ACE Venture Lab was founded in 2013. Its founding organization, the Amsterdam Center for Entrepreneurship (ACE), was set up in 2006 to act as a platform for stimulating research and activities in the field of entrepreneurship. They inititally operated at UvA and later also at VU, HvA and AHK. An overview from past to present:
In 2006, the Faculty of Economics and Business at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) started a new research center. Attached to the department of Organization and Entrepreneurship at UvA and led by prof. dr. Mirjam van Praag, the center developed into a place for scientific entrepreneurship research and education in entrepreneurship. In addition to the support of the municipality of Amsterdam and the Ministry of Economics, the center was supported by business partners like KPMG and Fortis.
Education in entrepreneurship has become more popular among students and in 2008 the UvA, Vrije Universiteit (VU), Hogeschool van Amsterdam (HvA) and Hogeschool Inholland decided to combine forces. This led to CASE: The Center of Amsterdam School for Entrepreneurship. The goal of this cooperation: to improve the entrepreneurship climate in the Amsterdam region by connecting higher education and scientific research with business. CASE became a success and was the foundation of ACE.
In 2010, the separate partners (UvA, VU and HvA) decided to combine their centers for Entrepreneurship into one: The Amsterdam Center for Entrepreneurship (ACE). Supported by the municipality of Amsterdam, the Ministry of Economics and new business partners Rabobank and EY (Ernst & Young), ACE grew towards a leading center. With controversial research, a broad education program and a great diversity of entrepreneurial activities, ACE attracted both national and international attention. In 2011 ACE was the first Dutch organization to win the European Enterprise Award in the category ‘Invest in Skills’.
Later that year, ACE participated in a broad Amsterdam Valorisation-consortium. This multi-annual program offered substance to the pan-Amsterdam valorization strategy. One of the results is the ACE Venture Lab: a hatchery for promising science-based startups, which opened its doors in 2013 at the Amsterdam Science Park. ACE Students, the student board of ACE, was founded that same year. In 2013 ACE welcomed the Amsterdam School of Arts (AHK) as the fourth educational partner. A new highlight in the field of entrepreneurship education is the Master Entrepreneurship. ACE stood at the base of this first joint master of the UvA and VU.
Entrepreneurship has established a permanent spot on the education agenda. At ACE Venture Lab we create a space where entrepreneurship education is transferred into market-ready startups. Working together with educational institutions and creating a place where entrepreneurship education is brought into practice has proven to be a success formula. We are currently operating as a B.V. but continue to work with our trusted partners at UvA, HvA, VU and AHK to ensure that graduates and PhD’s can easily transfer into a great environment where they can grow their business.
In 2016, we hope to expand our activities and grow our network even further. We are expanding our capacity for startup programs by opening a “Startup Village” on Amsterdam Science Park during the summer. We will also be co-hosting events and programs with UvA, HvA, VU and AHK. With these kinds of activities, we wish to cross boundaries of enterprise practice between universities, corporate institutions and young entrepreneurs.