Business ideas took off in Bern
In November 2022, a selected number of young researchers from Swiss universities and research institutes dared to step in and put their business idea to the test by participating in the Bench2biz workshop! Bench2biz innovated this year with a new format: a kick-off event at the Swiss Institute for Translational and Entrepreneurial Medicine (Sitem) in Bern, three days of online interactions, and a closing day at the University of Bern.
Thirteen early career researchers became for a week our ‘idea champions’, exploring the business potential in their varied fields of research, including drug development, traffic control, diagnostics software and sensors, or construction materials. Idea champions came from institutions all across Switzerland: EPFL, University of Lausanne, EMPA, ETH Zurich, CSEM, Lausanne University Hospital, University of Basel, and University of Bern.
During an intense week, accompanied by facilitators Mark Wilson (Neworks), Christian Moser (IPI), and Eliav Haskal (University of Fribourg), and more than 40 professionals (scientists, technology transfer experts, Intellectual Property lawyers, accomplished entrepreneurs,…), the idea champions did a fantastic job developing their plans, digging into unknown (business) territories, and forging new professional contacts.
But there was no winner – or, to be more accurate, everyone won! Bench2biz is not a pitch competition, but rather a space where aspiring entrepreneurs can make their first steps in the open and get constructive feedback. It might lead to a new venture or not, but the workshop helps to honestly weigh expectations.
The organizers are very grateful to the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property and the Swiss National Science Foundation for their support and funding.