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Budding photonics entrepreneurs: head to Brussels

14 Oct 2010

Two-week modular training course organized by the Photonics Team at Vrije Universiteit Brussel is scheduled for next January.

Vrije Univesiteit Brussel (VUB) is hosting the second “Entrepreneurship in Photonics” training course in late January, providing an intensive set of modules aimed at young professionals looking to start up new commercial ventures.

The modular course, co-developed by the Brussels Photonics team (B-Phot) under the direction of Hugo Thienpont, aims to provide key information on running a business, photonics markets and the process of starting a technology company. Aimed at both young academics and those already working in the industry, the full course runs from January 17 until January 28 next year.

It comprises three modules, starting with a three-day introduction to business and economics. That is followed by an overview of markets where photonics plays an enabling role, including solar energy, lighting and lasers, as well as a full day dedicated to biophotonics applications.

The final module last two days, and is focused on the practical aspects of starting up a technology venture, including how to interact with potential investors and the opportunity to present ideas to venture capitalists at the event in a “Dragon’s Den”-style format.

Case studies
The course includes a number of case studies of successful photonics start-ups, including the recent VUB spin-off Optrima, which has developed a commercial 3D camera – the company recently agreed an €8 million investment deal with the telecommunications operator Belgacom. Another VUB spin-off providing advice at the event is fiber-optic sensor company FOS&S, whose CTO Johan Vlekken will explain how his company went about targeting new and existing market segments.

Another featured start-up will be Trinean, a new Belgian company that has developed lab-on-a-chip devices for biophotonics applications, and which has survived despite difficulties in attracting funding.

For full details of the Entrepreneurship in Photonics training course, including registration and pricing information, visit: the event web site at VUB.

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