Teaching (Technology) Entrepreneurship at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Boost your entrepreneurship
and build your own business

VUB TechTransfer wishes to create more awareness of entrepreneurship with researchers and young professionals and organizes two courses: the Starter Seminars and the Advanced Starter Seminars. Since 1995 the Starter Seminars provide a short but intensive introduction on the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and business. A variety of topics is covered such as developing a business plan, finance, marketing, the complex issues surrounding patenting,... . Students of this program will acquire the vocabulary and mindset needed to think intelligently about their potential venture and thus interact more efficiently with tech transfer offices, investors and other partners.
In 2014 we have introduced a follow-up course, the Advanced Starter Seminars, where business aspects and starting up a company are treated more in-depth. In 2016 the closing session on Crowdfunding of both Starters and Advanced was organized in collaboration with VUB Crosstalks.

Both courses are preceded by a Launch Event. The Launch Event is open to anyone interested in (technological) entrepreneurship and tech transfer. During this event you can discover more about the content and program of the (Advanced) Starter Seminars and listen to testimonials of VUB entrepreneurs.

New in 2016: bachelor students of all faculties can subscribe to an extended version of the (Advanced) Starter Seminars to obtain an 'Attest Bedrijfsbeheer',  a legal necessity to start up a company in Belgium. Once a bachelor degree is obtained, this is no longer necessary.

Practicalities (Advanced) Starter Seminars

The Starter Seminars are especially destined to VUB master & PhD students and researchers but are open to anyone interested. 
The Advanced Starter Seminars are destined to people who already have some background in business management. Preferably you have already followed the Starter Seminars or 'Introduction to business' or another basic management or business course.

Under certain conditions the Starters as well as Advanced course can be accounted for as part of PhD’s Doctoral Training Programs of the VUB*.

A Certificate of Participation will be delivered to all participants that regularly attend the seminars (attendance list needs to be signed at each class).

Starter Seminars: 11 sessions on Tuesdays and 4 on Thursdays (6.15-9.15 pm) - Oct-Dec
Advanced Starter Seminars: 10 sessions on Thursdays (6.15-9.15 pm) - Oct-Dec

Both courses are preceded by a LAUNCH EVENT.

Venue: VUB - Campus Etterbeek

Participation fee 2016

  • Starter Seminars: 250 Euro
  • Personnel VUB/EhB/ULB: 150 Euro
  • Students (incl students who graduated in 2014-2015) VUB/EhB/ULB: 50 Euro
  • VUB PhD students: free under certain conditions*
  • Advanced Starter Seminars: 210 Euro
  • Personnel VUB/EhB/ULB: 120 Euro
  • Students (incl students who graduated in 2014-2015) VUB/EhB/ULB: 40 Euro
  • VUB PhD students: free under certain conditions*
  • Launch Event is free of charge and open to anyone interested. Registration obligatory.

*After registration PhD students will receive a Proof of Participation (a personal attendance list) that has to be signed by the lecturer at each seminar. When regularly attending the seminars, registration is free of charge and PhD students will receive credits and a Certificate of Participation.
To obtain your credits, free subscription and Certificate of Participation please send your signed Proof of Participation as soon as possible after the last seminar to  the Central Doctoral Schools.
Or you can scan the doc and send it by email to nele.vanschelvergem@vub.be

Nele Van Schelvergem
Central PhD Office, room 4M423
VUB - Campus Etterbeek
Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussels

During online registration you pay for the subscription fee through an online payment module.

'Opleidingscheques' and subsidies through KMO-portefeuille are accepted. The reference (erkenningsnummer) that has to be used when you apply for KMO-portefeuille is DV.O103795. Please send an email to alenaga@vub.ac.be if you will pay with Opleidingscheques or KMO-portefeuille.

For more information contact:
alena.aga@vub.be - 02/629 38 47 or 22 07

A new series of Advanced and Starter Seminars will be organized during the first semester of the academic year 2017-2018. For your info you can find the program of 2016 hereunder.

Program Launch event 2016 - Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer @VUB

Location: U-Residence, Campus Etterbeek

5.30 pm Registration, welcome coffee & sandwiches

6.15 pm Hugo Thienpont - Vicerector Innovation & Industrial Policy, Director B-PHOT (Brussels Photonics Team), VUB 

Welcome - The role of an entrepreneurial mindset at the university and vision on the future

6.20 pm Sonja Haesen - Head VUB TechTransfer, VUB

Support for valorisation of research, by VUB and other sources

6.30 pm Marc Goldchstein - Lecturer, Technology Transfer Officer Entrepreneurship Education KTI, VUB

Starter Seminars and other educational programs on (technology) entrepreneurship @VUB

***Special Guest Speakers from VUB spin-off companies***
7.00 pm  Wim De Malssche,
Founder & Scientific Advisor Pharmafluidics
7.20 pm Jo Van Hoecke,
Chief Product Officer and co-founder Double Pass
7.40 pm Collibra/SoftKinetic-Sony (Optrima)
presented by Marc Goldchstein
Followed by drink & networking around 8 pm.

