The MSc in Technological Entrepreneurship focuses on academic diversity and inclusion. This has led to 14 new start-ups in a year.
At the MSc in Technological Entrepreneurship, the students are trained to become entrepreneurs who establish start-ups. They are doing so well that in the programme’s first year, 14 very different start-ups have been developed, including Uvisa, which focuses on women’s health, Tempty, which plans to launch an innovative alternative to meat, and CEUS, which develops a product to help detect early-stage intestinal cancer.
The success of the programme is to a large extent the result of academic diversity and inclusion, as it is the first MSc at DTU to admit students with widely different academic backgrounds, writes the Technology University of Denmark in a press release. That means that not only engineers, but also students with backgrounds in areas such as finance, the humanities, design, and architecture are enrolled in the programme. Furthermore, the students also come from different countries, such as the US, Germany, Hungary, Croatia, and Hong Kong. This creates good opportunities for putting together a versatile team in the early, creative start-up phase.
“One of the core values of the programme is diversity. We are the only study programme at DTU that accepts students without any technical training. We do this because all research shows that if you establish a start-up, you have a greater chance of succeeding if your team has different competences instead of, say, four programmers,” says Thor Rigtrup Larsen, Programme Manager at Technological Entrepreneurship.
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The programme bridges the gap between market and technology by combining real start-up ideas and technologies with courses in entrepreneurship, ethics, personal development, and sustainability. The multidisciplinary teams will be guided by entrepreneurs, start-up coaches, and lecturers with expertise and experience in entrepreneurship.
On a daily basis, the students spend time in the innovation environment at DTU Skylab, where they attend courses together with students from other programmes. Here, they also get quick access to development programmes, events, and networks. This has led to several of them participating in the HardTech competition Danish Tech Challenge, where 20 companies compete for DKK 500,000, or bringing home awards from the entrepreneurial competition Venture Cup, where the country’s best university start-ups compete against each other. Others receive funding.
“When the programme started last year, we weren’t sure whether the students from Technological Entrepreneurship would isolate themselves or be integrated across the academic environments at DTU. But we’ve been pleased to see that they’re establishing start-ups together with students from other fields,” says Jes Broeng. He is director of DTU Entrepreneurship and senior project manager for the entrepreneurial project Open Entrepreneurship, where experienced contractors are matched with researchers from Denmark’s universities to create new companies.
We can nurture our own teams at DTU
According to Jes Broeng, the mixed start-up teams mean that the entrepreneurship rubs off on the rest of the University. It fits well into the evolution he observes, where the University is moving away from offering a classic engineering programme towards meeting a demand for engineers that combine commercial knowledge with technical understanding:
“Today, DTU is in a strong position in the entrepreneurial field. This can help attract even better mentors and investors and mature the innovative environment at DTU.”
“We already have a well-developed ecosystem that, among others, includes Open Entrepreneurship, which unites entrepreneurs and the University, the DTU Skylab innovation hub, PreSeed Ventures, which invests in tech start-ups, a growth and development environment at DTU Science Park, and GreenUp, a development programme for climate-focused startups. This means that the innovation environment at DTU is well on its way to become so strong, fine-meshed, and dynamic that we can now nurture our own startup companies.”
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