at the High Tech campus and be true innovators in the city of Eindhoven. “The incubator’s fellows get an extracurricular programme which fit their mental capacities and shape their personalities, encouraging their self-esteem, and opening their future to brighter opportunities”, Berden says.

The role Bright Society plays in supporting talented and skilful students can be important for a city like Eindhoven. Start-up projects and the city’s effort to enhance technological innovation are placing growing emphasis on companies and institutions. There is perhaps no other area in Eindhoven that has such a high level of stronghold and interaction with students like the technological Industry, and Bright Society is trying to keep talented PhD students in Eindhoven.

Bright Society’s other Founding Director, Leon van Gerwen, says that the company is a talent incubator, facilitating young bright people to boost their early career. Its goal is to support the entrants, after which they are better prepared for their next challenge, as Bright Society believes in lifetime contact rather than a lifetime contract.

The Founding Director likes to bring people together and make them shine. “I always encourage creativity and entrepreneurship, in order to expose confidence and reveal talent. I believe in strong communities, based on trust and true human interaction. Bright Society brings this alive; a society of brilliant Bright people, inspiring each other and sharing valuable experiences”, he adds.

Success in the talented individuals’ early career is not measured by how many new things they have discovered, but rather by the direction they choose. At the Bright Society, the talented individuals are taught to discover their paths in order to boost their stake in the job market, Van Gerwen says. Fellows at the Bright Society are allowed to work on multiple projects for several companies and the Society offers them professional support.

Bright seats
During their assignments, the participants are linked with talented managers within leading technological companies in Eindhoven. Van Gerwen has created a programme, “Bright Seats”, which literally are chairs that are placed by companies who want to benefit from the talents Bright Society nurtured.

Giving back to the community has been a goal of the Bright Society from the beginning. Through its Foundation the Society members can develop, manage and execute their own Social Responsibility Projects. They have already started a project to help people with autism regain their self-confidence and be part of the technological development that is taking place in Eindhoven.

The response to the setting of the Bright Society in Eindhoven has been visible through the applications for the Bright Society Fellowship, and the Bright Society Incubator. One of the participants said: “If you provide leaders with opportunities to drive change, they will seize them. That’s as true in Eindhoven as it is in other cities in The Netherlands.”