Program Starter Seminars 2016

11 sessions on Tuesdays
4 sessions on Thursdays (together with Advanced Starters)
from 6.15 till 9.15 pm

Sessions 1 & 2 - Oct 4 & 11: Understanding business ecosystems I & II

The first sessions are dedicated to understanding how ‘industries’ are ‘organized’. Marc Goldchstein , lecturer and Technology Transfer Officer Entrepreneurship Education, will elaborate on how different sectors are defined, the role of value chains and workflows within those sectors, the main types of actors in these value chains and ecosystems. We get to know typical industry dynamics such as network effects, standards, economies of scale, regional clusters. Focus is put on the actor of change in these ecosystems: innovation. We learn how innovations are adopted and evolve over time. Patents and IP rights are also on the agenda but will be treated more thoroughly later on in a seperate session.

Sessions 3 & 4 - Oct 18 & 25: Formulating strategies I & II

Marc Goldchstein addresses the key challenge of every startup: formulating a strategy that leads to a viable spot in the business ecosystem. We start by studying the three dimensions that define the nature of a technology venture: the enabling technology, the venture’s place in the value chain, the end-user industry. We then discuss the three key questions a strategy must address: what do you bring to the table; what is your value proposition; what is the concrete plan. We cover such topics as core assets, customer focus, value propositions and performance criteria, value chain strategies, the role of industrial partners. We discuss business models and study some typical technology-based business and revenue models; we learn to chart an ecosystem map. We then discuss different perspectives that are used to assess the potential of a venture, as well as the challenge of formulating strategies in inherently uncertain worlds.
During the 2nd session Nikolay Dentchev, Prof. of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at VUB and Business Planning at HUBrussels will join in to elaborate on key issues in sustainability and social corporate governance.

Session 5 - Nov 8: Legal aspects

Elke Janssen, partner at Nautadutilh, one of the largest international law firms in the Benelux, will elaborate on some key legal aspects related to entrepreneurship, such as the basics of incorporation (NV/BVBA, Board of Directors, shares,...).

Session 6,7 & 8 - Nov 15, 22 & 29: Finance I, II & III

Marie-Laure Vandenhaute of Accounting and Auditing (ACCO) of the VUB Business department will give three sessions on the key topic of financial management. We study key financial reports (balance sheets and profit-and-loss statements) and accounting concepts (investment, depreciation, stock, accrual…). We learn to analyze financial accounts; we study cash flow planning. We cover specific aspects such as VAT, taxes, labour costs, insurance… Finally, Marc Goldchstein addresses the topic of startup funding.

Session 9 - Dec 6: Marketing

Marc Goldchstein will elaborate on some marketing aspects of startups. First we study key differences between selling to consumers and businesses. We discuss how entrepreneurs can assemble knowledge about their markets. We touch on the role of product management and discuss pricing aspects. We discuss marketing communications for high tech entrepreneurs. We study the role of distribution channels and sales organizations, and touch on the role of customer service.

Session 10 - Dec 13: Intellectual Property (IP)

Often patents are a major asset of a high tech startup. In this session Hugo Loosvelt of VUB TechTransfer presents key concepts of patents and other IP rights. Hugo Loosvelt has been a technology transfer officer since 2006. He manages the patent portfolio of the university in close collaboration with the inventors and research teams involved. Hugo negociates R&D and licensing contracts with VUB’s industrial partners. He is actively involved in creating awareness within the science community about Intellectual Property and licensing issues and is recognised as a registered technology transfer professional by the Alliance of Technology Transfer Professionals (ATTP). Hugo Loosvelt graduated as an industrial engineer in industrial chemistry and obtained his PhD in physics.

Session 11 - Dec 20: Team and management aspects

In this module Ingrid De Clercq, an expert in team composition for entrepreneurial teams at CONGAZ, focuses on the organizational aspects of entrepreneurial ventures. We give a roundup of the different ‘management tasks’ in a technology venture and discuss concepts of general management. We elaborate on one of the key challenges of entrepreneurship: building a team of top notch professionals. We look at some aspects of human resources management.

The seminars below take place on Thursdays and are part of the Starters as well as Advanced seminars (for more details see below):

Nov 24: Academic entrepreneurship in practice: testimonials and Q&A

Dec 1: Crowdfunding: a new financing paradigm?

Dec 8 & 15: Pitch your Project! 

Program Advanced Starter Seminars 2016

10 sessions on Thursdays
from 6.15 till 9.15 pm

The Advanced Starter Seminars are destined to people who already have some background in economics. Preferably you have already followed the Starter Seminars or 'Introduction to business' or another basic management or business course.

