EW Facility Services awards the Saxion Entrepreneurs Award 2018 to Laurens de Graaff

Challenging yourself every day to search for opportunities and creative solutions. Being passionate about your profession and always opting for the best result. That is what entrepreneurship is all about. Important features that we value and strive for every day at EW Facility Services. Because we think entrepreneurship is important and we want to play a social role in this, we created the Saxion Entrepreneur Award in 2009 together with Saxion. An award that stimulates and rewards entrepreneurship among young students. During the final of this ninth edition on 30 May, Laurens de Graaff became the winner with his concept Simple CHA. In addition to a starting capital of € 5,000 he will also receive guidance from professionals at EW Facility Services for a year.

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EW Facility Services awards the Saxion Entrepreneurs Award 2018 to Laurens de Graaff

Innovative idea for a wide audience

During the process, Laurens de Graaff managed to convince the four-member jury of his product Simple CHA, a cube that allows you to operate your entire home in an innovative way. With his concept, he wants to bridge the gap between technology and user. He has already obtained several working prototypes and a lot of user input. The product is almost ready to go into production and Laurens hopes to bring it to the market as soon as possible but in any event no later than in 2019.

Jury verdict

The level of the finalists was high this year and the ideas and entrepreneurs were not far apart. According to the jury, Simple CHA is the winner because it is a tangible product that responds to the needs of the market. The feasibility and scalability of the product is high and there is a clear vision of the steps that need to be taken to realise the product. The jury thinks that Laurens is a real entrepreneur and that he has experienced significant growth in the Saxion Entrepreneur Award programme. Bas Cornelissen, General Manager EW Facility Services & chairman of the jury: “Laurens has developed a product that the market needs. He is responding to the desire to digitally control a variety of equipment in the house from one device, with user convenience being paramount. His development during the competition is clearly visible and he exhibits a good deal of entrepreneurship. As a jury, we have every confidence that he will be able to successfully market the product.”

The jury for the Saxion Entrepreneurs Award consists of Bas Cornelissen (EW Facility Services), Bob Vos (Switch IT Solutions), Judith Lansink (MET Architects) and Rob ten Hove (National Forensic Research Office). They have judged the finalists during three rounds: at workshops, during a boot camp and in the final. As part of their decision, the jury looked at the feasibility and scalability of the business concept, market need, (financial) growth potential and the degree to which the company is being further developed. The jury also looked to see if the candidate was a real entrepreneur with a corresponding drive and vision about the future. The combination of a great idea and being a real person with passion and self-confidence is what makes a successful entrepreneur.

Incentive award

In addition to the main award, an incentive award of € 2,500 was also handed out. The winner of the incentive prize is Lisa Bootsma with NHNCD, an internet shop with (reworked) vintage clothing. Lisa has a distinctive style and a clear vision of the future in which she wants her clothing to contribute to a sustainable society.

Other finalists

The finalists in the race for the title were:

  • NHNCD - Lisa Bootsma (Fashion & Textile Technologies)
  • Period Box - Eva Bolder, Jana Booms and Ilze Dekker (Creative Media & Game Technologies)
  • Rijden met Ad - Marjon van den Bos, Jean-Louis Wassenaar, Alexander van der Leij and Mart Wijma (Creative Media & Game Technologies)
  • Simple CHA - Laurens de Graaff (Spatial and urban planning)
  • To-Maatje - Gilian van der Weerd (Commercial economy)

About the Saxion Entrepreneurs Award

The Saxion Entrepreneur Award is organised by the Saxion Centre for Entrepreneurship, EW Facility Services and Novel-T. This year the award selection took place for the ninth time. With this award, the organisations want to stimulate entrepreneurship among students and exhibit it to a wide audience.