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17 June 2024

Campus
& Culture

A similar container village in London

VU Amsterdam to get a ‘village’ for enterprising inventors

VU Amsterdam will be getting a start-up village: a place on campus where students or employees can rent office space for launching a business.

The businesses will probably be housed in containers and will literally form a small village on campus. The precise location of the village is as yet unknown. There are two possible locations: in front of the main entrance of the present Mathematics and Physics Building, or roughly in the area where The Basket is currently located (which will move to the New University Building).

If during your studies or your PhD programme you come up with an idea you think could be marketed, then you can rent space or facilities in the inventor village for just a small amount. The goal is for your company to create a product based on scientific knowledge. A company that makes genetic tests for example or a new type of immunotherapy to treat cancer.

The village will have room for approximately 20-25 companies. VU Amsterdam has already housed a number of start-ups under the name Demonstrator Lab in the Mathematics and Physics Building. Some companies will be moving to the start-up village but a number will not, for example because they are already too big or they need other facilities, such as labs.

Social innovations too

The University of Amsterdam already has a start-up village at its Science Park. The founder of the village, Erik Boer, has recently been working to set up a similar start-up village at VU Amsterdam. One difference between the villages at the University of Amsterdam and VU Amsterdam is that VU Amsterdam wants more than technological or medical companies alone – it wants to attract companies that are socially innovative as well. “I think this is especially interesting because those companies do work in a slightly different way. Of course they must be financially sound, but making a profit or marketing an invention are not the only goals. One other type of benefit in this type of organization could be to establish contact between various social groups or in the organization of activities in specific areas.” Boer thinks that for this type of social entrepreneurship he will have to appeal to a different network and use another way of marketing.

If everything goes well, the VU Start-up Village should be ready in the spring of 2021. The goal is to keep construction as sustainable as possible, which is why we have opted for reusable shipping containers. The village’s definitive design and location have yet to be decided.

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