Christian Bertens, one of our PhD. researchers from the OCDC biomedical project, recently ended the 7 week phase of the Brightlands Innovation Factory (BIF) incubator program. We, as Chemelot InSciTe offer ambitious researchers a seat in this program to boost their entrepreneurial mindset and learn what it takes to start your own business. It is in line with our entrepreneurial and valorization goals. This enables projects to show their social and environmental value and increases the awareness within the projects on those aspects.

1. Christian, how did you enroll this program?
I was preselected with some of my InSciTe colleagues, to be a candidate for this program. We were invited by Danielle Curfs, to discuss with Odile Steijger and Patrick van de Meer, of the Brightlands Innovation Factory, the aim of the BIF program, the impact and what we could expect. Most of us were enthusiastic, but we were also aware of the time impact. After approval and with support from the OCDC-management team, I decided to join the incubation program from the BIF. We started with a kick-off presentation on the 13th of March.

2. What did you expect from the program?
My background lies within medical and life-science research. I had little clue about what it means to start your own business. My experience, for example in marketing and PR, is limited and so I was very curious what I could learn from this.

3. Were these expectations matched?
It was different than I expected, but in a positive way. I participated in some very interesting masterclasses, for example to set up your business with the business model canvas. Time management wise it was difficult. I did anticipate time pressure, but sometimes it was hard to choose between our project and the incubator program. Being dedicated to my project, I often chose the former.

4. What was your biggest ‘eye-opener?’
Learning the business model canvas was the biggest eye-opener for me. Although it looks simple, it is very in depth model. It provides you a clear image of the impact your product can have in a specific environment such as hospitals, clinics, patients, care-takers and even with insurance companies. Something I hadn’t realize in the beginning.

5. How will you continue?
The program organizes a follow-up to present your learnings on 7th July (the ‘Get Out Of The Building Event’). After that, we will see how I will continue. For now, it is important that we need to know whether our product will be sufficient and match all safety requirements in the clinical trials. However, I will use the lessons learned as a valorization chapter in my Ph.D. thesis.

6. What would you give as advice for future participants?
It is a unique experience, so if you have the opportunity, do it. However, make sure you have the time and enough support of your team. The program is not suitable for everyone, but if you want and you have the motivation then you can do it.

About the program:
Chemelot InSciTe is partner in the Brightlands Innovation Factory. BIF triggers your entrepreneurial mindset and offers various programs and events to get that spirit across. Visit the website for more information.

BIF incubator program experience: Christian Bertens



BIF incubator program experience: Christian Bertens

Chemelot InSciTe