Get Started Programme

Validate your idea and find your first customer in four weeks!

Spring Programme

Application Deadline:
 Feb 23  

Selection interviews: Feb 26 – Mar 6

Programme sessions: Mar 15, 22, 29
__________________Apr 5


Summer Programme

Application Deadline:
 Jun 1

Selection interviews: Jun 4 – Jun 12

Programme Sessions: Jun 21, 28
_________________..Jul 5, 12


Autumn Programme

Application Deadline:
 Aug 24

Selection interviews: Aug 27 – Sep 4 

Programme Sessions: Sep 13, 20, 27
__________________Okt 4

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Make your first prototype

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Find your customer

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Pitch your product

When, what, how?

  • When: 3 start dates a year in March, June and September
  • What: 4 full day sessions on Fridays
  • Result after: indentified your ideal customer, made your first product and pitched it to your customer
  • Strength: train you into receiving constant customer feedback
  • Costs: 300,- E, for Students 175,- E (both inc. 21% VAT)
  • Is this for you?: if you want to find out if there is a market for your business idea

What we offer you


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

See programme
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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

Check ECE Campus
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Online Learning

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


Programme set up

The Get Started Programme is a four week programme that empowers you to validate your scalable business ideas and find your first customer. We train you to use the entrepreneurship process by heart and understand how you can find out what your customer wants.

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

After the first 4 weeks, starting entrepreneurs that are ready to take the next step can be invited to continue the development of their business in the Get Business programme.

Application Process


The costs for the Get Started Programme are 300,- Euro including VAT per participant, for the duration of the programme. These costs cover: the four days of workshops, 4 weeks of access to a workspace on the ECE campus and access to our online Learning Management System.

Students can receive a special scholarship discount, the student fee will be 175,- Euro including VAT.

In consultation with the Project Manager, participants may be invited to join the Get Business programme for a reduced price.

Join more than 400 graduates


Since the start of the Get Started 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.

Banner Graduates starup programmes ECE

What our graduates say

“If you think of your idea as a seed, then the Get Started Programme would be the pot in which it will first sprout” – Aman Jindal, Founder of DeNoize

Image Fabian Dudek

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

Image Jade Ruijzenaars

“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

Image Mark Stoutjesdijk

“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

Image Berry Kriesels

“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 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 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, 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 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 €125 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 Get Started 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 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 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?

Ruben Habraken

Project Manager Get Started

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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Requesting more information on the startup programmes

Thank you for showing interest in one of our Startup Programmes. In the form below we would like you to leave behind your contact details so that we can contact you with more information about our programmes, now and in the future.
Personal Details

Requesting more information on the startup programmes

Thank you for showing interest in one of our Startup Programmes. In the form below we would like you to leave behind your contact details so that we can contact you with more information about our programmes, now and in the future.
Personal Details