Yesterday, the 4th year students had their exam in Strategic Management, which is a mandatory course for the NSE students. Most of them are now done with their first semester, i.e., 25% of NSE. Time sure does fly when you’re having fun. The teams are being assigned offices in our spaces at NTNU Gløshaugen, and we are already preparing for our next semester! The 5th year students handed in their project thesis last week, which is a preparatory task to the master thesis. Congratulations!
Stay tuned – great things to come next semester. See you in January!
In the startup world, things move fast and no day is alike. One day you might be celebrating a successful funding round, while the next you are having major issues with your prototype. Well, life here at NSE is no different. To keep you guys updated on what is going on, we update several channels. You are probably aware of this blog, as you’re currently reading this. In addition, we update our Facebook page about every week. You can like our page here. Our blog and Facebook page give you many smaller updates, therefore we also send out a newsletter. You can sign up using the form on the top right of the landing page. Here you can read the latest newsletter.
NSE is not an incubator, but a master’ program. Pretty much all that is needed to formally qualify for The Norwegian School of Entrepreneurship is being fluent in Norwegian and having a bachelor’s degree (specifics can be found here). Also, you have to be motivated and show this through the cover letter. So if you are accepted, what should you expect?
As the title reveals, the NSE students have just as many courses and credits as any other student at NTNU. During NSE you have nine standard courses, where four are related to your bachelor’s degree, and the remaining five are entrepreneurship-oriented courses. These are adapted to enable the students to combine the time they spend on these classes and the time they spend on their startups. This overlap is undoubtingly one of NSE’s strengths as a master’s program.
The 4th-graders have finished their fifth feasibility study, and the last piece has been added to the puzzle. Each feasibility study is a puzzle on its own, which again is just another piece in this semesters puzzle. The business ideas that have been tested throughout this semester are now gathered in an idea pool, from which the students will choose ideas, after forming teams in a few days.
The students have shown a significant improvement in several aspects. First and foremost all the students now deliver high-quality presentations. They have developed skills that enable them to adapt the content to the audience, with listeners ranging from co-students with very different backgrounds to some of the most skilled researchers in the world, at CERN in Geneva.
Second, the NSE students have grown an understanding of what perspectives are central when considering entering a market, ranging from existing solutions, business models, and competitors. Rather than following a given template, which the students did during their first feasibility studies, they now adapt to the respective cases and distribute their resources better.
A final feature that should be mentioned is the students’ outgoingness. To be able to quickly get in touch with the right people and have them answer your questions is demanding. We are lucky that the business hierarchy is a lot less steep than in other countries, but cold-calling is never easy. The pick-up-the-phone frequency has increased significantly over the last months.
As the semester is coming to an end, we zoom out and see things from an even broader perspective. It turns out that the so-called last piece of the puzzle that has been put down is solely part of a fraction of the next puzzle that is to be solved. Exciting things are happening the coming days. Stay tuned.
Copyright, trademark, ownership, trade secret, IP, copyright infringement… So many scary words that I might be better off ignoring, or is it really so? Today we had a session with our house lawyer, Kjersti Staven-Garberg. Kjersti works at Acapo, one of the leading IP consultancy firms in Norway.
During today’s session, the NSE students learned more about how to protect their ideas and the differences between IP and IPR. This is a very interesting field, that many startups have to explore on their own.
Having mentors and lawyers that support us at NSE is really valuable. Not only do they give lectures on certain topics, but are always available to give advice and guidance to the NSE startups.
Being part of the NSE opens a large network and many opportunities. Last week the 4th year students stayed and worked five days at the research facilities CERN, in Geneva, Switzerland. Prior to this week, the students spent the weekend in the alps village Chamonix, in France.
During the week four CERN-based technologies were put through a thorough feasibility study. With more than 2000 man-hours of work, the students dug into complicated technology and researched potential applications within different markets. On Friday four solid presentations were held for the students, NSE staff and researchers at CERN. The CERN staff was immensely impressed by the work that the students had done.
In a months’ time, the student will form teams and choose business ideas. The four CERN ideas might be chosen.
This week, the 4th year students completed their third feasibility study. Last week, 10 external idea owners presented their business ideas to the class. Some of these were selected by the teams, and put under scrutiny through five days of hard work. The students did research on the product, competitors, markets and possible business models, to mention some aspects of their feasibility studies. After gathering tons of information, the students have to process and communicate their findings in a short hand-in. On Friday all the groups presented their findings to the class and a panel of experts.
The feasibility tests include a lot of hard work, but is also a good way to get to know your classmates. In December the students will form teams, which will go on to create start-ups in January. As Paul Graham, co-founder of Y Combinator put it:
You need three things to create a successful startup: to start with good people, to make something customers actually want, and to spend as little money as possible.
We have done it again! Startups from the NTNU School of Entrepreneurship are really good at communicating what they do and the value it brings. This makes them great at getting soft-funding. The last couple of weeks this has paid off for several NSE startups.
We look forward to seeing more from our alumni and co-students’ startups!
A month has passed by and the new students have already gotten their hands dirty. They have completed two feasibility studies, consisting of intensive work where they test business ideas to see if they have potential.
Some of the business ideas that have been tested are internal, while others have external idea owners. Last week the 4th year students searched in every nook and corner to find good ideas here at NTNU. Being part of Norway’s largest university proved fruitful as many professors had ideas they wanted our students to look into.
The work is documented in a short report and presented for the staff, classmates and some externals. What a great way to kick off the NTNU School of Entrepreneurship!
Up next? This Tuesday the 4th year students will be visiting TrønderEnergi to see what exciting possibilities exist within the energy and power domain.