Every start-up founder remembers the moment they fixated on the “problem.” For Ilana Devillers, it was after eating a dinner that her friend had scavenged from the supermarket dumpster to cut costs. “I was already mindful of the issues of food waste and poverty among students, but that day, it hit me hard,” says the French-Dutch businesswoman. It sparked the light of entrepreneurship and innovation, giving birth to Food4All, which connects consumers and distributors to unsold produce of the day on a free app.
Devillers prepared herself for this endeavour with a Master in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Luxembourg. “I would not be where I am today without the master’s. It equipped me with both theoretical and practical aspects that I use daily,” she shares. “From the whole list of courses, not a single one is immaterial, since each of them covers all aspects of running a business. The online simulation tools that we used in class enabled me to test my own business plan and project, and over the two years, I improved and finetuned my initial idea into a stable and successful start-up.”
Opening a world of possibilities
Taught in partnership with the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, the two-year Master in Entrepreneurship and Innovation aims to equip graduate students to get ahead in this fast-moving global economy. Successful entrepreneurs are not simply good day-to-day managers. They also anticipate and stimulate change to prepare their organisations for the future. Here, they gain the knowledge and skills to generate ideas and solutions for start-ups as well as multinational businesses.
Better yet, students learn to integrate their experience and channel motivations, energy, and plans to a single cause. Engineer Philippe Freitas Morgado had no entrepreneurship experience when he decided to enrol in the course. However, he had travelled to over 100 cities in 25 countries with his girlfriend. “Every time we travelled, we would say ‘this is missing in Luxembourg’ or ‘we could use this in Luxembourg,’” he shares.
Inspired by unique eco-tourism concepts he discovered in Iceland, Sweden, and Morocco, Morgado pitched the idea for a company that could fill this gap in Luxembourg as his master’s project. That’s how he grew his start-up Simpleviu, which designs, installs, and manages ecological tourist accommodations and services. Fast forward to two years later, and Philippe has just won the Best Business Plan Award, and earned it a cash injection of 1,500 euros for its start-up.
“The master’s was important because I was coming from a background in mechanical engineering. I had no idea about business; I needed to learn everything. Topics like marketing, innovation, management, accounting, finance and communication are essential to understanding how to build and run a company. More practically, I learned how to write a business plan and set everything up administratively,” Morgado says.
Shape your career with entrepreneurship and innovation
No matter your background or interests, this practice-oriented master’s programme will mould you into the entrepreneur you aspire to be. Modules cover marketing, management, and development, training students to be sharp and strategic at every step of the entrepreneurship journey. Aside from the Master in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, those pursuing a general business postgraduate qualification may opt for the Master in Accounting and Audit or Master of Science in Finance and Economics — which are also areas for which Luxembourg employs well.
What’s more, being in Luxembourg places each cohort in a supportive environment for burgeoning start-ups, with chances to explore the local industry via collaborations and internships. You will learn from established start-ups, and most importantly, stand to benefit from a strong network of University of Luxembourg partners including incubators and investors. This empowers students to chart their own career paths, chasing growth opportunities long after their formal education is over.
When asked what he appreciates most about his Master in Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Class of 2019 graduate Pierre Beck says, “Besides the theoretical courses, definitely the network. Be it companies, institutions, or other students, the networking opportunities brought by the programme are highly valuable.”
Visit the university’s official website to begin exploring your options.