Pre-Seed Workshop 2016: Transforming ideas into viable ventures

Ritah Ayebare Nyakato

07.03.2016 13:50

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The "Pre-Seed Workshop" is an intensive two-and-a-half-day workshop targeted towards high-technology entrepreneurial ideas in Switzerland. Experts from various fields come together to determine the viability of new start-up concepts and assisting participants to transform potentially outstanding ideas into early stage start-ups. Applications for the PSW 2016 can be submitted until 20th March 2016.

The two-and-a-half-day Pre-Seed Workshop was started in 2004 in Rochester New York and is now being held about ten times a year in various Host City locations throughout the Northeast US and Europe. In Switzerland, the workshop is organised by the Swiss Company Maker in collaboration with the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) Chemical Biology and the Swiss Interactive Center for Human Health (SICHH).  

The first Pre-Seed workshop in Switzerland took place in 2012 in the Arc Lémanique area and by 2015 three events, one each once every year, have been conducted with the aim of transforming the most outstanding high-tech ideas into early stage start-up companies. Eight non- for- profit start-ups including Nanolive, Noonee, Quibig, Cellestia Biotech, Sensars, Morphotonix, SUNbioscience and Lucentix have been established following participation in the workshop.

“The workshops will expand to other parts of Switzerland in which once a year they are conducted in a different city for instance in 2017 the event is planned to take place Geneva and in 2018 in Bern.” says Phaedra Simitsek, PSW organiser, NCCR.

Every year ten outstanding high-tech ideas from all over Switzerland are selected to participate in the workshop and these are tested if they are viable and marketable. Through 9 fast-paced modules – idea analysis on the technology, the market, the competition, the business model, each team answers 20 key questions about its business idea. At the end of the workshop, the results are presented to a panel of community experts, angel or VC experts who will provide feedback on the proposed business case.  

Champion participants thus benefit from fast-paced sessions, guidance specifically adapted to their project, support from recognized industry experts from various backgrounds including investment, intellectual property, technology transfer, business, industry, and law. They also have the opportunity to build their networks through interacting with young entrepreneurs, peers – with whom they may found a company and important people to long-term entrepreneurial success. At the end of the workshop, participants leave with the business elements of their new venture well structured.

The workshop is free of charge however participants must meet the prerequisite that; the high-technology business idea may or may not have been recently patented, or applicants may have a high-tech business idea but are still wondering about the next steps to take.

The next Pre-Seed workshop will take place on April 12, 13 and 20, 2016 at blueFACTORY Fribourg-Freiburg. The registration deadline is 20th March 2016.

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