With the EE Minor, engineering students learn about entrepreneurship


During the Engineering Entrepreneurship (EE) Minor, engineering students are given the opportunity to gain experience with entrepreneurship. The main focus is on the development and feasibility of business cases. Students develop these business cases and try to convince stakeholders of their plans. One group of students focused on a sustainable solution for aircraft on the ground. It turned out to be a runway for their own start-up.

During blocks 1 and 2, fourth-year students of the  Luchtvaarttechnologie and Aeronautical Engineering  study programmes are given the opportunity to apply all their technical knowledge during the EE. Over the course of twenty weeks, the students are challenged to set up their own company based on a technological concept. Ultimately, experts in the business world test their business cases. 

Technical feasibility 
Each team is given the freedom to choose different problems and challenges in the market. By means of a service, product or advice, they try to provide a solution for an organisation. This year's theme was Sustainability. Technology must be the starting point in order to prove its feasibility by means of a prototype or concept. Student Mia Jovetić: "During this project, we really get the opportunity to experience what it is like to be an entrepreneur. In recent years, we learnt a lot about engineering. Now we get a lot of information about entrepreneurship." 

Sustainable solution for ground operations
With the Sustainable Aircraft Ground Operations project, group members Mia, Melvin, Greta, Alvaro, Sven, Arnold, Heinrich and Rafael were given the opportunity to come up with sustainable solutions for aircraft ground operations. Mia continued: "We came up with different solutions and contacted airports. This gave rise to our idea for a sustainable, electric taxi vehicle. At the moment, the aircraft themselves taxi from A to B, which is less sustainable and generates a lot of emissions." Melvin van der Linde: "One of the ideas was to make these ground operations more sustainable. With this concept, you would convert kinetic energy of the aircraft during landing into electrical energy."

Registering at Chamber of Commerce 
Mia and Melvin’s group won the EE this year. Because there is a demand from many aviation companies for sustainable solutions for ground operations, the group is continuing with this project and wants to register in the trade register with the Chamber of Commerce. Rafael Schaeffers Félix: "We were often asked whether we wanted to carry on; there is a lot of interest in this idea. So we want to continue this alongside our studies in order to make airports more sustainable." The students in the group really enjoyed getting to know the business aspect of engineering. Alvaro Lopez: "We haven't done this before and you get a good idea of what the industry is really looking for. I think we got involved more closely to global problems and got the chance to solve them." 

Currently, the group of students have started their own start-up. Check out the LinkedIn-page to discover more.