WHAT IS THE AAU START-UP PROGRAM?
It is a program funded by the Obelske Familiefond with the purpose of increasing new business creation from students and researchers at Aalborg University. The duration is from 2017-2022. The program includes something that has never been done before - funding for students. The goal over the 5 years is to create 150 new entrepreneurs from Aalborg University.
WHO CAN APPLY?
Active AAU students are the target of the program. You can also participate in the program if you are a graduate – but you must have been part of the Start Up program as an active student previously. However, every application will be subject to an individual assessment.
COULD I CREATE A START UP AND THEN LATER TAKE PART IN THE PROGRAM?
Active AAU students can participate with companies that are “startups”, which means that there is some sort of new beginning. In other words, if you have a company that already sells products, e.g. a web shop, and have done so for some time, then it is not eligible to participate. However, every application will be subject to an individual assessment.
WHAT IS A STARTUP?
A startup is a new small company in its early phase of development. A startup in this program can consist of both students and employees, and the startup can be profit seeking, socio-economic and other types.
DO I HAVE TO CREATE A NEW COMPANY?
No, not really. At AAU, we see a future for our graduates and researchers to take up jobs in Government, Industry and Civil Society, but with changing circumstances. We believe an entrepreneurial mind-set will be required of employees of tomorrow - an ability to understand what it means to create ideas and make them real.
At AAU SEA we also work with helping you in this regard. However, students creating new companies is what the AAU Start-Up Program is for. So, if you want to learn about being entrepreneurial contact SEA. If you want to start your own company at some point - try the Start-Up Program.
WHEN IS A START UP INTERESTING?
At AAU, we particularly support the start-ups that can scale up, create new jobs and ultimately make it real. Therefore, your idea is interesting if, it is linked to your studies and/or research, and it has some potential in becoming a company that might grow.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN THAT SOMETHING CAN "SCALE"?
It means that your solution can be carried out into to the World by ever increasing numbers. A solution that typically does not scale well, is a consultancy. A Consultancy is a type of business where someone is paid for every hour, and a person can only work a certain amount of hours and cannot work more - it is not scalable. On the other hand, e.g. a bottle of water can be sold in amounts of thousands and millions regardless of minutes, hours or days - it is scalable.
WHY IS NEW JOBS INTERESTING?
Government funded projects with companies should lead to new jobs. Our nation, and other nations, are dependent upon job creation, and the AAU Start-Up Program is part of that. When entrepreneurs succeed in delivering new solutions to the World, then it might lead to new jobs. And start-ups that can scale can subsequently create even more jobs.
DOES MY IDEA HAVE TO BE COMPLETELY CLEAR AND ANALYSED?
No. In the Start-Up Program we encourage you to take part, so that you might figure out if your idea might be worth exploring. In fact, the Discovery Phase, as we call it, is designed to allow you to come in with your idea and validate it.
If you have worked on something, e.g. during a study project, which seems to be strong, you could consider applying directly to the Start Phase. Here you have more opportunities to figure out to turn your idea into a business, but there are also a few more requirements.
In other words - do you have an idea, apply to the Discovery phase.
WHY DO WE FOCUS ON TEAMS?
There are at least two reasons:
- At AAU it is part of our DNA to work in groups, and
- when starting new companies we should not try to learn everything ourselves, but to work with others that have skills that you do not.
So, if you are e.g. an engineer with an idea, then starting a business would require some level of business skills. But instead of trying to learn these skills, we recommend that you find a partner to work with who have the skills.
WHY DO I HAVE TO APPLY?
Well, those that fund the program suggest that we should choose the best ideas, and in order to figure that out, you and other entrepreneurs need to describe their ideas in an application.
WHY ARE THE APPLICATIONS DIFFERENT?
There are three phases in the program; Discovery, Start and Growth. Each require different levels of experience and data, which is why there are different application requirements.
WHAT IS THE "AGREEMENT DOCUMENT"?
There is a document that you must sign to join the Start Up Program. This document shows in detail the opportunities and requirements, and other legal matters, which must be adhered to, in order to participate in the program.
The document is the only binding document! If for instance someone reads information on a website, or hears someone say something that seems not to be completely as the document says, then it is the document that takes power.
So the agreement document is for you to sign, and the requirements in there are those that are in effect, until the time where the deadline stipulated in the document has passed, or the contract is nullified due to misconduct, or due to changes in the program, which requires participants to enter into a new contract due to force majeure. AAU for instance, has embarked on a new path with the Start Up program, and if e.g. a Government Ministry deems changes are needed for it to remain compliant with e.g. the University Law, then the changes may have a subsequent effect for participants, as no one may knowingly act unlawfully.
WHAT IS A BUSINESS MODEL?
A business model describes how your company creates, deliver and captures value. A business model is also something that you can compete with. In other words, your product or service might not be new, but "how" you do business might be. When you become part of the program, we will help you getting this sorted out.
WHAT IS INNOVATION?
There are many definitions:
- Innovation can be described as the implementation of a new or substantial improved product, process, organizational method or marketing method.
- Innovation is the result of calculated plans and activities levelled at improving a company’s products, processes, sale and marketing or organization.
- Innovation can be based on new knowledge and technology but also be a combination of applications for existing knowledge and technologies.
We like to think that there are inventions. But not all inventions are commercially viable. Once an invention goes to market and someone buys it, then it is an innovation.
But innovation is also process. These things are also some of those we help you with.
HOW IS DEVELOPMENT DEFINED?/WHAT IS DEVELOPMENT?
Development is systematic work process, based on knowledge achieved by research and practical experience, with the purpose to bring out new, or substantial improved materials, products, processes, systems or services.
WHAT IS ENTREPRENEURSHIP?
The capacity and willingness to develop, organize and manage a new idea in order to make it real. The most obvious example of entrepreneurship is the starting of new businesses.
WHAT IS SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP?
Social entrepreneurship can be defined as creating social value by use of a business logic. A socio-economic company generates profits, which are reinvested into solving yet more social challenges. In other words, profits are not extracted to shareholders but put back into the social agenda.