A launch pad for the next generation of technical entrepreneurs

From energy storage solutions to optimised car trailers, students pitched their start-up ideas on a wide range of fascinating topics during the 2021 edition of the CERN Entrepreneurship Student Programme

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Entrepreneurship students attending the first edition of CESP in 2018 (Image: CERN)

On 27 August 2021, the CERN Entrepreneurship Student Programme (CESP) held its Demo Day, during which participating teams marked the completion of the intensive five-week entrepreneurial programme by delivering their final venture idea pitches.

This year marked CESP’s fourth run, in which five selected teams of technical master’s students from across the globe got a chance to work on and build their start-up ideas. Organised by CERN’s Knowledge Transfer group, since 2018 the competitive programme has helped 40 students develop their entrepreneurial skills through coaching from technology and business experts.

This year’s programme was held online due to the global health situation. Students joined in virtually from Canada, India, Mexico, North Macedonia and the United Kingdom, and developed five promising projects with the potential of becoming start-up companies in the future.

“We had only worked on the technical side of our project before joining. Thanks to CESP, we had a solid venture idea to pitch in just five weeks – I found it hard to believe! Thanks to the close mentorship and insightful lectures, we set and reached quite ambitious and specific goals each week.”

Maja Sharevska, CESP 2021 participant

On Demo Day, all the teams presented their final pitches covering a diverse range of topics: apps for the general public to contribute to science challenges, solutions for efficient energy storage, a platform to make getting job experience easier for college students, performance car trailers to facilitate transport, and even an oxygen-optimisation device intended to alleviate the acute oxygen supply crisis that many countries are facing because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The teams were met with enthusiastic feedback, and they deftly fielded probing questions from the attending tech and business experts, including programme sponsor Jasper Van Zon from the Arconic Foundation. For an in-depth look at their ideas, watch the Demo Day recording here.

“Working remotely and together with scientific and tech entrepreneurs from all over the world showed us the importance of exchanging knowledge.”

Adolfo A. Romero, CESP 2021 participant

Since CESP’s launch in 2018, the idea behind the programme has been to train the next generation of technical entrepreneurs and help them solve global challenges. Students draw on the wide range of technologies and competences offered at CERN to tackle a problem they have identified and wish to address through their business idea.


In 2021, CESP was supported by the CERN & Society Foundation thanks to a generous donation by the Arconic Foundation. The highly competitive programme will be organised again in 2022. Applications for next year’s edition will open in 2022.

You can also read this article on the CERN Knowledge Transfer website