Drinks Pitches & Demos, 2019

It’s the logical thing to do, both organizations say. By joining forces, the Eindhoven-based communities of Drinks, Pitches & Demos (DPD, 720 members) and Kickoff EHV (more than 2,000 students involved) think they are in a better position to reach their goals. DPD is primarily visible with a monthly event for the local high-tech community and a newsletter. Kickoff EHV is organizing events in an attempt to lower the bar to entrepreneurship for students. As the first visible signs of the collaboration, the two will organize events and start publishing a joint newsletter.

“At Kickoff, we’ve been learning and hearing about the openness, and willingness to collaborate that’s present in the region, but this might be the best example of that” Jovan Sakovic says. “We realized that we have a very similar vision, and embraced the little differences to get together and work on something that’s going to have a stronger impact on a wider audience.” Sakovic says he now feels how important it is to be aware of what’s going on in the region, “and to be connected with the world outside of the University, in order to understand the innovation and the spirit of the ecosystem.” Because of all this, it’s no more than logical “ to connect the youngsters and the experienced.”

Both communities are active in the Eindhoven high-tech ecosystem for years already. DPD recently celebrated its fifth birthday, DPD wants to ignite cool ideas and share dilemmas. Drinks, Pitches & Demos is an informal gathering with drinks and demos for start-ups, innovators, and inspired professionals. Everyone can join every first Wednesday of the month from 17:00 to 19:00. Members get a monthly newsletter with the highlights of the event and some extra news from the community.

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TU Eindhoven, Design Academy and Fontys

Kickoff EHV is already around since 2008, first as the ‘Eindhoven Student Business Club’. Bringing entrepreneurship closer to students of Eindhoven was and is the main goal. It all started from the awareness that the idea of entrepreneurship as a career choice among students needed some extra exposure, and that still is the Kickoff’s main driver. In the beginning, it was fully connected to the TU Eindhoven, now also students from Design Academy and the Fontys University of Applied Science are welcome to join.

“We’re proud to be able to include both Design academy and Fontys students with Kickoff EHV”, adds Kickoff’s Bruno Brandsen. “We value the importance of interdisciplinary collaborations. Openness to learning from each other and embracing the diversity between one another. Our ambition with collaborating with DPD is to spread out this view even more. Entrepreneurship should be accessible for everyone!”  

Brandsen is convinced that the new collaboration will help to spread Kickoff’s reach in the region. “The problem within Eindhoven is not the existence of great opportunities, but we feel like many ambitious and entrepreneurial-minded students are not aware of all these opportunities. DPD is the perfect example of an event in which these opportunities are visual in an accessible way. And that’s exactly the mission of Kickoff EHV: Making entrepreneurship more accessible for students in Eindhoven. We hope to connect the generations and learn from each other while collaborating. The young and experienced perspectives on innovation are the ideal mix.”

Logical Next Step

DPD’s Hans Meeske is looking forward to the new partnership. “We’ve already been working with students for years, especially the student teams. We support them in project management and leadership development, also with the help of my colleague Roel Wessels at Holland Innovative. We feel the strength and passion in working together. With DPD, we like to connect people, markets, arenas, and the connection with Kickoff EHV is a logical next step.”

Meeske’s co-founder Bert-Jan Woertman says the new partnership will open even more doors for members of both communities. “Our passion is open innovation. We know that it takes an ecosystem to turn ideas into business. That’s why we’ve started DPD. To bring people together to share knowledge and network, to move this region forward even faster. Over the years DPD has evolved, it’s now an important meeting place in the networks of people here in Brainport Eindhoven. And the formula is still the same, an informal event where people can mingle, pitch with a call to action for the group, or just get up and ask a question. With Kickoff EHV, we’re connecting generations of innovators and entrepreneurs. The TU Eindhoven is the source of talent and technology for our region.”

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Author profile picture Bart Brouwers is co-founder and co-owner of Media52 BV, the publisher of innovationorigins.com.