Session 1 - Oct 6: Recap of key concepts

Marc Goldchstein of VUB TechTransfer will recap the key concepts that the entrepreneur has to master in his thinking about his venture.
Marc is Technology Transfer Officer responsible for Entrepreneurship Education.

Session 2 - Oct 13: Intro Venture Capital

In this session Guy Huylebroeck, investment partner at QBIC, the inter-university Venture Capital Fund of a/o the VUB, will address the following topics:

  • how does QBIC evaluate the potential of a project and of a team?
  • how does QBIC valuate the project and its contribution?
  • what are showstoppers for QBIC when evaluating projects?
  • which specific clauses may QBIC want to include in the shareholder agreement?
  • how will QBIC spread the investment over different stages?
  • moreover the speaker will present the Venture Capital Fund QBIC

Qbic Fund is a multi-sector fund supporting spin-off companies of the Ghent, Brussels and Antwerp university associations and VITO.

Session 3 - Oct 20: Negotiating with investors

Michael Truyen, former attorney and associated partner at Eubelius, now chief legal officer at the pharma company Mithra Pharmaceuticals will discuss the elements that a potential investor will raise when negotiating with you: evaluation of your startup, different types of shares and clauses, exit preferences...

Session 4 - Oct 27: Writing and presenting a business plan

In this seminar Marc Goldchstein will go deeper into how to write and present a business plan.

Session 5 - Nov 10: The reality of licensing Intellectual Property

Hugo Loosvelt of VUB TechTransfer will discuss the reality of licensing Intellectual Property.
Hugo  has been a Technology Transfer Officer at VUB since 2006. He manages the patent portfolio of the university in close collaboration with the inventors and research teams involved. Hugo negociates R&D and licensing contracts with VUB’s industrial partners. He is actively involved in creating awareness within the science community about Intellectual Property and licensing issues. He is recognised as a registered technology transfer professional by the Alliance of Technology Transfer Professionals (ATTP). Hugo Loosvelt graduated as an industrial engineer in industrial chemistry and obtained his PhD in physics.

Session 6 - Nov 17: The challenges of assembling a functional team

Wouter Van Roost will discuss the challenges of assembling a functional team.
Wouter is Founding Consultant of FACTOR+, the creators of a management methodology called "PIM" (Pattern Interpretation and Management) to improve the way people and teams work together.

Session 7 - Nov 24: Academic entrepreneurship in practice: testimonials and Q&A
(also part of Starter Seminars)

- Maarten Kuijk, Professor at the VUB Electronics and Informatics dept. At the origin of 2 successful VUB spin-offs: Senior Engineering Manager at EqcoLogic (sold to Microchip Technology Inc in 2013), co-founder VUB spin-off Optrima (merge with SoftKinetic - acquisition in 2015 by Sony)
- Erwin De Baetselier, CEO and founder Luceda Photonics, an imec/UGent/VUB spin-off established in June 2014

Moderator: Marc Goldchstein, VUB TechTransfer

**NEW in 2016 ** Session 8 - Dec 1: Crowdfunding: a new financing paradigm? (also part of Starter Seminars)

This session takes place at ICAB, Business & Technology Incubator

This special session of both Advanced and Starter Seminars is organized by Crosstalks and will focus on crowdfunding as an emerging alternative way of financing startups. Obtaining financing is one of the biggest hurdles startups have to overcome. Apart from venture capital or angel investors, online crowdfunding — raising smaller amounts of money from a large number of smaller investors — has become increasingly popular. This seminar gives a state-of-the-art of the crowdfunding possibilities in Belgium and gives the floor to two successful entrepreneurs who will share their do's and don'ts with future entrepreneurs. At the end of this session we would also like to give you the opportunity to get to know your fellow participants a bit better and discuss some entrepreneurial issues during a networking drink. Program click here.

This session is also open to non participants of the (Advanced) Starter Seminars at a participation fee of 10 Euro. Register here.

Bio's speakers

Marije Lutgendorff (CrowdfundingHub): Crowdfunding: a state of the art
Marije works as a crowdfunding advisor since 2013. She co-wrote ‘Crowdfunding, Beyond the Hype’ published in September 2014. She frequently talks and teaches about crowdfunding. Marije believes that building a community is an important condition for successful business these days. To make crowdfunding a sustainable model it is crucial that more and bigger investors become part of the crowd.

Laurent Hublet (Adviseur Digitale Agenda Kabinet vice-eersteminister Alexander De Croo): Legal aspects of crowdfunding
Laurent Hublet is advisor in charge of Digital Agenda at the Belgian Federal Government, Cabinet of the Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo. He holds an MBA from Columbia Business School, worked for The Boston Consulting Group and is, in his spare time, an Angel Investor.

