Erasmus Startup Programme

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For whom

Ambitious, first-time startup entrepreneurs who want to find out if there is a market for their business idea.

Next 4-week Programme
We are changing the current set up of the startup programmes. More information and dates will follow soon.

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Price & location

The costs are €395 including VAT per participant, for the duration of the programme at the entrepreneurship campus of Erasmus University Rotterdam. Students can receive a special scholarship discount.

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All you need to know in 1 PDF. Download the brochure and take a look at our programme.

Validate your idea and find your first customer in four weeks

The Erasmus Startup Programme is a four week programme that empowers you to validate your scalable business ideas and find your first customer. We train you to implement the entrepreneurship process by heart and help you understand and find out what your customer wants.

You will have access to a great place to work and receive feedback from the Community, which contains many successful entrepreneurs. The programme aims to contribute to both the success of your start-up and your personal entrepreneurial skills. It will have a lasting impact on your entrepreneurial career.

80% of startups fail because there is no market need

During the four weeks there will be a weekly, full day, session on Fridays. The sessions are filled with workshops focusing on what matters the most when you start a business and find your product-market fit. Who is your customer? What will you be selling to them? 80% of startups fail because there is no market demand. Let’s start with that, in real-life with actual customers. You will create a first product from your idea (prototype).

After the first four weeks, starting entrepreneurs that are ready to take the next step can be invited to continue the development of their business in the Erasmus Business Programme.

Application Process

Impression video

Would you like to have an impression of our programme? Watch the video to see how the last run went:

What we offer you

Erasmus Startup Programme is based on years of academic and practical experience and consists of a collection of modules covering items such as business models, value propositions, startup financials, pitching, sales and marketing, that will give you insight in how to start a company. We provide you with the tools, skills and confidence to make sure that your first steps are both effective and efficient.


Workshops on business modeling, lean startup methodology, customer development and more

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Inspiring workplace

Make use of flex workspaces and meeting rooms at the ECE Campus, home to more than 100 innovative companies

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The Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship

Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship is the leading entrepreneurship centre in Europe.

We provide a unique platform that ranges from scholarly insights about (corporate) entrepreneurship and new opportunities, startup campuses for ambitious entrepreneurs, to exciting executive programmes for leading innovation excellence within established organisations.

We developed a 10.000 m2 entrepreneurship campus, housing over 100 startups and scale-ups, creating the learning environment to teach, train and develop people to excel in innovation.

Erasmus University Rotterdam has the largest academic research group in Europe with over 25 researchers and 4 professors in the field of entrepreneurship.

Join more than 500 graduates

What our graduates say

Since the beginning of the Startup programme, we’ve supported more than 400 ambitious early-stage entrepreneurs in setting up their venture. All kinds of people participated; from students to former CFO’s and medical specialists, and they had all kinds of ideas; from an online digital housing platform to a more technical DNA testing kit and an online packaging-free supermarket.

“During the programme we learnt how to think out of the box and we got to work a lot on our business.”

Sarah Leebeek and Kimberly Jahja, Founders of Issambres
Alumnus Erasmus Startup Programme, Class of September 2019

“I found a surprising number of people with brilliant ideas and a very high level of coaches, investors and entrepreneurs: that made a huge difference. ”

Berry Kriesels, Founder of Omnigen
Alumnus Erasmus Startup Programme and Health Coach, Class of November 2014

“If you think of your idea as a seed, then the Erasmus Startup Programme would be the pot in which it will first sprout”

Aman Jindal, Founder of DeNoize
Alumnus Erasmus Startup Programme, Class of October 2018

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“The Erasmus Startup Programme gave me confidence in my start up. After every lesson I walked out of the building full of energy and power to continue.”

Jade Ruijzenaars, Founder of Crangon Crangon Ceramics
Alumnus Erasmus Startup Programme, Class of December 2016

“Thanks to Erasmus Startup Programme, I learned how to listen to my customers.”

Jędrzej Krzemiński, Founder of Amethyst Health
Alumnus Erasmus Startup Programme, Class of February 2018

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“New ways of thinking about building a company”

Fabian Dudek, Founder of Nestpick
Alumnus Erasmus Startup Programme, Class of February 2015

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“The Erasmus Startup Programme gives you the chance to turn your idea into reality – Just go for it.”

Sander Peltenburg and George Brandenburg, Founders of Burgs Foods
Alumnus Erasmus Startup Programme, Class of October 2017

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The costs for the Erasmus Startup Programme are €395 including VAT per participant, for the duration of the programme. These costs cover: the four days of workshops, four weeks of access to a work space in our entepreneurial learning environment and access to our online learning management system. Students can receive a special scholarship discount, the student fee will be €250 including VAT.

Want to know more?

Why should I join the Erasmus Startup Programme?

