In this new, regular part of the newsletter we will bring news from the Topic Group community, including new roles and forthcoming events, not least the headline annual event, the Topic Group Summit, which this year takes place on 25-26 October. More on that in the next newsletter. Meanwhile, in this edition we meet the new chairs of TG Entrepreneurship.

As we reported last month, TG Entrepreneurship chair Troels Oliver Vilms Pedersen has stepped down from the role as chair. In his place, TG Entrepreneurship members elected Mikkel Christoffersen from Odense Robotics (chair) and Stratos Arampatzis from Ortelio (deputy chair). We asked them both about their plans for the Topic Group. 

Why did you both decide to take on this leadership role for the TG? 

Mikkel: “In Denmark, start-ups are in our DNA. The things that move industry forward are often driven by start-ups. On a personal level, I’ve been involved with every ERF since 2017 (Edinburgh). It was a big pleasure to have ERF in Odense where we put a special focus on start-ups. It’s so much fun working with them!” 

Stratos offered a succinct summary of his personal motivation: “For me, the goal is to support robotics entrepreneurs to build companies that can be commercial successes.  

What will the TG’s members see under your leadership? 

Mikkel explained with some specific points: “We’re committed to making a success of the Entrepreneurship Award once again, including all the activity leading up to the presentations. We’d like to bring more start-ups to meet the wider community in Europe. It would be beneficial for them to meet new people and to join projects. It’s important to have an eco-system where start-ups can thrive. However, we know that there are areas of Europe where there is no local eco-system, where there are good universities but not a high density of businesses. We don’t know how yet but we want to help make eco-systems work together. 

“One thing we want to do is to get more active with outreach. How can you benefit as a start-up? How can we invite more start-ups to ERF? We also want to put a focus on early-stage start-ups. We worked with Troels (Pedersen, the previous Chair, also known as Oliver to his Anglophone friends!) to create a foundation, an incubator for very early-stage start-ups, providing micro loans, not as investments but to help the start-ups bring their product to the first stage.” 

What are your hopes and ambitions for the TG? 

Stratos responded: “We want to create awareness of entrepreneurial opportunities (and constraints) among students, academics, and professionals. Beyond this, our aim is to facilitate the generation of companies arising from these groups of people, and to support their growth.”  

 What will TG Entrepreneurship do over the next few months to a year? 

Stratos: “We will organise events at ERF, including the Entrepreneurship Award. We will also support individuals to become aware of entrepreneurial opportunities in the robotics domain. Apart from that we will network with other organisations that have similar objectives and look to exploit any synergies that we find. We’ll also research the market, monitoring changes, trends and opportunities as these arise.”  

 Mikkel echoed this: “We’re looking towards Rimini and we look forward to working the local organisers. They have their own activities related to start-ups. We also want to run more ‘Ask me anything’ webinars, so that’s a continuation of existing activities. We also want to see how we can contribute to the roadmap and to see what else we have resources to do. Meanwhile, we’ll be working to launch and run the next Entrepreneurship Award.”