ugus is the breeding ground for students from the Leiden University and Hogeschool Leiden who want to become entrepreneurs. As part of the agenda item “Encouraging Entrepreneurship and Start-Ups”, Economie071 supports these students.
The idea of bringing student entrepreneurs together came about several years ago. Wouter Bruins, then a biology student, was asked by Willem te Beest, vice-chairman of the Executive Board for the University, why there were so few students starting a company. Bruins took up this challenge and went to work it.
Bruins and Rembrandt Donkersloot (student member of the faculty board for Mathematics and Science and now chairman of Lugus) decided together to set up “the Freezone” with the support of Willem te Beest and the faculty as their initial step. Rembrandt: “We met every two weeks, ate pizza and drunk beer. We talked about our plans and included entrepreneurs in the discussions. Held interactive meetings where questions could be put. In the past eighteen months, the meetings were attended by at least 60 students”.
Rembrandt: “At first this was a type of hobby club for Wouter and myself but last summer it expanded as more student entrepreneurs registered, encouraged by the University. The Leiden district council and Economie071 became interested because the Freezone fitted nicely with the project “Encouraging Entrepreneurship and Start-Ups” being part of the Economic Agenda. So everything came together quickly. That has now led to establishing the Lugus Association. The goal is to eventually become part of the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship”.
René de Jong, Director Economie071: “It is astonishing that so little is done with the combination of knowledge and entrepreneurship, particularly in Leiden. It is therefore important that we take more advantage of the knowledge from the University, the LUMC and also from other sources such as vitality, the flower trade and logistics. This could be through such a centre for Entrepreneurship. We must also search for new connections. That would be good for employment opportunities in our region. Not only for the highly educated residents but also for work at MBO level. After all, every business needs its suppliers”.
Tom Groentjes, Secretary of Lugus, can give no explanation for the fact that there is so little done with the knowledge already present in the region. Tom: “During the 80s, the University was used in the same sentence with entrepreneurship. That has vanished. During the last decade the University has focussed on science. Leiden, city of discoveries. That needs to become Leiden, city of discoveries and entrepreneurship. And then focussed on the entire region”.
The association now has about 35 members. These are primarily students in the last years of their study and are already thinking of their own company. Members pay a symbolic contribution of 2.50 euro per month and through this are able to use the facilities in the building and share in the knowledge. Rembrandt: “We are here for the students who are toying with the idea of becoming an entrepreneur. We really are a breeding ground. We welcome students from all departments. University and HBO”.