Strengthening the Relationship Between Startups and Universities

Strengthening the Relationship Between Startups and Universities 500 500 RAISE fosters startup growth and scale-up within and across Europe

In today’s dynamic landscape of innovation, the collaboration between startups and universities plays a pivotal role in driving progress and fostering growth. Recognizing the significance of this bond, initiatives like RAISE serve as catalysts, prompting thoughtful considerations and sparking meaningful discussions about how to enhance the connection between these two spheres.

RAISE, with its platform for dialogue and exchange, stimulates reflections on various aspects of the startup-university relationship. From examining how universities can better promote startups to exploring the ways in which startups can leverage research activities, the initiative addresses a spectrum of pertinent issues. Furthermore, it underscores the shared responsibility between universities and startups in nurturing synergies that propel innovation forward.

At the heart of this collaborative endeavor lies the recognition that both startups and universities have valuable contributions to make. Adriana’s insightful questions serve as catalysts for introspection within the entrepreneurial and academic communities alike. Delving into topics such as how startups navigate the terrain of research and development, how universities champion entrepreneurial ventures, and the potential improvements in this relationship, the discussions within RAISE are both illuminating and constructive.

The roundtable discussions facilitated by RAISE emerge as vital forums for unpacking the intricacies of the startup-university relationship. Here, stakeholders from both sides come together to exchange ideas, share experiences, and co-create strategies aimed at nurturing collaboration and driving mutual benefit. By fostering an environment of open dialogue and collaboration, these discussions pave the way for the development of innovative solutions and the creation of a supportive ecosystem where startups and universities can thrive together.

Moreover, the insights generated through these discussions serve as guiding principles, offering startups and universities a compass to navigate the complexities of interdisciplinary collaboration. As both entities seek to venture into uncharted territories and explore new avenues for growth, the wisdom shared within the framework of RAISE provides invaluable direction.

Ultimately, the future of innovation hinges on the seamless integration of academia and entrepreneurship. By bridging the gap between these two realms, startups and universities can unlock a wealth of opportunities and usher in a new era of transformative progress. Through initiatives like RAISE and collaborative efforts aimed at strengthening the bond between startups and universities, we can collectively shape a landscape where innovation thrives, driving positive change and societal impact.

About the Speakers and Mentors

Adriana Bankston

Adriana Bankston is a former bench scientist turned science policy expert, with a wealth of experience in research and academic policy changes within university settings. Her career was dedicated to showcasing research discoveries on a broader scale. Notably, Adriana also led a non-profit organisation and held various entrepreneurial roles, connecting with professionals worldwide.

Adriana Bankston

Adriana’s role as a senior fellow in science policy with the Federation of American Scientists showcased her expertise in policy entrepreneurship. Her work at this non-profit mirrored the dynamic nature of a startup, making her well-equipped to discuss the convergence of science and policy.

Based in Washington, DC, USA, Adriana was ideally positioned to offer valuable insights into research-powered innovation, real-world impact, and the art of building strategic partnerships and talent scouting. Her diverse background and passion for research made her a dynamic speaker for discussions surrounding innovation, collaboration, and talent development.

To learn more about Adriana:

Juan Fuentes Fernández

Juan Fuentes Fernández

Juan Fuentes Fernández, based in Copenhagen, is a seasoned expert with a career spanning over a decade in various areas, including strategy, international business development, PR & Comms, brand and activation management, project and people management, market research, and CSR.

Having worked across Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and the Americas, Juan’s global perspective is reflected in his extensive professional journey. His notable achievements include:

Professional Experience

  • LALIGA Delegate for the Nordic Countries (2021-Present): Appointed by LALIGA, the Spanish football league, Juan leads the growth strategy in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland.
  • LALIGA Delegate for the Middle East (2017-2021): Spearheaded LALIGA’s successful expansion in Egypt, Sudan, and Libya.
  • Editor at Oxford Business Group (Philippines): Analyzed emerging economies in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Trade and Investment Advisor for the Embassy of Spain: Represented Spanish interests in Egypt, Lebanon, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Djibouti.

Academic Involvement: Juan’s academic contributions include research and co-authoring a Working Paper for Harvard Business School on LALIGA’s strategic development. He has served as an instructor and master thesis supervisor in various sports management programs in Spain and Europe.

Angel Investor: As an investor, Juan focuses on sports and entertainment-related startups, emphasizing industry validation and expansion. He avoids investments in projects collaborating with LALIGA or seeking collaboration with his organization.

Multidisciplinary Project Coordination: Juan has successfully managed diverse teams for award-winning projects, such as the Spanish-Arabic football dictionary by the Instituto Cervantes and LALIGA, which received the “Publication of the Year 2021” award in Spain.

Recognition and Social Impact: Juan has been shortlisted as a winner in Spain’s inaugural Nova 111 list, particularly in the telecom, media, and entertainment category. Dedicated to social impact, he has volunteered with various NGOs for over a decade and is a member of Common Goal, donating 1% of his salary to support social causes.

Areas of Expertise: Juan Fuentes Fernández excels in entertainment and sports management, international business development, strategy, market research, PR & Comms, brand and activation management, project and people management, CSR initiatives, academic instruction, keynote speaking, and angel investment. His multilingual and multicultural proficiency further enhances his ability to make a significant impact across various sectors.

Photo via Slack

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