Entrepreneurial Mind of the Month: Quirine Wissink

When Quirine was a little girl, even her SIMS had great careers. She wrote down their career paths in little books. So, it´s fair to say that Quirine was business-minded at an early age.

At the age of 18, Quirine wrote her first business plan for a hair and nail salon and a cupcake shop in one. On her first website ‘Top Of The Shelf’ she started selling the latest fashion online and used social media to promote sales to her followers. “I still remember the day my first order came, I was so excited and proud!” Business went very well. And after a while, her company grew so fast that she could not combine it with her studies anymore. “I learned a lot from this process. I took these business lessons to heart and followed my dream in becoming a successful entrepreneur.”

“I still remember the day my first order came, I was so excited and proud!”

Now she owns her own company LUTTO. Lutto is an app designed to help the users with the grieving process when losing a beloved one. The idea to create an app about grief comes from a very personal story. A few years ago, Quirines father passed away. She didn’t know how to deal with her emotions at that time. She went online and started looking for grief platforms and a way to get in touch with other people who lost someone, but she couldn’t find any.  “I just wanted a quick chat with someone or ask them some questions. That would have been so helpful for me during that period.” Since there was nothing online that fit her needs, Quirine thought up her own app, “LUTTO”. This app would meet all these needs and more.

“Last year during a TEDtalk in Arnhem, one of the speakers introduced me to Mercator Launch and from there it all went very fast.” Quirine immediately reached out to the business coaches and signed up for the IMPROVE program.

“Be yourself during a pitch”

“Giving pitches is what I fear and love most” You wouldn’t be able to tell from the outside, but before a pitch Quirine’s stomach turns around twice. “You never know what kind of story the people want to hear. I try to estimate my audience and choose whether I emphasize the personal or the business side of the story.” Quirine’s ultimate tip is “Be yourself during a pitch, it’s cliché but it distinguishes me from more hardcore business people. I always stay close to myself and say what I feel. ”

The ultimate dream for Quirine is that her app turns into a community. The social impact of the app is important to her. “I hope that LUTTO makes grieving people feel more comfortable and understood by their environment.” It would be so awesome if people come to me and tell me that LUTTO helped them in their grieving process.” In n the near future, when the app is live and there are multiple investors, Quirine wants to enter the offline world as well and host events for the LUTTO community. “I want to create a safe and comfortable place where grieving people and aid workers can meet and help each other. This will be my goal when I am graduated!”

And last but not least: Quirine has some great tips for you!

  • When you are an entrepreneur and still studying, try to get as much help as you can on campus! Reach out to your fellow law students for legal advice or catch up with communication students for some marketing trips and tricks!
  • For the networkers out there, checking out people’s profile on LinkedIn is not stalking! Don’t be afraid to leave them a message when you checked their profile or just give a heads up that you are looking forward to meet them on your interview next week. Now they will check your profile as well, WIN WIN!
  • Stress comes with owning a business. So creating structure is key!
  • When combining entrepreneurship with another occupation such as studying or working for another boss, find help and support from teachers or co-workers. Use your network and you will be able to get the best of both worlds.

 Do you have a great business idea? And are you curious to find out if the IMPROVE program could be someting for you?

Read more about the improve program

Entrepreneurial Mind of the Month: Abdel Nemri

3Dneuro: Helping to hack the brain

 The human brain is one of the most important and complex ‘machines’ in the universe. It controls most of the activities of the body, as well as emotion, reasoning and memory. It makes you who you are and so much more. 

Regardless of the time and money spent on brain research, people still understand almost nothing about the human brain. What we do know about it is that it communicates by sending electronic pulses. The scientific discipline that examines this electrical activity is ‘electrophysiology’. Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior, a joint institute of RU and RUMC, is a world-renowned institute for neuroscience and a front runner in ‘electrophysiology’. It’s basically hacking the brain. In order to enable that cutting-edge field of research, Abdel Nemri and colleagues founded the Donder’s spin-off 3Dneuro.

Just OK wasn’t good enough.

