Students spend a semester in The Kitchen turning their own startup into reality

October 1, 2021

BY PATRICK VESTER ENGEL

The Kitchen’s Internship Program gives students from various departments of Aarhus University the chance to try out the life of an entrepreneur. As interns in their own startup, they spend a semester on trying to bring their startup ideas to life, while attending workshops, and receiving guidance from startup advisors. Their school hours are spent on various activities, while they have access to the facilities and resources that The Kitchen offers. At the same time, they bond and exchange ideas with the other entrepreneurs in the program. Here, they have a great opportunity to try the life of working for themselves and shape their future careers.

We have asked two hopeful entrepreneurs to share their experiences with the program so far.

Fidel Delgado, 28 – Master’s degree student in Digital Design, Audio Design

What is your startup project?

My plan is to create artificial engine sounds that can be used as part of the design for electric cars, which barely produces any sound when they’re active, but will need to have some in the near future. I have a bachelor’s degree in Art History, and are now taking a Master’s degree in Audio Design. And I’ve been working with sounds all my life, but also with images and graphics. I’m skilled at producing sounds, while my studies have trained me to think reflexively about their meaning, so I have a good view of what I can provide the industry I’m trying to break into. Based on my own research, I’ve learned that it’s a market in rapid development, so I hope to use my background to really tap into it.

Why did you choose to join the program?

I’m the type of person who are quite good at turning my interests into my jobs. I’ve been a DJ, radio host and sound technician and tried producing music before I got here. I’m also quite affected about the ideas I have for my Master’s thesis next year, on how I can take my education with me and put it to use when I go to the job-market. This led me to do some research on the development of sounds for electric cars, which are much more silent than gas-using ones, but soon will be affected by law to produce some. I saw a lot of potential with my skills and background and felt this was the best choice for me.
I’m also very driven towards creating my own career. I want to be independent when I go into work-life. I’ve developed the ambition during my studies, that I want to be as self-employed as I can, so it’s a great opportunity, that you can take a semester to really test the worth of your academic background and competences in the outside world.

What is the best or most valuable thing about being in the program?

I’m really grateful for having access to the facilities. Rooms and areas to work or have meetings in, or the gear in the house, like the photo-studio in the basement. It’s nice to have resources for all the business development side of things.
But more than anything, I really value the community you’re part of here, and the network you can build. Both the other students interning in their own businesses, as well as those in the house. The workshops, and the conversations we have among the startups are extremely useful in pushing our concepts and challenging our ideas. I’ve only been here a short while, but thanks to the program, I’m much more clarified on the goals I can aim for, while I’m here. I’m hopeful that I’ll have some product concept that will be relatively market-ready on the other side of things.

Sofie Rehnström, 31 – Studies Cand.Merc in International Business Development

What is your startup project?

I have a dream about designing, producing, and selling sustainable equipment for horses, especially for riding, and with a focus on the Scandinavian market. Right now, I’m planning to make rope-halters and lead-ropes, produced from recycled plastic. I want to combine a lot of previous work experiences with my own interest and passion as a horse owner. I live on a farm with my boyfriend, where we raise horses, including my own.
The project is as much a business dream, as it’s a about forging my own career path. I’m a bit older than most others in the program, and have tried a lot of different things, but hope to make a career out of my startup-idea. It’s a tough business, but I’m hopeful.

Why did you choose to join the program?

Before studying my masters, I’ve held job as a store manager for 6 years, been self-employed as a nail technician and with a consultancy business. I learned that working for others wasn’t my thing, so when I discovered this program, I felt it was a great chance to see if I could work for myself, by trying to create my brainchild-startup.
I also have a lot of emotions invested in the area my startup touches, and already have a lot of insight into the market, from my own life. I’m a very structured person, and the program offers a framework that helps me on the way. That, and there’s a lot of good help and resources to help me move forward with my ideas.

What is the best or most valuable thing about being in the program?

There are so many good things about it, but for me, it’s that it gives me a room to be in and share with people. I have a need to be part of SOMETHING. I’ve tried working alone and in teams, and I get most out of it when I’m part of one. I can work independently, but I need to in a creative environment with people around me to do it. I feel I get that here. Being here also gives you connections to evaluate your progress, and for me this really pushes me towards my goals

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