How is Novel-T dealing with the corona crisis?
Beernink: ‘Our first step was to digitalize all our activities, bootcamps and programs. We began this process even before the official governmental advice and made sure that we could offer all our services and support for students, researchers and entrepreneurs digitally.’
Do you offer any special support for entrepreneurs?
‘Last week we put together a special task force, a team of eight experts to support regional SME’s, spin-offs and startups during the corona crisis. They offer hands-on support and advice related to finances, legal issues, remote working and help provided by the government. We really see a need for this one-on-one advice. On top of that, we have daily Q&A sessions. We have also been proactively contacting entrepreneurs in our network, we’ve informed all UT spin-offs and start-ups.’
What are the most common concerns and questions that the companies have?
‘If it comes to UT spin-offs, the biggest issue right now is access to facilities, such as the NanoLab. For them, if the NanoLab is closed, business is closed. I’m glad that the University of Twente understands that and that they will give limited access to these companies, so that we can help them in these difficult times. Secondly, many start-ups now face problems with investors. Access to capital will be very difficult now. Investors are afraid of the new round of funding. They want to wait until the effects of the corona crisis are clear and they are postponing their investments. SME’s most frequently ask us about the governmental measures and how to best apply them.’
Who can reach out to you for help?
‘In order to not become a national frontline for corona issues, we are helping our usual focus group, therefore regional SME’s dealing with high-tech solutions, student entrepreneurs and all start-ups and spin-offs related to research. If you have any questions, please just contact us. We will most likely be able to help you or we can refer you further.’