Flex Nest winner of the first Medical Delta ECE Innovation Challenge

From November 20th to 22nd the first edition of the Medical Delta ECE Innovation Challenge was held at the Rotterdam Science Incubator. The challenge is created by the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship in order to give young students the exiting opportunity to sample the thrills of becoming young entrepreneurs. During a 3-day boot camp motivated and creative teams were asked to develop a solution to a challenging question, presented by the VITALITY! Programme of Medical Delta: How can we encourage and assist the older generation to get the most out of life, and continue to make a contribution to society, despite disabilities?

The challenge was introduced by Professor Rudi Westendorp from Medical Delta-VITALITY! and Xen Buijs from Esri. During the boot camp the teams were given  inspiring talks by Thomas Blekman, lecturer of the Erasmus Center for Entrepreneurship and Anne-Marije Buckens, entrepreneur of 2013 with her company 50Company, which assists the 50+ population to get new jobs adequate for their skills and interests. A further source of inspiration was the recent Medical Delta report Shades of Grey: a market research study on the opinions, needs and desires of the 55+population group.

Experts of the vitality and entrepreneurial field assisted the nine teams from three Dutch universities (Tu Delft; Tu Eindhoven; Erasmus University) to develop their ideas. At the end of the boot camp each team presented a 3-minute pitch to the jury, formed by Frans van der Ouderaa (Medical Delta-VITALITY!), Xen Buijs (Esri), Jochem Cuppen (Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship), Wim Naaije (Erasmus University Rotterdam) and HendrikJan van Katwijk (BraintrainerPlus).

The jury awarded Michelle Corten (Tu Delft Industrial Design) and Anne Hermans (Tu Delft Biomedical Engineering) the ECE Innovation Challenge 2013 prize for their concept FLEX NEST. Flex Nest is a start-up that helps the ‘empty nester’ generation to lease space that has become available due to the offspring flying the nest, to young entrepreneurs who need flexible space for their business. The added benefit of this arrangement is a degree of intergenerational contact. The jury was unanimous in their view because of the originality of the concept, the fact that it could be executed almost immediately and the potential for social contacts between generations.

The judges awarded the concept Extended Family from TU Eindhoven (Laura van den Broek and Sten Verbruggen) the second place, and Sharing & Caring from TU Delft (Jorien Cousijn and Piet de Vries) the third place.