How it works

Venture Challenge Programme

The Venture Challenge consists of three stages as illustrated below and takes around five months from start to finish.


The very first thing you have to do is to submit your proposal via an Venture Proposal Form. As this is your ticket to entry into the Challenge, make sure to complete the form as well as you can. Once we receive your Venture Proposal Form, we will assess whether you can benefit sufficiently from the workshops and the coaching programme.

Venture Proposal Stage

If your Venture Proposal looks promising, you will be invited for a team presentation. In this process, we will confirm whether your proposal have enough potential and whether you will benefit from our workshops and coaching. Before entering the Venture Plan Stage, you will be asked to sign a Confidentiality Agreement, which protects all parties.

Venture Plan Stage

This final phase, the true hands-on stage, consists of two 3-day workshop sessions and a venture plan evaluation. With our tailor-made workshops and coaching, you and the other teams invited will work on producing a Venture Plan that comprises enough technical and commercial detail to justify a presentation to potential customers, seed investors and/or any other finance organisations.

A typical Venture Plan contains the following information:

  • Customer identification and customer value proposition
  • Vision and roadmap
  • Competitive landscape and essential partnerships
  • High-level financial model
  • Key hypotheses and corresponding validity tests
  • Risks
  • Detailed plan and resource requirements for subsequent business plan stage.

During the workshops seasoned entrepreneurs and venture capitalists are involved, providing expert input
and hands-on coaching on specific topics. After the workshops you will present your Pitch to the Venture Challenge jury, consisting of several entrepreneurs and investors, which will then decide who takes home
the €25,000 prize. At the final Challenge session representatives of all relevant seed-funds are invited to provide optimal investor exposure for the participating teams..

The Venture Challenge: Animation



The Venture Challenge programme is organised by Chretien Herben, former Head of Valorisation for NGI, now part of Topsector LifeSciences & Health. He is assisted by external experts such as Math Kohnen and Hans Le Fever from eNovITe


Stimulating the valorisation of academic Life Sciences research through start-ups was one of the goals of NGI. The Netherlands Genomics Initiative (NGI) has come to an end in December 2013. The LifeSciences@work Programme can offer the same terms and therefore academic participants pay still the reduced price of € 500.

Venture Challenge Programme:

Workshop – part I: You are challenged to put yourself in the shoes of your future users and/or customers so that you gain an in-depth understanding of the value of your proposal. Where feasible, you will work out possible evolution pathways for your business.

Coaching: During the whole Venture Challenge programme, each team
is offered weekly coaching sessions: in between the workshops and the Challenge session.

Workshop – part II: You learn more about the assumptions that are key to the success of your venture. You put together a Venture Plan and practice your venture pitch.

Challenge session: You will pitch your Venture Plan to a jury. The best venture pitch receives €25,000.

Is this your Challenge?

One of the main areas the Challenge addresses is the focus on customer value.

You have to define who your potential clients are and what your proposal can offer them. What is the size of your market and how will it develop in the future? All these questions matter if you aim to start a company.

The Venture Challenge is facilitated by: 

The Venture Challenge is part of the start-up support programme: LifeSciences@work