Get Started

TURN YOUR IDEA INTO A STARTUP IN 12 WEEKS

Get Started is a 12-week programme that empowers ambitious startup entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into a business and scale it. Through mentoring, workshops and an amazing network, you’ll work on building a product that people want and love, and create a business model around it.

WHAT WE OFFER YOU

Mentoring

Active mentoring from our network of investors, experienced entrepreneurs and experts

View mentors

Workshops

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

See programme

Inspiring workplace

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

Check ECE Campus

Online Learning

Online courses and other materials are accessible. Keep track on your progress and skill development.

Coming soon

PROGRAMME STRUCTURE

The Get Started is a 12 week programme divided in two parts. The first part will teach you the entrepreneurship principles you need to successfully create a product people would want. In the second part you put this knowledge to work to validate your startup.

First part (February 5 – March 2): The first 4 weeks are in collaboration with Yes!Delft and will consist of 4 sessions. The main goal is to develop the business idea of the participants and the creation of the first business model. The sessions will be filled with workshops on topics such as lean startup, customer development and business modelling. Additionally, an Online Learning Programme gives the opportunity to extend your knowledge and track your progress.  Each Get Started batch consists of ±30 startups, so you won’t be alone in your entrepreneurial journey.

Second part (March 9 –  April 20): The first part will be followed up by 8 weeks of validation. During these 8 weeks there will 4 sessions, each on Friday. The focus is on bringing everything learned in practice with guidance of personal coaches. Furthermore, there will be inspirational sessions, with speakers from successful startups.

On Thursday evening, 1st of February, we have the kick-off of the programme with all participants! This way you all can get to know each other in an informal atmosphere, while enjoying a refreshing drink.

Programme dates:

5th of February – 20th of April

First part: Monday 5, 12 & 19 February and Friday 2 March.
Second part: Friday  9 & 23 March and Friday 6 & 20 April. 

Application deadline January 11

David FranzenFounder Nocto

"The Get Started programme provided everything from validation, mentorship, constructive criticism to users. A stepping stone to making it more than just a concept."

JOIN ONE OF OUR FOUR ADDITIONAL TRACKS

 

While the Get Started programme has no specific industry focus, we do offer four special tracks focused on entrepreneurs with ideas in these specific areas:

  • Circular Economy
    In collaboration with Stichting Maatschappij en Onderneming (SMO) and Het Groene Brein, we’re offering a special track for entrepreneurs with a circular business idea.
  • Health
    For people who would like to start their company in the field of life sciences and health, in collaboration with a.o. the Life Sciences & Health hub (located on the 9th floor of our ECE Campus).
  • Food
    For startups active in Food, Agriculture, Horticulture and FreshFood logistics. In collaboration with Rotterdam Food Cluster.
  • Creative
    For entrepreneurs active in the creative industries. In collaboration with the Willem de Kooning Academy of Rotterdam. 

You’ll be going through the same programme as all the other entrepreneurs, but on top of that will have access to a specific network of partners and coaches in either one of these fields. They can offer feedback on challenges that are specific to your field, such as possible circular business models. Participation in these special tracks is optional.

SOME OF OUR 60+ MENTORS

Diana de Graaf

Diana de Graaf

Sustainability Consultant at De Graaf & Co
Simone Brummelhuis

Simone Brummelhuis

Founder & CEO TheNextWomen
Frank Appeldoorn

Frank Appeldoorn

Principal Volta Ventures
Machiel Oskam

Machiel Oskam

Founder & UX designer Online Department
Jan Borghuis

Jan Borghuis

Founder Greenwheels
Pascal Brekelmans

Pascal Brekelmans

Founder Dante 6
Gianluca Valentini

Gianluca Valentini

Co-Founder Equidam
Tachmy Dilmy

Tachmy Dilmy

Founder OneRetail
Berry Tanis

Berry Tanis

Entrepreneur & Investor
Mark Venekamp

Mark Venekamp

Manager Humanitas Foundation
Keith Wallace

Keith Wallace

Partner De Investeerdersclub
Christian van der Hagen

Christian van der Hagen

Managing Partner B4B Ventures

HOW TO APPLY & COSTS

 

If you’re interested in joining the programme, simply apply using the form on this page. We will shoot you an email with the request to answer some questions. If we like your answers, we will invite you for a meeting to make the final decision.

Application deadline:

Class of 2018: 11th of January

Participation Fee:

The 12-week programme costs €625 (incl. VAT) per person.
For students, we offer a scholarship discount, so the programme costs €300 (incl. VAT) for students per person.