 ‘I used to work at Radboudumc as a postdoc researcher. One of my colleagues was trying to use the so-called silicon probes for his experiment. Silicon probes are technologically the best, but they are also very fragile and very expensive. People often break a lot and kind of give up on the technology’, explains Abdel.  ‘My business partner, Tim Schröder, came up with the idea to solve this problem by making a 3D printed cast, a microdrive, and asked me whether this could be a business,’ says Abdel. ‘I said yes and Tim taught himself 3D printing, design and manufacturing and started making prototypes,’ adds Abdel.

 ‘Now 3Dneuro provides other researchers with state-of-the art, reliable, carefree but affordable tools for neuroscientists’, explains Abdel. From the very beginning the team decided to create a company that manufactures awesome products. ‘Just OK wasn’t good enough.’ That meant pushing it as far as possible in the lab until they made a prototype that was worth presenting to the world. ‘Within two months we had our first customers.’

 The most difficult part for Abdel was to shift his thinking from that of a scientist to that of a businessman. ‘Funny thing to realize is that when you do your due diligence in science you’ll always make some progress. In business, however, if you don’t get market feedback, you can actually work for nothing.’

To help the business, Abdel approached Mercator Launch looking for the ways to scale up. ‘It was very useful to talk to the coaches at Mercator Launch and we got the advice we were looking for. We eventually got a loan to help us develop and grow more quickly.’ 

‘We already got some new ideas. Ideas that we believe might evolve 3Dneuro from a small company that serves the neuroscience community to something that may disrupt the pharmaceutical industry.’

 To be continued.






Hacking Health Nijmegen

For the 5th time Radboudumc is hosting Hacking Health Nijmegen (HHN) as a part of the national Dutch Hacking Health: an event for ambitious health care professionals, patients, designers, developers, entrepreneurs and students, who are passionate about improving and innovating health care.

From April 5th till 7th, the participants work together in multi-disciplinary teams in order to come up with innovative solutions to existing problems. With the support of coaches and experts, the teams build a prototype of their solution in only 48 hours. This year the following topics will be tackled:

  • Live Healthy, Stay Healthy: how can we make healthy lifestyle easier?

  • Future-proof labor market for health care providers: how can we help health care providers to work smarter? What do we do about the growing demand of health care?

HHN is also the perfect place for you to pitch a topic or problem you believe is in need of an innovative solution.
After working throughout the HHN weekend, each team presents its prototype on Sunday, April 7th during the demo-event. The jury will determine the winning teams in the categories #bestinnovation#besthumancentereddesign and #bestdatadriven. The winners will receive support and advice to help them further develop their prototypes into a viable product or service and business.

Are you passionate about improving health care and are you interested In thinking of innovative solutions during HHN? This is your chance to shine!

Please visit nijmegen.dutchhackinghealth.nl for more information about the topics, program and other relevant content about Hacking Health Nijmegen. For questions send an email to  or !

4 Days Left to submit your idea for the IMPROVE Program


There are only 4 days left till the deadline to apply for the IMPROVE Program 2019. Would you like to know whether the program can help you to advance your idea into a startup? This is how Guido Wijffels, founder of SEN6 and a former IMPROVE participant, experienced it.

SEN6 is changing the way athletes sport and train. Based on measurements of movement, feedback is provided to athletes to better control their movements and improve their performance.

‘I expected to learn what it takes to build a business out of an idea. The reality, however, is that anything worth pursuing has no clear or easy path. Therefore, accepting every opportunity and considering all advice is vital if you want to succeed. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised to find a real opportunity at Mercator Launch. Excellent resources were provided by some of the most helpful and experienced people I have met.’

Mercator Launch IMPROVE Program enabled Guido to take his idea a step further. ‘This program helped me make real steps towards my goals, something which would have been a lot harder without their guidance.’

I have learned that entrepreneurship is challenging and rewarding regardless of the results.

 Also, the program provided valuable lessons for this young entrepreneur. ‘I have learned that entrepreneurship is challenging and rewarding regardless of the results. The improve program was definitely worth it.’ 

Would you like to learn valuable entrepreneurial lessons as well? Apply for the IMPROVE Program before February 26th and go for it!

