“STUD-ENT” kick-off at The Mine – in collaboration with Innovation Norway

The deadline for the annual “STUD-ENT” application is approaching. With that in mind, Engage hosted an event in collaboration with Innovation Norway, where both students at NTNU and employees across different universities and colleges involved in innovation and entrepreneurship, were invited to learn more about the application process.

By Nicole Monavari

On the 24th of January Engage hosted an event at The Mine regarding the annual “STUD-ENT” application process, in collaboration with Innovation Norway. Both students at NTNU who are to apply, and employees assisting students in the application process across different universities and colleges in Norway, were invited. During the daytime there was a workshop scheduled for the employees, while students from the NTNU School of Entrepreneurship were invited later on in the evening, given the opportunity to ask questions to Innovation Norway, learn more about the application process and to pitch their ideas. Our overall ambition was to host an event where employees from different universities and colleges could get together and exchange thoughts and experiences related to the “STUD-ENT” application process, as well as entrepreneurship in general.

A former receiver of the “STUD-ENT” grant, sharing tips from their application last year.

Granted by Innovation Norway

For the event we collaborated with Innovation Norway, a state-owned organization and the main contributor to sustainable development, assisting Norwegian start-ups with funds and expertise. Every year, students at universities or colleges involved in a start-up or with ambitions of developing a business idea, are given a chance to apply and receive up to a total of 1 million NOK grant from Innovation Norway. This is a great possibility for the recently established start-ups to further develop their idea. The students who are qualified to apply, must have an idea on how to solve a need or problem on the market today, and should involve the market acceptance in their application. Last year a total of 24 start-ups received 22,7 million NOK, and most of the applicants were from NTNU!

To kick off the event, a representant from Innovation Norway in Trondheim, Reidar Milan Hegle, presented the application and informed the employees about the process. Furthermore, he shared some advice regarding what the students should include in their applications. We had a chat with Reidar and asked him about what it takes to receive a grant, and to stand out from from the other applicants:

“It’s a holistic assessment, so it’s a bit difficult to point at one or two things. But you should be able to show that you have an idea or product with a great market potential, that there is value creation in Norway, that the team has a composition and a plan to ensure implementation, that the idea is innovative and that you add something new to the market. It must be a solid project and it must be what we believe in. We must believe in both the idea and in the people behind it.”

Reidar Milan Hegle, Innovation Norway

The primary focus of Innovation Norway is to invest in developing the future, where Hegle added: “They don’t apply for a grant, they apply for their future”. Both Engage and Innovation Norway especially focus on motivating students working within the fields of innovation and entrepreneurship, and the grants offered by Innovation Norway will be of great significance when the fresh students and start-ups are to realize their ideas on the market.  

“We are in touch with many students and student communities, and we sense a lot of positivity. Many students who want to change the world, want to influence their own everyday life by achieving something good. We notice that it rubs off on us, and “STUD-ENT” is one of the happenings we look forward to every year”.

Reidar Milan Hegle, Innovation Norway
Representatives from different universities and colleges discussing and sharing experiences about their work with innovation.

An arena for exchange and inspiration

After the lunch break and some small talk, we held a workshop where the representatives discussed issues related to the application process. One of the topics up for discussion was how to influence and motivate the students to apply, in the best possible way. Engage tried to organize an arena where the employees could cooperate and discuss potential difficulties on the road, and be inspired through the exchange of different opinions and experiences. At the end we had a talk with some of the employees to hear what they had to say about the event:

“It’s fascinating to meet people from the community who are involved with student innovation in Norway, as it’s amazing how different all the organizations are. It is also exiting to see that those who are currently in an early phase at their institution, can obtain inspiration and knowledge guiding them in their further development. This exchange of information saves many organizations both time and resources off what we have spent a lot of time figuring out. It is very important that we have such an arena where we can exchange knowledge and learn from one another, both the good and the bad.”

Kristoffer Liland, Incubator Manager, UiA

In the evening, the students interested in applying for “STUD-ENT” from the NTNU School of Entrepreneurship, and students from different start-ups, came to The Mine to learn more about the application process and to pick up some tips from former applicants of the programme. In addition, the students also got the opportunity to pitch their amazing ideas!

Reidar Milan Hegle from Innovation Norway, providing the students with some advice about the application process.