The engineering and consultancy firm ACE has been coaching the winning projects of the TU/e Contest ever since the very first edition in 2015, and our main partner will soon be back for the fourth edition!
For three editions and counting, Frank Steeghs (Senior Account Manager) and Arthur van der Goor (Senior Creative Engineer) have been coaching students from Eindhoven University of Technology and helping them further develop their own original ideas and prototypes. After all, that's what the TU/e Contest is all about! Chat sessions on the online platform help students and business partners to work together. In addition, workshops and training days are held to match the right students with the right partners.
Coaching by ACE
ACE lends its support to the TU/e Contest because they are passionate about inventiveness, creativity, and coaching the next generation of engineers. Frank and Arthur add great value by sharing their knowledge, experience, and network, as well as by emphasizing the importance of their firm's motto: Be ingenious!
ACE supports the TU/e Contest via five business units:
ACE's coaching provides students with a vast range of future opportunities. For example, a number of participants in the contest have been awarded internships with ACE's sister company BRACE Automotive, and others have even got a job there.
And of course, the coaching provided both during and after the competition also helps students get ahead. Eline van den Haak's Soil Optimizer, which won her the first TU/e Contest in 2015, was one of the first projects actively coached by Frank and Arthur. This support continued after the contest, helping Eline to develop it into a working product.
'The TU/e Contest gives students a chance to experience professional practice within a safe environment.'
- Frank Steeghs
Since the start of the third edition in 2017, Frank and Arthur have been coaching the Jakx project. Jakx is a concept prototype created by five TU/e students, including Jochem Manders and Lennard Katan, who are studying Mechanical Engineering. They decided to take part in the contest as they were curious to learn about the needs of their future clients and the practicability of their product.
"Jakx is an anti-theft system for coats that combines the ease and compactness of a coat rack with the security of a cloakroom."
- Jochem Manders
ACE first got to know Jakx during the speed dates. There was an instant click as the project includes many different fields in which ACE can offer specialist expertise, such as mechanics and product development. The chats, speed dates and Golden Egg Check provided a great deal of feedback, tips, and tricks in a very short space of time. As a result, the Jakx team recognized that there was much more to do than they had thought!
The TU/e Contest was the ideal opportunity for them to help develop new engineering talent, so it was a perfect match for both parties. The accessible nature of the coaching and the available tools enabled Jakx to further develop their prototype and get into the final. One year on, they have gained a wealth of knowledge – not to mention prize money!
'Seeing is believing. Despite not even being fully functional during the Contest, the first Jakx prototype played a key role in transforming the idea into a product with potential.'
- Arthur van der Goor
Coaching, motivation, and further development is in Frank and Arthur's DNA, and they will always have a wealth of useful tips and insights to give.
As well as winning first prize, Jakx also earned its development team a voucher for 40 ACE coaching hours, which allowed the collaboration to continue after the contest was over. There was then plenty of brainstorming at ACE's head office in Eindhoven about the next steps to take. Jakx wanted to develop the product independently, although the insights provided by experienced product developers like Frank and Arthur are invaluable. Together, they drew up an effective road map and business model, approached the prototype from a variety of perspectives and provided fresh inspiration. The Jakx team then got to work and presented their improved plans during the next meeting.
This year, Jakx hopes to complete their first prototype and start their first pilot. So with a bit of luck, our coats will be safe and secure by 2019!
In 2018, Frank and Arthur once again hope to add value to students' quirky and innovative ideas. So, do you have a bright idea and are you looking for enthusiastic coaching, tips, and tricks from experts? If so, then be sure to sign up for the fourth edition of the TU/e Contest. And don't forget to send ACE a message! ;)
Tips from ACE and Jakx