Venture Alliances is an initiative that is powered by the ENVISIONAlliances project. ENVISIONAlliances is funded by the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) with grant agreement number 101055584. The project aims to enhance entrepreneurship as a key competence among academics across Europe and foster innovation within the business sector. It will provide specialised training to equip academics with the required tools, skills and mindset to launch value-creating initiatives on a national and European level.
The ENVISIONAlliances consortium consists of a collaboration between five universities and four private enterprises originating from five different European countries.
Meet the Team
University of Turku (Finland)
Marikka Heikkilä is the Research Director, Industrial Innovation Studies at the School of Economics, Centre for Collaborative Research (CCR) at the University of Turku. Marikka, whose research interests include business model innovation and digitalisation, has 20+ years of experience on joint research projects between companies and universities. Marikka and her team at the UTU are the Project Coordinators of Venture Alliances, and they also lead the Management & Quality Assurance aspects.
Technische Universiteit Delft (Netherlands)
Victor Scholten is Associate Professor in Technology-Based Entrepreneurship and the director of the Delft Centre for Entrepreneurship at TU Delft. Victor and his team are leading the development of a key aspect of the Venture Alliances platform – the Entrepreneurial Residency Programme. This initiative will bring academic innovators and knowledge-based businesses together. These will collaborate with each other to tackle a problem relating to technology or sustainability, creating a joint venture in the process.
Antti Heikkilä is CEO of Acceler8, a venture builder working with academic researchers across Europe and associated countries to commercialise disruptive innovations of research origin. Antti is a highly experienced business development co-founder, serial entrepreneur, international networker, and project evaluator with over twenty years of professional success. Antti’s team are responsible for implementation of the Entrepreneurial Residency Programme, and will oversee the initiation and execution of the proposed academia-business collaboration framework through the entrepreneurial residencies.
University of Maribor (Slovenia)
Dr Andreja Pucihar is Professor of Information Systems and head of MIS study programs at the Faculty of Organizational Sciences, University of Maribor. She is the head of eCenter laboratory, and has published over 170 papers in journals and conference proceedings. In Venture Alliances, Dr Pucihar and her team will oversee the hosting of four matchmaking sessions where academic innovators will be matched with business or entrepreneurs in their sector, according to their collaboration potential.
University of Murcia (Spain)
Dr Francisco Molina is a Professor of Management and Finance at the University of Murcia. He has published more than 40 research articles and more than 80 communications in various congresses. Dr Molina and his team will be overseeing Learning by Doing, which will support participants of the Entrepreneurial Residency Programme in engaging in new joint ventures. The team will be setting up a review board to host interviews where the prospective entrepreneurs will present their business pitch and receive constructive advice and support.
Stichting Saxion (Netherlands)
Dr Timber Haaker is a Professor at Saxion University of Applied Sciences. His research focuses on new business models and tools for business model innovation. Timber has always had a strong interest in innovation, finance and modeling. Dr Haaker and his team will lead the development and continuous improvement of the Entrepreneurial Competence Course. This is a series of interactive, web-based courses intended to equip academics with the necessary skills and attitudes to empower them to take the lead in pursuing innovation-based entrepreneurship.
Angele Giuliano is CEO of AcrossLimits, an SME that offers European solutions for technology, innovation, funding, networking and commercialisation. Angele is an expert evaluator, reviewer, National Innovation Champion and Ambassador for the European Innovation Council, jury member for the European Commission and several national governments in Europe. Angele and her team will oversee the dissemination efforts for Venture Alliances, as well as the preparation of guides and materials to support participants to the programme.
Juha Saarnio is the founder of Arcinno, a company specialising in management, business, technology, training and entrepreneurship consulting services. Juha is an entrepreneur, investor, public speaker and coach. He is also an expert in business acceleration and internationalisation for businesses in Europe and Asia. Juha will be assisting the project’s training and events organisation and management, collecting feedback for improvements, dissemination and sustainability.
Dr Katerina Zourou is the Director of Web2Learn, a small enterprise offering digital learning and professional training solutions and services. She is a recognised researcher in the area of technology-enhanced education, focusing on open and social learning in education. Dr Zourou will be involved in the training and events organisation and management, educational content design, dissemination and sustainability.