STAR/T Mini Symposium Supporting Entrepreneurial Refugees

About five years ago, three departments of the University of Twente started a multidisciplinary project researching the development of entrepreneurial eco-systems for grassroots innovators and social entrepreneurs in deprived settings. This project was referred to as Product Co Creation Centers (PC3).

Currently, 3 PhD candidates are actively doing research in this field. By initiating the Startup Accelerator for Refugees (STAR-T) project under the Living Smart Campus platform of the University of Twente, it has been possible to combine research with practice by setting up a business incubation program for refugees in partnership with Mindt, the ROZ Group, TIB-advies and Delitelabs.

This unique collaboration allowed to integrate into one program our University’s research insights into social entrepreneurship, sustainability and design approaches, with our partners experience in supporting social entrepreneurs, innovative entrepreneurs and traditional entrepreneurs. The project not only served its main purpose of helping entrepreneurial refugees in Twente starting up their own business and integrating into their new homeland, but also showed that excellent research can be achieved while creating direct social impact by setting-up university wide alliances that collaborate with governmental and non-governmental stakeholders.


  • 14.00 Introduction by chairman Jaap van Tilburg (Advisor Social Entrepreneurship – Nikos, University of Twente)
  • 14.10 Entrepreneurship and resilience – Petra de Weerd (Professor Organisation Studies & Innovation – Nikos, University of Twente)
  • 14.40 Living Smart Campus presentation – Mariëlle Winkler (Project Manager Campus & Innovation - University of Twente)
  • 14.50 Star-T presentation
  • Development of the program – Juan Jauregui Becker (Assistant Professor Lean Product Development - University of Twente) Execution of the project phase 1 and 2 – Jaap Fris (Co-founder Mindt – Startup Studio for Social Impact)
  • Contributions of 2 participants Q&A
  • 15.50 Break
  • 16.10 Researchers contributions chaired by dr. Rainer Harms (Associate Professor - NIKOS, University of Twente:
    • Supporting refugee entrepreneurs via the Star-T project – Research of Marlies Koers-Stuiver (PHD Candidate – Nikos, University of Twente) presented by a colleague
    • Entrepreneurship for sustainability: A Product Co-Creation Center (PC3) in Colombia – Monica Ramos (PHD Candidate – CSTM, University of Twente)
    • Social entrepreneurship and shrinking cities - Paul Benneworth (Cheps, University of Twente)  & Willem-Jan Velderman (Social Affairs, Dalfsen Municipality)
    • Q&A
  • 17.10 Closing by Jaap van Tilburg
  • 17.15 Drinks and snacks by Star-T participants
  • 18.30 End


If you want to join this program, please register via 
There is no entrance fee.

More information

Star-T project:!/project/1042126/star
Next Star-T project:

STAR/T Mini Symposium Supporting Entrepreneurial Refugees