Huffington Post coverage of SEC2U

Small Businesses And Universities Should Seek To Benefit From Enhanced European Cooperation

In August a committee of MPs reported that universities and small businesses stood to gain from improved, more effective working relationships. To many working in this sector, this was not news. However the report was received as a welcome confirmation of the importance of universities adapting their services to the needs, priorities and culture of independent small to medium enterprises.

In particular, universities are well positioned to support the productivity enhancement and leadership development of SMEs and this takes place in a number of forms: tackling local skills issues through partnerships tailored to needs of the local economy; providing a new market for trading among small and medium-sized businesses; and providing access to key assets such as space for premises, knowledge for research and development, and marketing support.

However, on the face of it, a partnership between a university and a small business may not be the most obvious of pairings. For anyone who has worked in both environments, the contrasts can be quite stark. On the one hand, small businesses are extremely varied and need different things; they are often dependent on the personality of the owner-manager and characteristics of the market in which the business operates. On the other hand, universities are fairly homogeneous and tend to follow a particular, now well-established, organisational model. The workforce is fairly interchangeable, and individuals have less of a bearing on organisational personality or culture.

However, existing partnerships between universities and SMEs show that the benefits greatly outweigh the risks. It is therefore vitally important for universities to continue to find ways to engage with the small business community.

A good example of this in practice is SEC2U (Startup Europe comes to the Universities), an initiative of the European Commission that operates through the Startup Europe University Network (SEUN). This week over 30 universities across Europe are holding events to present and promote the good work being done between universities and small business. This demonstrates the commitment of universities to create a strong culture of entrepreneurship and innovation not just in the UK but across the continent.

Markedly the partners in this initiative are not just universities and small businesses – Europe as a whole stands to gain. For example a SEC2U event at GSM London brought together business start-ups, entrepreneurs, business associations and chambers, university staff and students, incubators, accelerators, innovation hubs, government representatives, and local development corporations.

By bringing this community together it was possible to integrate multiple perspectives on the start-up, rethinking what this might mean from the ground up. Listening to the views and experiences of local start-ups enables the effective re-thinking and re-formulation of policies, services, and environment for small businesses within the local area.

And when the exchange of lessons and findings from all the participating institutions are combined during the SEC2U week, support networks can be strengthened across Europe, enhancing the recognition of how universities, startups and local communities can work more closely together for the benefit of all.

The UK is currently navigating the post-referendum business landscape but I see no reason why this movement towards closer collaboration should not continue. The UK’s proposed withdrawal from the European Union will undoubtedly create challenges to facilitating this collaboration over time but, as SEC2U demonstrates, goodwill combined with proactive approaches can bring far-reaching benefits.

So in spite of the jolt of ‘Brexit’ and the current uncertainties, good momentum towards European collaboration is building. Britain’s universities and small businesses should continue to look to partners in Europe to share success, experience and to learn from the innovative entrepreneurial support programmes that already exist.


Retrieved from Huffington post on October 26th.


We Start Lisbon: an entrepreneurship event for students in Lisbon!

We Start Lisbon was a fun, interactive student entrepreneur event held at Universidade Nova in Lisbon, run by a number of collaborating partners in the European startup world. 

On 21st October 2016, students interested in entrepreneurship gathered at Universidade Nova in Lisbon for a day of inspiring talks, and a fun interactive treasure hunt & pitching game with prizes.

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We Start Lisbon was organized as part of the first ever SEC2U (Startup Europe Comes to Universities) week, a cross-border initiative that aims to showcase the commitment of European universities to create a culture of entrepreneurship.

In the same week as 35 universities across 17 countries held events on entrepreneurship, We Start Lisbon was held at Universidade Nova in Lisbon on 21st October.

Opening #WeStartLisbon!


The event opened with high energy and some inspiration from two of the co-organizers, MY-WAY and Digistart. Everyone was excited abut using the day to share fresh ideas, break the ice and make meaningful connections (even if the students didn’t yet have a startup idea!).


The very exciting treasure hunt and pitching game was organised for the students by Charlotte and Francesca of Hugin&Munin, the communications agency in Madrid that manages the communications for Startup Europe.

Over 100 multi-coloured triangle shaped boxes were hidden all over the auditorium and event space, from which the students had to collect minutes to pitch their idea live online on Periscope and twitter, as well as find a special number to maybe win a prize!

The winners of the pitches would then get the chance to go on stage to pitch at the end of the event, giving them loads of visibility!

The morning: local advice, product development, facing failure and treasure hunts!


The first panel was made up of a group of young speakers from organizations NACUE, AEGEE, MIT/MBA, Barlan Ent Club and YES. Holly Knower, Pablo Hernandez, Manuel Countiho, Julia Tshuva, and Maria Logotheti discussed the startup activities available in their local ecosystems: UK, Greece, Spain , Portugal and Israel.

