Erasmus Start It Up

Turn your idea into a startup

Explore the potential of your idea and determine the next steps  

Erasmus Start It Up is an intensive one-day programme that empowers you to validate and give direction to your startup idea(s). We train you to implement the entrepreneurship process, identify your ideal customer, and understand his or her needs.  

You will have access to a great place to work and receive feedback from the ECE Community, which houses many successful entrepreneurs. The programme aims to contribute to your personal entrepreneurial skills and will have a lasting impact on youentrepreneurial career! 

Learning objectives

During this programme, you will: 

  • Develop an understanding on how to engage in the entrepreneurship process using lean startup and design thinking techniques; 
  • Gain skills in how to identify your customer and understand his or her needs;  
  • Exchange views with like-minded aspiring entrepreneurs; 
  • Determine the next steps to develop your startup. 

Meet our alumni

Since the start of the Startup Programmes we’ve supported more than 400 ambitious entrepreneurs in setting up their venture. Our alumni represent different nationalities from around the world and from a wide range of business sectors. For an overview of our startup alumni, please visit our alumni website.

Our alumni

“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 this 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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“This 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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Who can apply

Find out if this programme is interesting for you

Are you passionate about entrepreneurship but unsure about the next steps for your startup idea? Can you relate to Sally?

…then Erasmus Start It Up is the perfect way to find out what you can do with your startup idea!

Sally: a model participant

Sally is someone with an idea. She believes she has identified a gap in the market that her product/service can successfully address. Sally is very excited about her idea, as her friends and family have been telling her to give it a try. Her peers recognize her as a creative and as someone who would pull through and make this a success. However, she is not sure yet if she should invest more time and energy in the idea, or to work on something else. She needs to make a decision as to whether she wants to continue but she has little experience with entrepreneurship.

Sally, being a social person who likes to brainstorm with others, can join Erasmus Start It Up to gain the tools needed to validate her idea, share it and get feedback from ECE facilitators and other aspiring entrepreneurs participating in the programme.

Course information

Find out more about the content of the programme


This bootcamp is a combination of different interactive workshops covering the essential components of entrepreneurship according to the Lean Startup methodology.


  • meet your co-founder
  • introduction & principles of entrepreneurship
  • customer discovery
  • guest speaker entrepreneur


You do not need to prepare anything for this programme, as long as you bring with you a good dose of enthusiasm!

Teaching Method

Read more about our learning approach

This programme is structured in such a way that it does not only provide the participants with theoretical knowledge and insights about entrepreneurship and innovation, but it also equips them to put the skills learned during the programme into practice right away. This is achieved through our teaching method: Experiential Learning. This method assumes that learning is a continuous process of experiences that are transferred into knowledge. The method consists of the following four phases:








Using this method enables participants to reflect on their learning experiences and allows them to develop abstract concepts. Simultaneously, this method encourages them to initiate experiments to test the concepts that they developed. This learning method is different from more traditional learning methods in multiple ways:

  • Through experiential learning participants are expected to take responsibility for managing their own learning trajectory.
  • The learning process takes place in a larger sense than merely the physical space of the classroom. Participants receive the tools in class, which can be used directly within the organisation.
  • We believe that knowledge creation should take place along different paths; not just between participants and facilitator but through peer consultation as well. As such, participants are encouraged to actively partake in the programme, as it directly influences their learning experience.


See which academics and practitioners facilitate this programme

2-3 experienced facilitators from Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship will lead this bootcamp.

Annique de Greef

Head of Education

Robin Driessen

Project Coordinator Education

Leonardo Fuligni

Deputy Director

Jip Dresia

Programme Manager Education

Katty Hsu

Senior Researcher & Startup Facilitator

Dates and fees

Read more about the upcoming bootcamp

Erasmus Start It Up takes place several times a year. Please review the information below to learn more about the workshop dates and application deadline.

  • The next edition of Erasmus Start it Up takes place Tuesday April 19th between 16:00 and 20:00. Applications can be submitted until 21 February 2022 or until the programme is full (maximum capacity TBD).

This edition is free for all students from higher education institutions (MBO-HBO-WO) in Rotterdam.

Please note that if you’ve applied for the event but cannot make it you should cancel 48 hours in advance (so we can give persons on the waiting list a chance to join). If you cancel later than 48 hours before the event we will charge a fee of 25,- ex VAT, unless you can provide proof that you tested positive for COVID-19 or that you are required to stay in quarantine.

Our general terms and conditions apply when you register for an open programme. Please review them to learn more about our policies for cancellation, deferral and substitution.

11th floor of Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship (Marconistraat 16, Rotterdam).


Read the frequently asked questions

Why should I join the programme?

If you are an aspiring entrepreneur with an innovative idea for a startup, but need some help on where to start: Start It Up 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 decide whether or not you should pursue your startup, but we are going to provide you with knowledge of the entrepreneurship process and useful skills on how confront your own ideas in an entrepreneurial way.

How much time will I need to spend on this programme?

The programme itself consists of one full-day. You do not need to prepare anything in advance.

What kind of people can join the Erasmus Start It Up?

We are looking for ambitious and motivated 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.

Is it possible to get a discount on the participation fee for the Erasmus Start It Up?

We offer a discounted price for members of ECE Students at €5 (excl. VAT) per person. Editions sponsored by O2LAB Rotterdam are free for all students from higher education institutions (MBO-HBO-WO) in Rotterdam.

What does the application process of Erasmus Start It Up look like?

As we want to bring together people with different, innovative ideas, we do not maintain a strict application process for Erasmus Start It Up . We ask you to fill out an online questionnaire in which you tell us more about you and your startup idea. Based on your answers, we decide if we want to accept you. Regarding the idea, we consider to what extent it is something new or innovative and if it has the potential to scale. If you can show us the potential of your startup idea and your entrepreneurial motivation, you’re most welcome to be a part of the Erasmus Start It Up experience!

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

Yes and no. ECE has a huge network that includes investors. 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 focus of the Erasmus Startup It Up. The subject of funding is covered in other programmes for later stage startups.

Are you ready to take the next step?

The next Start It up will be announced soon!