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Science for Society event: Meet and greet with the cofounder and CEO of CanopyLAB

Science for Society event: Meet and greet with the cofounder and CEO of CanopyLAB

AAU Students and PhDs end up in many interesting and exiting positions in the public sector and in private companies. However, some of them also end up making it as entrepreneurs. The Science for Society project aims to create more awareness among PhDs and Postdocs about the possibility of pursuing a career within entrepreneurship and hence tries to create interesting events focusing on exactly this topic.

Monday the 12th of February 2018 Science for Society hosted a joined event at AAU in Copenhagen (AAU Cph) with SEA (Supporting Entrepreneurship at Aalborg University) for international and Danish PhDs, Postdocs and students. Here the participants had the chance to listen to a well-prepared and energetic talk by Sahra-Josephine Hjort, an AAU PhD alumni in Communications who created a successful e-learning company called CanopyLAB. Sahra-Josephine took the audience through her own career path and shared a lot of good advice on how to make it as an entrepreneur. 

Francesco Rovida is a Postdoc in Robotics, Vision and Machine intelligence who participated in the event and he was quite satisfied with how he spent his late Monday afternoon:

“At first, I didn't really know what to expect and I was afraid to lose time, also because my idea of opening a startup felt like far away and difficult. Instead, at the end of the event I was quite satisfied and happy I took the time to come. It was a nice surprise. The talk of Sahra-Josephine was very interesting and to the point, targeting the concerns, that I think any wanna-be entrepreneur has.” 

When asked what he think was the best outcome for him of participating Francesco explains: 

“The most relevant question I solved was "Is my idea good enough?". I was quite stuck on this question before, but during the talk I understood that I can't solve it all by myself or with my partners, but I have to go outside and check it out with possible costumers. It was also nice to get experience on many other concerns like how to select partners, how to deal with investors, what to focus on in early stages, etc. In my case, I think, it can be a valuable knowledge in the future.”

His colleague Alessandro Maccarini, a Postdoc in the Danish Building Research Institute, agrees with him:

“The speech provided by Sahra-Josephine was really inspiring. Her story made me realize what it means to create a start-up from scratch”. 

Anne Falkenstjerne Beck, a participating Industrial PhD in Kuben Management, was also quite happy about Sahra-Josephine’s talk:

“The best thing about the event was that you had brought the entrepreneur Sahra Josphine in as a keynote. She made some good points on how important it is to have trust in what you want to do as an entrepreneur, so much that you can work very hard and hang on even in difficult times. And also that it is crucial to test and develop the idea by sharing it with competent supportive people”.

The event also included a small presentation of the AAU Inkubator run by SEA and what it offers in relation to office space, events and consultancy. This presentation was done by SEA’s two senior business developers Ivan Butler and Claus Skaaning who are also the ones covering AAU Cph. They also took the time to mingle and talk to the students, PhDs and Postdocs at the event who wanted to know further. Among others Francesco Rovida made use of that offer:

“I had a chance to talk with Ivan during the break, and ask a couple of questions about the Inkubator. With that talk and the inspiration of the presentation by Sahra-Josephine I actually think the idea of opening a startup increased considerably”. 

Sahra-Josephine also had a great time with the PhDs, Postdocs and students participating in the event. As she says:

“It was amazing to meet so many passionate students, PhDs and Postdocs who have great ideas. I feel pretty certain that many AAUs will end up changing the world one way or the other”.

 If you think this event sounds interesting the next one takes place in AAU in Aalborg on the 18th of April at 14.00-17.30. Read more and sign up here.