If you are an ambitious entrepreneur with an innovative idea, but need some help to turn it into an actual business:  the Erasmus Startup Programme is the perfect push forward. Over the past five years, we’ve helped more than 400 early-stage entrepreneurs test their ideas. Our goal is to further develop your entrepreneurial talent. We’re not going to create your company for you, but we are going to give you the knowledge, skills and network to enable you to do so yourself and do so fast! Additionally, we’ll give you a workplace at our ECE Campus, which is home to over 100 innovative companies for you to meet and learn from.

Do I need a team to join the Erasmus Startup Programme?

Contrary to many other startup programs, you do not need a team to the join Erasmus Startup Programme. Our focus is on early-stage entrepreneurs, and we know many of them don’t have a team yet. That being said, having the right team is a very a important ingredient for the future success of your startup. That’s why during the programme we also talk about how to find the right co-founders and team members, something many of our coaches have experience with. Perhaps even more importantly, the network you’ll gain through our startup programme, can be of great help in finding team members. For example, every year more than 20.000 people visit the events held at our ECE Campus.

What kind of people can join the Erasmus Startup Programme?

We are looking for ambitious people with innovative ideas. Your professional background doesn’t matter and our alumni come in all shapes and sizes: from students to lawyers and from former CFO’s to medical specialists. What they have in common is a passion about the idea they want to develop further and, perhaps most importantly, a drive to take action and make it happen.

Can I join the Erasmus Startup Programme while I have a full-time job?

Yes, it is possible to join the programme while you have a full-time job, however we do require you to be present during all the sessions. Some of our alumni have done so successfully. It will be a busy time, but that is what it takes when you want to start your own business. In the end, it simply depends on how effective you are in using the time that you have. Testing your idea and building a business is no walk in the park and we will push you to go as fast as possible and expect you to make real progress in-between sessions. We do require you to be present at all of the sessions of the programme. Many of our alumni who combined the programme with a full-time job tell us that having the structure, rhythm and a fellow group of entrepreneurs around them actually forced them to take steps much faster than they would have otherwise been able to do.

Is it possible to get a discount on the participation fee for the Erasmus Startup Programme?

ECE encourages entrepreneurship amongst students. Therefore, students can receive a special scholarship discount, the student fee will be 175,- Euro including VAT. This is applicable to Dutch and international students from universities and universities of applied sciences (HBO). It is not available for students of post-initial education (MBO and other).

What does it take to get accepted into the Erasmus Startup Programme?

Our application process consist of two simple steps. The first is an online questionnaire in which you tell us more about you and your startup. Based on your answers, we decide if we want to invite you to the second round, a personal interview. During both steps, we review your application by looking at the idea itself on the one hand, and you as a person on the other. With regards to the idea, we consider to what extent it is something new or innovative and if it has the potential to scale. When it comes to you as a person, we look at your professional and entrepreneurial background, what you’ve achieved so far in moving your idea forward and your personal ambitions. If you can show us your potential, you’re most welcome to be a part of our Startup community.

What does the Erasmus Startup Programme look like, and do I have to be present at every session?

The Erasmus Startup Programme is a four week programme that empowers ambitious young entrepreneurs to validate their innovate and scalable ideas and find  the right product market fit. We fill focus on learning you the entrepreneurial process and adapt the right entrepreneurial mindset.

It consists out of four full day sessions (always on Friday) in which we coach you, through various workshops and tools, how to validate your business idea, interact successfully with your customer group and to become an entrepreneur.

If the dates of one of our classes do not work for you, keep an eye out for our next programme; we run three of them every year!

I’m looking for an investment, can you connect me to investors?

Yes and no. ECE has a huge network that does include many investors. A number of our coaches are also active as angel investors or venture capitalists and the ECE Campus is home to companies such as Symbid, Equidam and Maas & Kleiberg who can all support you in your quest for funding. That being said, it is our experience that many of our participants are not ready for an investment yet and raising money is therefore not the primary purpose of the Get Started programme. These subjects are covered in other programmes for later stage startups.

What kind of workplace will I get at the ECE Campus when I join the Erasmus Startup Programme?

The ECE campus consists of more than 10.000m2. We’ve got 7 amazing new floors that all have their own theme (including the Life Sciences & Health hub). Our campus is the home base for our community, consisting of 100+ innovative companies that are situated here: start-ups, scale-ups and corporates. During the six weeks of the Get Started programme,  you’ll have a Business Membership of ECE; that means you can make free use of our dedicated desk area on the sixth floor as well as the numerous flex working spaces throughout the building.  That also means  you can reserve all the meeting rooms to host customers or partners and can even host your own event if you’d like. Did we already mention we also have a ping pong table, bar and stunning view over the port of Rotterdam?

Get in touch

Interested to know more?

Curious to learn more about the Erasmus Startup Programme and how we might be able to validate your scalable business ideas and find your first customer?

Get in touch with Jip Dresia.


Phone: +31 10 302 1331

Jip Dresia

Programme Manager