Pixelstad receives funding


If you are familiar with Mercator Launch, you most likely met Roger Seelen. An ambitious and motivated Radboud student, and founder of Pixelstad. On the 5th of February, his hard work and perseverance are rewarded with a Gelderland Valoriseert Voucher. After presenting his idea and defending his business for the commission, a voucher was granted to make the first steps towards a working demo-version of his product.

Pixelstad applies the latest technology in virtual and augmented reality in order to optimize the efficiency of the spatial planning process. Nowadays different stakeholders with different backgrounds from policy makers to engineers and citizens don’t speak the same ‘language’. This makes the planning process unnecessarily time and money consuming. Pixelstad creates custom (dynamic) virtual environments of a spatial plan, which can be used by the stakeholders throughout the spatial planning process as a platform where everybody has the same experience and can speak the same language. With the use of big data, all necessery information from every stakeholder can be put in the virtual environment, problems can be detected quickly and eventually a solution will derive that is most suitable for society.
With the GV-voucher Roger Seelen is going to lift Pixelstad to the next level. Are you interested in working with Pixelstad? Or do you have any questions? Roger is more than happy to talk about his business and potential collaborations. You can reach him on .

Would you like to know more about the Gelederland Valoriseert voucher or do you want to apply for one? Send an email to  and we will get back to you shortly!



Entrepreneurial Minds of the Month: GRAPHKITE


It’s been said that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is going to have a larger impact on the world than the internet revolution ever did. Machine learning, a subset of AI, is the scientific study of algorithms and statistical models that computer systems use in order to make predictions or decisions without being explicitly programmed to perform the task. So basically, it’s building self-thinking machines!

Machine learning is conquering the world. You might have experienced it in real life when you get suggestions for your next purchase online, increase the appeal of photos taken by your phone or when your doctor uses AI to help him analyze your CT-scans. AI is offering a lot of opportunities to develop new solutions and the Entrepreneurial Minds of the month are helping those solutions come to life. Meet Jelle Piepenbrock, Simon Brugman, Roeland Wiersema and Alex Kolmus. These four student entrepreneurs together are Graphkite!

“Your idea doesn’t need to be perfect, it evolves through time and experience. Just do it!”

— Jelle Piepenbrock

Graphkite develops advanced self-learning algorithms. ‘We are able to find patterns from the data of a person or an object while using automated models and as such are able to make valuable predictions’, explains Simon. Accurate predictions can help organizations make better decisions.

It started all about a year and a half ago when the founders of Graphkite entered a Computing Science Masters course at the Radboud University. During this course, they participated in an international online competition for Data Science, competing against more than 3000 other teams. ‘The goal of the assignment was to come up with a model that predicts the amount and the type of fish being caught, by analyzing video material from several fishing boats in the ocean. Basically, to be able to statistically predict overfishing,’ explains Roeland. ‘Often students use a model they’ve learned about during the course, just to find out much later that the model only works for that one particular boat. That is precisely the art and the difficulty of machine learning,’ says Simon, ‘to develop a model that works for every boat.’ They did amazing in this global competition and even got into the top 2%!

After working together for a longer time, they realized that they work well as a team and that they are able to translate theoretical knowledge in to practical solutions. ‘Naturally, we wondered whether we could solve other practical problems. Without too much hesitation we reached out to one of the three largest insurance companies in The Netherlands’, Simon explains. ‘We explained what we could do using machine learning. Two months later we booked our first job!’

After that they took Graphkite to the next level, bringing machine learning to other companies. It’s a very large market and it’s expensive for companies to innovate. ‘It’s more beneficial to hire a company that offers existing solutions, like us’, says Roeland. ‘And it works because we recognized that the problems an insurance company has, are actually applicable to problems in completely different lines of work’, adds Simon.

The team has even bigger plans for the future, looking to solve problems on a larger scale. In order to actually scale up to the next level the students looked for an experienced entrepreneur to join their team. It didn’t take long for entrepreneur and growth advisor Johannes Vinke to join Graphkite. ‘With his help, we hope to attract more business and to start growing,’ adds Roeland. ‘But for now, some of us need to graduate first.’

