Every year, Ghent University sends a team of student-entrepreneurs to the Virginia Tech Knowledge Works Global competition. This year, ‘Dare to Venture’, the center for student entrepreneurship at Ghent University, selected ‘Ledsreact’ to represent our university.
Ledsreact develops a smart interactive sports cone that detects the athlete when he approaches the cone and responds with a light to indicate the direction the athlete has to go. Hence, the name of the product is, the Direction. The company was founded by Koen Vercauteren, part of the Belgian military, and Mathias Segers, who studies a master in Health education and health promotion. Ledsreact also won our first event on creativity and brainstorming in sports called ‘Sports ID marathon’, which was organized in close collaboration between Victoris and ‘Dare to Venture’.
To join the competition, the team was extended by Thomas Vervisch, a student Industrial Design. Before they left for the week-long program at Virginia Tech, they had the opportunity to go to Belcham (the Belgian-American Chamber of Commerce) in New York.
In the team session that Belcham organized, they pitched to Belgian entrepreneurs who are active in the USA. The feedback they received was priceless, and will help them with entering the American market. After their trip to New York, they left for a short city trip in Washington with the other students who participated in the competition. In total, 14 countries and teams participated in this inspiring event.
In Blacksburg, hometown of Virginia Tech, the students stayed with host families and were coached further by host companies. They were able to bring them in touch with local sportsmen and they had the chance to visit the universities’ American Football stadium (which is bigger than any stadium in Belgium)!
At the end of the week they gave their final presentation, which was streamed online so people all over the world (including their Belgian family) could follow in real-time. You can watch their presentation here:
Did they win? No. They became second in the ‘tangible products’ category! We are proud! Unfortunately, they didn’t go home with the 25 000 dollars prize. But anyway, the feedback they got, and the network they´ve built is priceless. And of course, they recommend all students to join for next year’s round!