The Athens Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation-ACEin is the incubation center of AUEB offering support to researchers and potential young entrepreneurs in order to develop innovative business ideas and bring them to the market. ACEin puts significant effort in supporting students pursuing either undergraduate studies and executive master’s or doctoral degrees and researchers who wish to turn their innovative entrepreneurial ideas or scientific research results into a sustainable business model and subsequent start-up company.
Τhe Centre helps the new ventures to develop their ideas and to move from the stage of idea in developing the concept and exit to market progress, while increasing the chances of success through constant interaction with the market. This process of progress, development and maturation of each new business idea for a product / service indicates that each group requires a different approach to teaching, mentoring, support services and networking activities. The approach used to provide such support actions based on multiple levels by the process of development and maturation of business forms . Distinguished the following main stages of the idea / maturity group (based on the Lean Startup methodology):
Stage 1: Development of business concept / model
Stage 2: Concept Imprinting and first feedback from market
Stage 3: Develop concept and subsequent feedback from the market
Stage 4: Final preparation to exit the market
Stage 5: Launch and development
This methodology covers this whole spectrum through a multi-layered approach, which ensures both the provision of adequate support and knowledge development, depending on the stage reached in each business format, and the encouragement and support for transition from one stage to another.
The Center offers more than just physical resources. The key strategy is to offer training on how to establish and run a start-up, services from experts, mentoring and networking. In parallel, the Centre organizes innovative actions in the context of its wider synergies with the market in certain sectors, in order to introduce innovative solutions in specific market segments. As such, the basic pillars of its strategy include:
Education: A carefully designed mixture of lectures, team assignments/ workshops, case studies and action learning. The courses are taught by faculty members and specialized industry experts.
Networking: Organization of various networking activities at national and international level, team development activities, access to the European network of University-based incubation centers, networking and dissemination activities, participation in international exhibitions and events.
Consulting Services: Teams are benefited from professional services (provided by experts) which vary depending on the team business maturity level, their specific needs and the capabilities of the Centre. The consulting services are provided in various fields, such as business planning, marketing, branding and design, IT development activities, accounting and legal issues etc. and are offered through personalized meetings with experts.
Competitions: Access to mentors with proven corporate, startup and venture capital experience and successful track record. Motivation through a series of events, competitions and award schemes.
Exploitation of research output: An important part of the Centre’s approach is the systematic exploitation of the research produced within university and research laboratories. This is tackled through a concrete Technology/ Knowledge Transfer methodology and a number of activities, such as providing continuous information/ motivation to the research teams, adequate assessment of the prospects of scientific achievements, collaborative identification of the most appropriate exploitation plan per research result (e.g. setting up a business, selling research and development services, concession permits) and providing specialized consulting services, depending on the business readiness, maturity and needs of each research team.