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Next up was a workshop on Product Development with Matt Kuppers from Startup Manufactory, in which the audience shared their ideas with Matt on their potential products, as well as asking questions on problems that they had encountered during development.

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At the coffee break the teams of young entrepreneurs and student startups started presenting themselves to Hugin&Munin to do their pitch! This group were a team of 4 studying at the Universidade Nova, who had an idea on how solve traffic accidents!

We start Lisbon 2106

After everyone had enjoyed their coffee boost, the next workshop was very inspiring. Miha Matilevski talked about his experience of failing and how to beat the depression and anxiety that comes with it. He explained that we should reconceptualise failure as a learning experience. If we are failing, we are learning.

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Next up was a panel with on how universities can promote startups, with Matt Kuppers (Startup Manufactory), Prof Andres Iborra (UPCT), Prof Diego Caceres (UPCT), Prof Mariana Pita (Aveiro Uni), Prof Manuel Laranja (ISEG) and Prof João Paulo Crespo (Vice-Rector NOVA).

We start Lisbon 2106

At lunch the treasure hunt game continued with Hugin&Munin, with students looking for triangle boxes in their lunch packs! Here we can see Portuguese startup Wishmood, a drinks app to order drinks wherever you are.

We start Lisbon 2106

We start Lisbon 2106

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There were also more pitches: on slow fashion and travel, and new mobile technologies!

The afternoon: workshops, PR, internationalisation and prizes!

We start Lisbon 2106

We start Lisbon 2106 We start Lisbon 2106 We start Lisbon 2106After lunch the students were then wowed with a workshop by the highly energetic David Trayford (Founder-thehub.hu, team Project Coach at Singularity University), on how to pitch to investors. There was no time for a lull after lunch, as he snapped everyone into focus and put everyone into groups to come up with some pitching ideas on the spot!

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Promotion for startups was discussed next by Thomas Ohr, who gave pointers on how to contact journalists with a press release, and then spoke to Miguel Alpoim Ruas (Doctor Spin PR/ Special Projects Startup Lisboa) on how to work with PR agencies.

We start Lisbon 2106Internationalisation was the next topic presented by Micael Gustaffson, who spoke about his experiences of going to Asia and the US, and talked with two very different startups, Mark Bastiaanssen (Pakketmail) and Lourenço Jardim de Oliveira (Linehealth)!

We start Lisbon 2106

Finally, we had the panel ‘how to go from idea to business: help from ecosystem actors’, with Edite Cruz (Beta-i), Davis Gouveia (Start up Lisbon/ Uniarea) and Diana Pati (Startups.be), rounding off the event nicely!

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At the end of the event, the final winners of the pitches were announced by Hugin&Munin!

The winning students startups had ideas to solve traffic accidents, on slow fashion and travel, a drinks delivery service, and technology services for companies. One of the prizes included copies of the book Startup Guide Lisbon, a book full of case-studies and tips on the Lisbon startup scene.


We start Lisbon 2106 We start Lisbon 2106

Overall the event was an inspiring homage to the student entrepreneur and startup scene in Lisbon. Not only did it give the students the opportunity to connect with new people and listen to the advice of startup leaders, but it also gave them the opportunity to try their hand at their first pitch!


“Encuentro de emprendedores con motivo de la presentación del programa SEC2U”

Retrieved from Salamanca24horas.com
La Universidad de Salamanca, a través de Bisite Accelerator y USAL Emprende, se ha sumado a prestigiosas instituciones como la Universidad de Cambridge, la Universidad de Dublín, la Universidad Nueva de Lisboa, el Centro Universitario U-Tad y la Universidad de Cantabria, entre otras

El Servicio de Emprendimiento (USAL Emprende) del Servicio de Inserción Profesional, Prácticas y Empleo de la Universidad de Salamanca ha presentado el programa SEC2U del que forma parte la Universidad de Salamanca.

La Universidad de Salamanca, a través de Bisite Accelerator y USAL Emprende, se ha sumado a la iniciativa SEC2U, que ya cuenta con prestigiosas instituciones como la Universidad de Cambridge, la Universidad de Dublín, la Universidad Nueva de Lisboa, el Centro Universitario U-Tad y la Universidad de Cantabria, entre otras.

La sesión, en la que participaron emprendedores, empresarios, investigadores y miembros de la USAL, contó con la intervención de Emilio Corchado, director del programa Welcome, Mili Pizarro, directora del Servicio de Inserción Profesional, Prácticas y Empleo de la USAL, Alfredo Mateos, director de la OTRI en la USAL y Rubén Sánchez, emprendedor y CEO de la empresa BeOnPrice.

Durante la sesión se mostraron las diferentes oportunidades que la Universidad de Salamanca ofrece a los emprendedores para llevar a cabo sus proyectos, así como las opciones que existen para los investigadores en transferencia de conocimiento. Por último, se impartió una pequeña sesión sobre desarrollo de producto y diseño a cargo del emprendedor Rubén Sánchez, CEO de una de las 52 empresas instaladas actualmente en el Parque Científico de la USAL.

