UT Challenge

The UT Challenge speed dates!


It’s Tuesday the 8th of May 2018 and the sun is shining. There’s Not a cloud in sight. It’s promising to be a wonderful day!

Today, The Gallery will be the headquarters for the speed dates of the UT Challenge. 40 coaches of approximately 20 companies have come to the University of Twente to meet the participants face to face. On this sunny day, 120 speed dates will take place in seven rounds of 15 minutes.

But first the plenary session takes place in the DesignLab where the organisation of the UT Challenge will outline the programme of the day. Brainstorming, co-creating and networking will form the most important aspects of the day. After a short presentation by the Student Union, it’s time for the coaches to each give a one-minute pitch about their companies. Most of the pitches are perfectly timed and contain powerful one-liners. The coach of BDO mentions she’s looking forward to hear how the students will be changing the world and future for the better. This seems like a great challenge the students will want to meet!

Technological and non-technological companies are represented during the speed date sessions, which matches well with the diversity of the projects. Apart from technical support, students are also given advice about financing, protecting their intellectual property and realising their products.


 ‘It’s amazing how you have companies that don’t even have the same interest as you do with your own start-up or your idea and they just contribute so much to your idea, they have so many insights, which are really useful to what you are trying to do with your business.’
- Tijmen van den Elzen, Big Eye (participant)

The enthusiasm of the students is contagious and ensures interesting outcomes during a speed date. They’ve come well-prepared and are ready to brainstorm with the coaches about strengths and weaknesses. The coaches are intrigued by the enormous drive the students have to develop their own ideas and products.

‘What I find really interesting is the diversity of these projects, they spark ideas inside our own company. So I think there are quite some interesting ideas in these speed dates.’
- Taco van der Maten, Malvern panalytical (business partner)

Although it’s a lovely summer day outside, the students return for each session and sit down at every table and impress the coaches time and again. The ambition and excitement about innovation is all around; an inspiring mix that contributes to the experience of the students. In only two hours the they received enough feedback to further develop their ideas.

At 17.00h the last speed dates have ended which means it’s time to toast to a successful event. With a refreshing drink, we look back on creating successful matches. One thing is for sure: you better keep an eye on these contestants, because they will be creating the future!