While universities are the ideal breeding ground for new startups and talented entrepreneurs, the teams formed at the young companies coming out of these institutions are dominantly homogenous because team building is mainly based on the random principle. Talent Kick, an initiative of the Kick Foundation supported by the Gebert Rüf Foundation, Foundation Botnar, ETH Domain and the ETH Foundation, wants to change this by helping students create more diverse, interdisciplinary and cross-university teams.
In the first semester, a carefully selected group of students will have the opportunity to find a co-founder, a mentor, and benefit from self-development coaching and hands-on entrepreneurship training. The teams will each receive financial support to validate their idea once they meet the team-formation and mentor-matching milestones. They will be accompanied until the end of their studies. Events and networking sessions will take place throughout the program for candidates to broaden their network within the startup ecosystem. The cohorts will also connect to a global network of researchers and innovators via Swissnex, which is acting as a global program partner.
The program’s unique approach will enable participants to lay a stable foundation that will allow them to confidently decide whether to pursue the entrepreneurial career path after their studies. The best candidates who develop a potential business idea will access other programs such as Venture Kick, the ETH Pioneer Fellowship, >>Venture>>, Foundation FIT, Wyss Zurich, Ucreate, ETH ieLab, EPFL Blaze, FONGIT and Innosuisse before they graduate to prolong their runway and further allow them to accelerate their startup’s development.
"Talent Kick is one of the first programs with such an extensive and cross-university team-building focus. With our support, students will be able to combine entrepreneurship and their studies until they graduate", commented Viviana Gropengiesser, Talent Kick’s CEO & Director of the German-speaking region.
Following the success of a first test phase that resulted in 8 teams being formed (video), Talent Kick has now launched as a complementary entrepreneurship program for masters and PhD students across different Swiss universities. Several universities in four regions have joined the inaugural edition, but the application is open to students from all Swiss universities.
Registration is now open. The first edition will include 36-40 candidates in two cohorts.