SEC2U es una iniciativa avalada por la Comisión Europea (Startup Europe) con el fin de crear una cultura de emprendimiento e innovación dentro de las universidades europeas.

Retrieved: Salamanca24horas, Salamanca (Spain).


“Startup Europe Comes to FAU”


SEC2U is an initiative endorsed by the European Commission, having its first edition in 2016, meant to showcase the commitment of European universities to create a strong culture of entrepreneurship and innovation that is spreading in the university community. This culture transfers then to the society by creating startups and spinoffs with high added value, based on knowledge and technological development.
Within this context, FAU took part in the initiative by hosting a networking event on Friday 21st in JOSEPHS intended to help the FAU students navigate the European and local entrepreneurship landscape. The program strated with a presentation about the European projects and initiative that ecourage and support entrepreneurship, delivered by the Wi1 research associate Aida Boukhris. Then, the co-founder of the local Franconian startup Tavendo, Alexander Gödde, introduced the scope of their IoT business, providing insights about running open source digital ventures. Finally, the floor was given to the CEO of Zollhof, Benjamin Bauer, who introduced this brand new center for digital entrepreneurship in the Mittelfranken Region, and engaged in a discussion with the participants about the mission and goals of this new local entrepreneurship player.

On the European scale:

Overall, SEC2U had more than 2000 participants across 38 events hosted by the 35 participating institutions from 18 countries across Europe. There were more than 1500 tweets & retweets with the #SEC2U hashtag along the week with a total reach of more than 1 million people! All in all it was a brilliant week which saw some excellent events.

If you would like to know the participants of SEC2U 2016, please see the list below:

Albania: European University of Tirana

Austria: WU – Vienna University of Economics and Business

Belgium: EBN

Croatia: Algebra University College

Cyprus: European University Cyprus, University of Cyprus

Germany: Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg

Greece: Technological Educational Institute of Western Greece, Athens University of Economics and Business

Hungary: Eötvös Loránd University

The Netherlands: Maastricht University

Ireland: Dublin City University

Israel: Bar Ilan University

Italy: Polytechnic University of Milan (Creative Industries Lab), Roma Tre University – Department of Engineering

Kosovo: Universum College

Lithuania: Mykolas Romeris University & ISM University of Management and Economics

Portugal: NOVA University of Lisbon, University of Lisbon – Faculty of Sciences

Romania: University Politehnica of Bucharest, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, Stefan cel Mare University

Spain: University of Salamanca, U-TAD: Centro Universitario de Tecnología y Arte Digital, University of Cantabria (CISE project), Technical University of Cartagena, University of Granada, University of the Basque Country, University of Extremadura, University of Almeria

United Kingdom: Ravensbourne, University of Sheffield, London South Bank University, GSM London & Formation Zone London


Useful information:
University Friedrich-Alexander Erlangen-Nürnberg: Aida Boukhris 
Startup Europe University Network: www.startupeuropeuniversities.eu
Startup Europe: startupeuropeclub.eu
SEC2U contact: Matevz Gantar, University of Salamanca / BISITE Accelerator


Retrieved from FAU.


Startup Europe Comes to Universities (SEC2U) 17th-21st Oct!

Under the wing of Welcome, Startup Europe and the European Commission, Startup Europe Comes to Universities (SEC2U) is set to take place from 17th-21st October!

This will be the first ever edition of SEC2U, and is set to be an exciting platform to bring together Universities, students, entrepreneurs, government, local businesspeople and technology parks across Europe.

What is SEC2U?

SEC2U is an initiative that aims to support universities to hold events within their local startup ecosystems, to connect startup players, and foster a strong culture of entrepreneurship and innovation across European universities.

SEC2U aims to bring together 30 European universities and business/scientific parks with an entrepreneurial perspective, and act as a platform for innovation in society.

How does it work?

Universities with initiatives that support entrepreneurs and startups can sign up to create an event by visiting the signup page for SEC2U.

The events will be supported with additional resources by the Startup Europe University Network and the European Commission, including guidelines and dissemination materials.

Where are events taking place?

Events will be taking place all over Europe, with each event focusing on the local or regional ecosystem in that particular area for entrepreneurs and startups.

There are currently a number of events being planned at universities in many countries, including the UK, Spain, Ireland, Portugal, Israel, Cyprus, the Netherlands, Greece and Romania, with multiple universities taking part.

By taking part, you would be part of this exciting SEC2U network, and showcasing the commitment of European universities to create a strong culture of entrepreneurship.

I’m in! How do I sign up?

Just visit the SEC2U page to fill out the short application form!

Let’s showcase the commitment of European universities to create a strong culture of entrepreneurship and innovation in university communities!