For the 9th year in a row, students from the University of Trento had the opportunity to participate in Start-Up Lab, a 3-month training course that aims to go through the must-know essentials and strategies for early-stage startup founders.
#SUL covers the topics of innovation and entrepreneurship with a mix of traditional lectures and group work. This year more than 150 applications were sent in, but just 100 students were accepted into the course.
The participants have different academic backgrounds; 11 departments ranging from biotechnology to law, from economics to computer science, 17 nationalities covering 4 continents: the perfect formula for a positive contamination process.
The participants are followed in the 3-months course by three UniTrento instructors: Alessandro Rossi, chief of CLab Trento and professor at DEM, Marco Formentini, professor at DISI and Paolo Soler Bach, startup advisor and guest lecturer at SOI. In addition, 12 senior mentors (Carlo Pasquini, Nadya Bobova, Lorenzo Modena, Giovanni Gaglione, Daniele Miorandi, Leonardo Benuzzi, Daniele Basso, Cveta Majtanovic, Clelia Calabrò, Stefano Remondino, Daniele Delledonne e Antoine Lebrun), experts coming from the local and international ecosystem of startups, and 13 junior mentors, former participants of Start-Up lab, will help the wannabe startupers advising and supporting them.
This year for the second edition we held the entire course online through weekly Zoom sessions.
Although we are missing the “live” interaction, we had the pleasure to invite several local and international experts who shared case studies, do and don’ts, successful stories from the business world to help participants to face all steps to be taken, from an idea to a scaling business. The students had the opportunity to meet and interact with field experts from the U.S. like Zack Coelius, CEO of Triggit and Adam Berk, an American investor with 20+ years of experience in the field of startups.
Start-Up Lab starts normally at the beginning of March: In the first week the students get to know each other and some of them present their innovative idea to the class: this year around 30 ideas were pitched! Only the best will survive until the end.
When the team has a semi-defined idea, they start validating it focusing on the customer's needs and trying to find a solution to their problems. In this step, they are extremely helped by their own mentors who have much more experience in this field. Sometimes the teams encounter great difficulties such as the lack of interested people in their project and, consequently, the need to pivot from their original idea. Indeed, pivoting is a common action for nowadays startups and even the most famous one had to change to survive in the market. We all know that if you have a great project but you're not able to communicate it, nothing will happen, therefore in May teams are called to prepare a presentation of their own startup. This phase takes around 2-3 weeks in which the teams improve their speech thanks to the help of instructors, mentors and pitching experts. This period is for sure the most stressful for our students because time seems never enough. Everything must be perfect to overcome the semifinals, where the 10 best teams are selected and will expose their projects to an exceptional jury in just 4 minutes during Demo Day.
The Demo Day
It will take place on May 27th as an online event streamed on CLab Trento’s YouTube channel, allowing everyone to watch, appreciate and evaluate the projects of the finalist teams of Start-Up Lab. You are more than welcome to participate, also because the audience will be called to vote for the best presentation and assign the People’s Choice Award. For more info about the event check out our social networks.