Boyan Slat, The Ocean Cleanup

There are innovative ideas out there that can really change the world. It would be a shame if those ideas never make it beyond the attic where they were conceived. Which is why the INNOVATE organisation, together with the Dutch business magazine Quote and the popular science magazine Quest, is looking for the most innovative student of the Netherlands.

Why is this search so necessary?

“There are students walking around with great ideas or civilly-minded start-ups and we would like to offer them a podium and concrete opportunities to turn their plan into a reality,” says Mark Spijker, director of INNOVATE, which was originally an innovation festival based in the Dutch city of Arnhem.

“Look at Boyan Slat who, as an 18-year-old aerospace engineering student in Delft, attracted worldwide attention with his idea for the Ocean Cleanup. He eventually managed to raise US$31.5 million through crowdfunding. And now he’s taking his product around the world. We are sure that there are many more potential ‘Boyans’ in Dutch vocational schools, higher education institutions and universities. We hope to find them this way.”

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We can give their plan a boost,” Mark Spijker, director of INNOVATE

Nice such a title, but what do you gain from it?

“We want to help them realize their dream. Whether they are still in the idea phase, or the plan has been developed further, or a start-up has already been founded: we can give their plan a boost. A professional jury and the public will choose ten finalists from all the applications. They will be offered a bootcamp, where a number of large organizations such as PricewaterhouseCoopers will help them to take their initiative further. For instance, they will receive training and advice to develop their idea into a viable plan that they can get to work on.”

Are students who have a good idea still able to apply?

“Definitely, registration is open until 14 June, as an individual or as a team.”

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THE MOST INNOVATIVE STUDENT OF THE NETHERLANDS

And the ultimate winner?

“The winner will be announced during the finals on 2 October (during the Dutch National Science Weekend). Then we will know who can call themselves the most innovative student of the Netherlands. The winner(s) will win a trip to Sillicon Valley, which is probably the most innovative place on earth. There, she or he can follow training courses. In addition, the winner will receive €5,000 to get started on their initiative.”

Also interesting: Start-up of the day: air bubble screen against plastic in rivers

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