Venture Challenge: Coaching for enterprising researchers in life sciences

9 January 2020

The Venture Challenge In order to help starting entrepreneurs in the life sciences to bring their service or product to the market, NWO launches a new instrument: the Venture Challenge. In a programme of approximately ten weeks, starters receive support in setting up a company and developing their idea into a solid business case.

Researchers often do not have the experience and knowledge needed to set up a commercial organisation and to come to a market-ready product. It is usually too early for private investors and experienced entrepreneurs to step in during the start-up phase, for example because the business case is not yet sufficiently clear to them. The Venture Challenge helps by developing a well-thought out business case together with the researchers. This provides insight into what is needed to bring the invention to the market.

Bootcamps and coaching sessions

The Venture Challenge is aimed at teams of three to five people who are planning to bring a product or service in the field of life sciences & health to the market as a new start-up. The product or service is based on a new technological discovery or a new application of existing technology, arising from scientific research.
The programme, which is opened up twice a year, consists of two three-day bootcamps and regular coaching sessions. Participants work under the supervision of experienced coaches, to set up or improve their business case. The supervision can possibly be expanded with experts and entrepreneurs with a background in life sciences & health. The entire process takes ten to twelve weeks. At the end, the participants pitch their plans in front of a jury, including experienced entrepreneurs and investors.


Top sector Life Sciences & Health

The Venture Challenge is an instrument of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, the implementation of which has been outsourced to NWO Domain Applied and Engineering Sciences. Though new at NWO, the instrument has existed for many years. Until 2019, it was carried out by the top sector Life Sciences & Health (Health-Holland). As from 2020, NWO will be responsible for the organisation, with the intention of linking up as closely as possible with the previous editions of the Venture Challenge. More information about the history and background of the Venture Challenge can be found on the website LifeSciences@work.

Open for applications: 21 January 2020

More information about the Venture Challenge can be found on the programme page on our website. Application for the Spring Edition, which starts in April,  will be open on 21 January. Deadline: 25 February. No later than 6 April NWO will announce the selected start-ups for this edition.

Source: NWO