Peter De Decker (MyMicroInvest)
Peter De Decker is Investment Analyst at MyMicroInvest, a financial crowdfunding platform, enabling companies to raise funds and to build a network of ambassadors around them. As an advocate of co-investment, MyMicroInvest also manages its own venture capital fund, Inventures.

Sofie Van Gijssel (Bolero Crowdfunding)
Sofie Van Gijssel is Business Development Manager at Bolero Crowdfunding, a crowdfunding platform for (starting) entrepreneurs, part of Bolero, the online investment platform of KBC Securities. Since 2011 she has been a financial advisor at KBC Securities USA in New York where she became co-CEO in January 2016.

Sébastien Morvan (Brussels Beer Project)
Native Brusselaar Olivier de Brauwere and Breton-born Sébastien Morvan met during an exchange programme in Canada. After working for several years – one in finance, the other in marketing – they decided to take a leap of faith and make their passion for beer their profession. In the early summer of 2013, the Brussels Beer Project was born. It was an atypical brewing venture from the outset, eschewing traditional financing in favour of the modern entrepreneur’s boon – crowdfunding.

Peter Staveloz (iReachm)

Peter is an alumnus from the Solvay Business School and cites himself as Petrolhead. He works at iReachm, a company that launched its first commercial product, an intelligent personal assistant which answers your phone when you aren’t available on your mobile devices.

Session 9 - Dec 8: Pitch your Project!
(also part of Starter Seminars)

During this session, you will get the opportunity to pitch your project and get feedback from professionals such as Marc Goldchstein and Jacky Boonen, Spin off Tech Transfer Officer of VUB TechTransfer, as well as your fellow future entrepreneurs. Pitching your project exists of a short presentation of your start-up project in order to convince possible investors or other partners to join in. Participants of both Advanced and Starter Seminars are welcome to Pitch their Project.

Session 10 - Dec 15: Pitch your Project! > cancelled

Entrepreneurship for bachelor students

To start a company you need an official ‘Attest Bedrijfsbeheer’. With a bachelor degree or higher you are automatically entitled to this certificate. But more and more bachelor students also wish to launch their business. Therefore the Flemish government recently established the possibility for bachelor students to obtain this ‘Attest Bedrijfsbeheer’ at their university.
From 2016 on, VUB TechTransfer organizes a specific training program, not only giving you the legal opportunity to start a business, but also providing you an intensive preparation to entrepreneurship and the possibility to have your project evaluated by professionals.


Academic year 2017-2018
1st semester:

Launch Event  (check above)

Starter Seminars and Advanced Starter Seminars (check above)

Extra session (Dutch) on legal aspects, company forms, social security, etc…. : date & room tbc (Campus Etterbeek)
Written examination at the end of 1st semester: date & room tbc
 (Campus Etterbeek)
2nd semester:

Coaching of writing of business plan (15 hrs) 

Presentation of business plan to tech transfer professionals


Conditions for registration

Only for bachelor students of VUB

Payment of subscription fee of 100 Euro

Conditions for obtaining ‘Attest Bedrijfsbeheer’

Maximum 3 legitimate absences during (Advanced) Starter Seminars 

Successfully passing the examination

Successsfully presenting and defending your business plan

For futher information, please contact Marc Goldchstein.

The project "Technology Entrepreneurship" tries to offer an answer to the (European) innovation paradox.

Economic growth is increasingly depending on the ability to innovate in all areas of society and economy. At the moment, new inventions are being made but are not being effectively converted into new products, patents, jobs, companies and services.

The team "Technology Entrepreneurship" of the department of Business Technology and Operations (BUTO) contributes to bridging the gap between technological knowledge and entrepreneurship.

Their weapon is an encompassing educational offer on technology entrepreneurship. The educational program is destined for a range of Master students (such as business, (bio-) engineering, computer sciences…) and young professionals at and around the VUB. The offer includes introductory courses to business and entrepreneurship, technology sector-specific business courses and a master class in (technology) entrepreneurship. Unique to the project is the opportunity to acquire real life experience: students get the opportunity to work on concrete business development projects that originate directly from the research labs of the university.

Project leader Marc Goldchstein shares his time between the educational project and the VUB TechTransfer, where he supports and coaches (potential) spin-offs.

During its start-up phase, the project was funded by the Flemish government and industrial partners (Amgen, Bank Degroof, Bekaert, Ethias, Fundus, IBM, Participatiemaatschappij Vlaanderen, Sirris, Solvay, Tyco Electronics, Yakult). The project is now part of the educational offering of the VUB.

For futher information, please contact Marc Goldchstein.

More info on VUB programmes for non-economists here.

The European exchange programme for entrepreneurs

Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs is a cross-border exchange programme which gives new or aspiring entrepreneurs the chance to learn from experienced entrepreneurs running small businesses in other Participating Countries.


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