The Business Membership during those 12 weeks is included in this price.

JOIN MORE THAN 320 GRADUATES

 

Since the start of the Get Started programme we’ve supported more than 320 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.

WHAT OUR GRADUATES SAY

The Get Started programme sucked me into entrepreneurship, gave me lots of inspiration and ideas, and introduced me to the importance of scalability.Fabian Dudek, Founder of Nestpick

“The Get Started 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

“The wide variety of coaches at the Get Started programme offered a great opportunity to discuss my ideas with experienced entrepreneurs from very different backgrounds. It wasn’t about the answers; it was about thinking differently.” – Mark Stoutjesdijk, Founder of Carelinkz

“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

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why should I join the Get Started programme?

If you are an ambitious entrepreneur with an innovative idea, but need some help to turn it into an actual business:  the Get Started programme is the perfect push forward. Over the past five years, we’ve helped more than 250 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! You’ll be able to ask the questions you want to our mentors, who are experienced entrepreneurs, experts in specific fields and investors. We’ll also 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 Get Started programme?

Contrary to many other startup programs, you do not need a team to join Get Started. 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 Get Started, 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 Get Started 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 Get Started programme while I have a full-time job?

Yes, it is possible to join the programme while you have a full-time job. 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 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 th eprogramme. Many of our alumni who combined Get Started 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 Get Started programme?

ECE encourages entrepreneurship amongst students. Therefore, we offer a scholarship of €325 as long as you’re a student. 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 Get Started 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 Get Started community.

What does the Get Started programme look like, and do I have to be present at every session?

The first four weeks, we organise mandatory sessions at our campus and Yes!Delft once a week. The days will be filled with workshops on several entrepreneurial skills and methods, such as effectuation, customer development, ideation and more. Each workshops consist of a theory session and a practical assignment. We’ll also have several experienced entrepreneurs as guest speakers who will share their experiences and lessons learned.

The next eight weeks, there will be meetings once on Friday every two weeks. The meetings will start with the implementation and development of the ideas. During the afternoon, there’s room to speak with our coaches to discuss questions, ideas, opportunities and challenges you run into. We do not mandate what you can talk about, it is entirely up to you to decide what you want to discuss with them. Coaching takes place both on an individual basis as well as in groups with your fellow entrepreneurs (peer-to-peer support). In our experience, you often share similar challenges and discussing them together helps to create new perspectives and ideas on how to tackle them. In addition, there will be inspirational sessions with entrepreneurs.

These full-day sessions are the backbone of the programme and provide you with the necessary knowledge and feedback to move your idea forward. It is therefore important that you attend all of them. Through the Learning Management System, we will track your personal development. This way we can analyze whether you are making steps forward.

On Thursday evening before the first Friday session we have the kick-off of the programme with all participants. For your information, this is the only evening session and the only session on Thursday in those 12 weeks; it is required you attend the kick-off.

If the dates of one of our classes do not work for you, keep an eye out for our next programme; we run two 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. We do spend time on discussing the many different fundraising options out there and the do’s and don’ts, so you already know the basics for when you are looking to raise funding at a later point in time.

What kind of workplace will I get at the ECE Campus when I join the Get Started 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 10 weeks of the Get Started programme,  you’ll have a Business Membership of ECE; that means you can make free use of all the flex-workplaces and facilities at every single floor.  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?

What is the content of the specific tracks of the Get Started programme offers?

While the Get Started programme has no specific industry focus, we do offer four special tracks focused on entrepreneurs with ideas in the area of Circular Economy (CE), Health, Food or the Creative industry.
You’ll be going through the same programme as all the other entrepreneurs, but on top of that will have access to a specific network of partners and coaches in these fields. They can offer feedback on challenges that are specific to your field, such as possible circular business models.

The Circular Economy track is done in collaboration with Stichting Maatschappij en Onderneming (SMO) and Het Groene Brein.

Our Health track is a collaboration with the Life Sciences & Health hub that is located on the 9th floor of the ECE Campus and that has partners as Erasmus Medical Center and LabHotel.

The Food track is for entrepreneurs who want to innovate in the Foodsector.

The Creative track is an association with the Willem de Kooning Academy.

Is your sustainable company already a scale-up instead of a startup? Check out CE Booster for a programme that suits your company phase.

I have more questions!

Give us a call or send an e-mail: +(31)10 302 1331 or getstarted@ece.nl

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