CESP inspires young entrepreneurs to dream big

Entrepreneurship students present ideas that leverage CERN technologies


CERN Entrepreneurship Student Programme (CESP)
CESP participants in action (Image: Simon Olofsson/CERN)

“Explore – Evaluate – Exploit.” This was the motto that ten ambitious young people were inspired by during their unique five-week residency at CERN, as part of the CERN Entrepreneurship Student Programme (CESP).

CESP is the latest addition to the CERN & Society programme and is the first of its kind at CERN. It is part of CERN’s effort to cultivate a culture of entrepreneurship and nurture the next generation of high-tech entrepreneurs, indispensable for future economic growth. The programme is aimed at entrepreneurship students enrolled in master’s-level courses and taps into CERN's scientific expertise to provide a technological dimension to the students’ training.

With coaching from experts in technology and entrepreneurship, as well as mentorship from CERN’s Knowledge Transfer group, the students received hands-on experience in the assessment and development of high-tech start-ups. During the programme, they put their own ideas into practice by leveraging CERN technologies.

“I really enjoyed every day of CESP. I think we had a great mixture of workshops, technological presentations, social events and group work. We were a small group where all of us had something to learn from each other, and we’ve been like a family for these weeks,” said a participant of CESP 2018.

At the end of the programme in September, the students demonstrated their final projects. Two of the projects looked into using CERN’s structured laser beam: one for providing internet infrastructure in rural areas, and the other to be used in LiDAR applications to better map the surroundings of autonomous vehicles. The last project involved the creation of a mobile physics laboratory, going from school to school in developing countries, demonstrating fun and memorable experiments in remote areas.

Another participant said, “This programme has had a big impact on my future plans. Being at CERN and meeting great people has motivated me to dream big dreams!”

Highlights from the 2018 CERN Entrepreneurship Student Programme (Video: Rachel Tessa Lavy/CERN)

The CERN & Society Foundation is now working towards making the next CESP possible.

CESP is an Education & Outreach project within the CERN & Society Foundation, established to enhance CERN’s beneficial footprint on society. In 2018, CESP was made possible thanks to the generous support from Strangeworks, a US-based quantum-computing company founded by entrepreneur William Hurley, who is known as 'whurley'. Whurley’s contribution to the project went beyond providing financial support, as he often offered his guidance and experience to the students.

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