The team doesn’t need long to think of a tip for a beginning entrepreneur: `Just do it, says Jelle. ‘Don’t think about it as a huge step. Tell people what you do and ask if they can use it. Your idea doesn’t need to be perfect, it evolves through time and experience. But the only way to find out what it will become, is to just do it!’

The next IMPROVE program is taking off!


On March 7th, 2019 is the start of the second Mercator Launch IMPROVE program: a 10 step pre-incubation program for those who seriously consider starting their own business. What is a better way to learn more about the program than from the experiences of former participants? This week Jordy van Langen, founder of ShareTalk, shares his point of view on the IMPROVE program and what it has offered him.

‘When I signed up for the IMPROVE program I expected it to be highly informative regarding the different steps of building a startup. This expectation matches the reality. What I didn’t foresee was the comprehensive network of people around the IMPROVE. This was an absolute plus!’

ShareTalk builds a new on- and offline platform that enables people with mutual interests to meet. Every day many knowledge-rich, inspiring and experienced people are traveling by public transport to work, conferences or other social (network) meetings. Nevertheless, in each others proximity, they do not get in touch. ShareTalk enables these people to meet and connect. A (gaming) element encourages commuters to meet face-to-face, win points and receive discounts and other rewards.

Furthermore, Jordy was enthusiastic regarding the sessions: ‘The Pitch training was outstanding and all the other sessions were very good organized. The different locations (SUN, NTC, Rabobank) where the sessions took place gave me extra motivation to contribute to the program.’ In Jordy’s opinion the program delivered what was promised. ‘It brought me further. By building my own Golden Egg Academy, I have now a solid foundation on which to advance my business.’

“I’ve learned to be critical and listen to others. My idea can be as good as I think it is, however, there are always different angles to approach an idea.”

— Jordy van Langen, founder of ShareTalk

‘In conclusion, the program is definitely worth it! Although you might not be able to have your startup up & running immediately after the program, it definitely pointed me in the right direction and provided me access to a network for next steps!’

Are you a student, PhD or Alumni at the Heyendaal Campus and is your idea ready for the next step? Apply before February 26th by hitting the button below!

Master Buddy Program

The final eight!

Last Friday, January 25th, eight teams of Management students pitched their growth plan to a jury and an audience of entrepreneurs. Between Franssen FZ, Respora, CBMR, Heel Metaal, Student4Student, StartUp Nijmegen, Standup Box and Plexus, the winning pitch went to CBMR. As it was well thought, inventive and profitable!

During the Master Buddy Program 32 teams of students worked closely together with 32 different startups. As a result of this entrepreneurial journey, each team provided the startup with a potential growth plan. An amazing opportunity for the students to explore their entrepreneurial competences and a valuable collaboration for the startup, as the students offered new interesting perspectives.

No less than two pitches during the first Mercator Lunch of the year!

On Thursday January 17th Mercator Launch opened its doors to the student and PhD entrepreneurs, professors, academic staff, so basically to all the entrepreneurial minds on campus. We also welcomed Prof. Daniël Wigboldus, President of the Radboud University Executive Board.

During Mercator Lunch Marijn Martens (researcher at NeuroDrug Research) and Quirine Wissink (founder of Lutto) pitched their ideas and shared their experiences. We’ve witnessed our guests making new connections and chatting away while enjoying a delicious vegetarian lunch.

Thank you all for coming. The first Mercator Lunch this year was a success! You can already sign up for the February lunch.

Make money, do good!


Sometimes you wonder how a person can be this entrepreneurial and proactive. Well, Marlieke van Schalkwijk (22) is one of those people. She’s a Political Science Master student, she’s a freelance content writer, she’s the ambassador of Young Lady Business Academy, founder of Hidden Talent and co-founder of Immigrants With Impact.

Marlieke is an entrepreneurial mind at heart. At the age of 18 she decided to open her own office ‘Marlieke’s Tekstbureau’ and become a freelance content writer. ‘I just begun my studies and I really wasn’t feeling a part time job in a pub or a store. I’m still very happy with my decision, because I can work whenever I can considering my busy day schedule.’

