Charting the future with Stijn, a startup scout on a voyage from UMC Utrecht to MIT

In the fast-paced world of startups and innovation, prospective entrepreneurs frequently go into unknown territory in search of the elusive junction of passion and purpose. Stijn, a committed student startup scout at UtrechtInc, takes one such trip, weaving a riveting tale of crossing the domains of academics, life sciences, and business.

An interesting chapter awaits Stijn as his trip progresses. He will begin a six-month educational adventure at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston in February. Because MIT is known for its cutting-edge research, innovation, and entrepreneurial ecosystem, this opportunity promises to be life-changing.

Stijn’s path to entrepreneurship with a background in biomedical sciences

An educational odyssey: Discovering the spark of inspiration

Every business journey starts with a spark of imagination. Stijn’s insight came after weathering a time of uncertainty in his academic journey. As he recounts, “Until four years ago, I didn’t really know what I wanted except for something in the life sciences.” Yet, the cloud of uncertainty dissipated as he embarked on his master’s program, illuminating a clear path forward.

The fascination of combining research and innovation originated from his realization that typical career paths given by large life science firms no longer spoke to him. This break from the appeal of corporate gigantic corporations highlights a fundamental truth: as people develop, they are typically driven to smaller, agile companies or the desire to create their own.

Big biotech and pharma companies didn’t attract me well, partly because of their corporate image. That’s why I like working at UtrechtInc while researching cells on the side.

Pre-determined fate and a personal choice

Stijn’s academic journey through the bio sciences demonstrates the crucial significance of early educational decisions. He goes on to say, “During high school in the Netherlands, you need to choose your educational profile.” Stijn chose a science-focused profile because of an inherent interest in the biological sciences, which prompted him to investigate areas such as biology and physics. Throughout his bachelor’s programme, his persistent devotion to this path created the groundwork for his future studies.

While this trip eventually led him to a specialization in cells and research, it was during this time that Stijn became more conscious of the value of multidisciplinary teamwork. He developed “Denktank Gezondverstand” (Think Tank Common Sense), a platform that brought 20 multidisciplinary students together to address real-world difficulties confronting health and life science organizations. This endeavor highlighted the transforming impact of multiple viewpoints in tackling complicated issues, a lesson that would be essential in his job as a startup scout.

Empowering future entrepreneurs: The role of a Student Startup Scout

Stijn’s role as a student startup scout extends beyond spotting promising candidates. It entails spreading information about UtrechtInc, encouraging fellow students to pursue entrepreneurship, and collaborating with a diverse range of student organizations and educators to promote UtrechtInc’s programmes.

He has gained significant insights while pursuing this cause. Notably, he recognised the importance of tailoring his presentations to various audiences, especially when dealing with online classes. He says, “For example, I learned that I need to prepare questions for a group before I start talking to them, especially when the classes are online.” This realization emphasizes the fundamental need of adaptation in communication, which is essential for any business and a critical trait for any entrepreneur.

A catalyst for change: Leading the way

Stijn’s journey as a startup scout transcends the mere selection of startups for UtrechtInc’s validation program. It has a profound impact on his personal and professional growth. He acknowledges that his role has already polished his interpersonal and communication skills, underscoring the significance of understanding the audience and refining presentation skills.

The communication between UtrechtInc’s team members, what their personalities are like, how much enthusiasm they have, their thinking towards tackling problems. I can learn a lot from them and use the skills I’m developing for my future career.

Stijn feels that this experience will leave an everlasting effect on his profession in the future. Whether he becomes an entrepreneur or pursues other opportunities, his ability to build and lead a team, develop passion, and identify the appropriate personnel will be crucial. His story represents the spirit of pursuing entrepreneurial endeavours early and accepting new difficulties, and it serves as a beacon for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to combine their hobbies with the world of entrepreneurship.

Six months at MIT: An educational adventure awaits

Stijn will be able to immerse himself in a lively community of researchers and entrepreneurs while at MIT, studying from the finest and brightest in the area. This experience will surely improve his business ability, and his MIT insights and contacts will be beneficial for the firms he analyzes in the future.

Stijn embarks on this educational trip at MIT, one of the world’s leading institutes for technology and innovation, expecting to return with a treasure mine of information and experience to accelerate his path as an aspiring entrepreneur. Stijn shares a quote that describes his ambitions to capture the spirit of his upcoming experience,

My time at MIT is going to be a whole new experience for me. I’ll meet many researchers there who I’ll be able to learn from. Hopefully I’ll be able to bring something valuable back.

Scouting for tomorrow: Looking to the future

Finally, Stijn’s story demonstrates the importance of self-discovery, the value of early academic decisions, and the revolutionary potential of combining science and business. As he continues to encourage and hunt for the next generation of startups, his path acts as an inspiration for people who aspire to combine their interests with the world of entrepreneurship.

Contact as many people as you can within the first days and then you will pitch the hell out of the presentations.


Posted November 2023