Even at younger age Marlieke already wanted to become an entrepreneur. ‘I’m very interested in social entrepreneurship. What got me thinking was the refugee crisis of the past few years. Themes like migration and integration were actually the reason I got into Political Science in the first place.’

She recognized the problem and tried to come up with a solution. That’s when she joined the Young Lady Business Academy (YLBA) and wrote a business proposal for ‘Hidden Talents’: a startup that supports people from different backgrounds to find a job. Her idea won the second place during ‘Entrepreneurs week’ at YLBA.

She strongly believes in the idea of economic integration. ‘If people don’t integrate economically, they won’t integrate socially’, she claims. ‘Furthermore, I strongly believe that a country can create different policies to put immigrants to work, but a social entrepreneur can realize a far bigger impact.’

“It is possible to make money and do something good for humanity at the same time!”

A couple of months ago Marlieke meets her new business partner at a network event. A successful and experienced businessman, who happens to have a different cultural background himself. He’s impressed with Marliekes ideas and introduces her to their third partner. Together they come up with Immigrants With Impact, an investor company and a startup incubator for innovative entrepreneurs with different cultural backgrounds. ‘Basically, the group that is lagging behind’, emphasizes Marlieke. ‘An immigrant may have different needs compared to a Dutch entrepreneur. For example, information on how to do business in the Netherlands and cultural differences, or support in writing a business plan. We aim to invest in their startups and provide tailor-made coaching and advance their network. As for the bigger social impact, people with different cultural background are more inclined to hire others. We hope this creates a sustainable solution for immigrants in The Netherlands’, explains Marlieke.

Brick by brick they lay down the foundation of their company. Putting together the financial picture, writing a business proposal and networking. ‘It can be frustrating some times. Until the kick off there is no tangible result of our hard work, but I know I have to be patient. The kick-off is just around the corner.’

Patience is also one of the things she advises starting entrepreneurs. ‘And courage to network. Just dare to tell people who you are and what you need. Soon you’ll see that there’s always someone who knows someone and suddenly you’re in business.’ Furthermore I would recommend to join Mercator Launch. The coaches can provide you with valuable support and prepare you for the next step. And if you are a social entrepreneur, like myself, remember that it is possible to make money and do something good for humanity at the same time!’

Together we are stronger!

We are very pleased to announce that StartUp Nijmegen, Radboud University Nijmegen, Radboud Medical Center, Hogeschool van Arnhem en Nijmegen (HAN) ánd ROC Nijmegen officially signed a collaboration agreement to jointly support student- as well as PhD-entrepreneurs.

Representing more than 55.000 students, the educational institutions in Nijmegen are a massive and critical source for innovation and entrepreneurship. All institutions already offer entrepreneurial support programs tailored to the needs of their students, for example Mercator Launch (RU) and Young in Business (HAN). Working together will allow us to use each other’s strengths, facilities and networks to the fullest potential, thereby offering a complete and complementary support structure to young entrepreneurs from both technical and non-technical backgrounds. Together we can offer the future entrepreneurs of Nijmegen access to educational courses, practical workshops, informative meetups, business experts, experienced mentors, prototyping facilities and funds in all types of industries.

This unique collaboration will strengthen our regional capacity to support entrepreneurs, increase the startup’s chances of success and help them grow into a sustainable businesses that will boost the local economy.

We are looking forward to an entrepreneurial year with this successful collaboration!

Forget old school stereo music, listen to your favorite music in 3D!

Forget old school stereo music, listen to your favorite music in 3D!

Displac3D – a startup founded by two enthusiastic Radboud University students – is launching a whole new music experience into the market. The two entrepreneurs are developing a mixing tool allowing artists to make their own 3-dimensional songs. Furthermore, an AI-based application makes it for music listeners possible to customize 3D music on the basis of unique features of their ears.

The first demos are now released! Put on your headphones and enjoy! Don’t forget to subscribe and become one of the first people using the mixing tool or listening to personalized 3D music.