At Amsterdam Science Park, we believe knowledge has no borders. That’s why you’ll find cutting-edge institutes, top-class facilities and business incubators in one convenient location. You’ll meet motivated students, innovative researchers, talented scientists and adventurous entrepreneurs – all in an environment where it’s easy to work together. Cross-disciplinary initiatives and holistic thinking flourish. Ground-breaking research projects become successful spin-offs. That’s the strength of Amsterdam Science Park: connecting boundless minds.
Livio Bod has set up two businesses, Future University and Spaak, while studying at the UvA at Amsterdam Science Park.
“I came to Amsterdam Science Park to study psychobiology at the University of Amsterdam. The course is all about understanding the biological background of psychological processes, and it’s quite multidisciplinary. It’s a fascinating area, but while studying I’ve discovered that my true passion is not academia, but being an entrepreneur. I just started organising things – a career day for the life sciences was my first project – and discovered I loved it."
“I think it works really well to start a business while studying, and Amsterdam Science Park is the perfect place to do it”
“Soon after this, I noticed that students who need extra help with certain subjects – statistics for example – were relying on tutorial companies which are very expensive. In fact, I calculated that they make a 90% profit! I decided that students need a cheaper alternative, and that there was room for a different business model. I created Future Learning and now run it together with another student, Yannick Vinkesteyn. We have a variety of courses, depending on demand, and a growing number of tutors. We pay our tutors, who are Master’s students, more than twice what the tutorial companies pay. Our rates for students are also much more affordable."
“We are not aiming to make a profit, but if we do we use it to fund other projects. We are also working on a language course for refugee students, plus an outreach programme for secondary school kids. We also plan to expand the tutorial side of the business, as the need is clearly there."
“I started organising things – a career day for the life sciences was my first event – and discovered I loved it”
“With three other students here at UvA, I also set up Spaak, which is a sustainability consultancy business. The name is the Dutch word for the spoke of a wheel, and it reflects our aim to achieve a circular economy. Spaak began as a student project I did with students from other disciplines – future planet, bèta-gamma and chemistry. We provided a consultancy service for a microfibre business that wanted to check how sustainable its operations are. We all clicked, and the project was a success – the company asked us to continue working with them."
“The four of us students decided that we want to keep developing Spaak, and since then we have generated lots of ideas of our own. We’ve set up a sustainable garden in Amsterdam West, and we’ve taken part in several competitions – most recently in Chicago, where we just won the Wege Prize! We were award first place for our business case for hospitals, based on recycling water and waste, that would generate a profit in two or three years. Here at Amsterdam Science Park, we’re working on potentially recycling all the coffee grounds used in the student cafeteria and using them to grow mushrooms."
“While studying, I discovered that my true passion is being an entrepreneur”
“In September, I start a Master’s in Sustainable Business and Innovation at Utrecht University, but with two businesses established here at Amsterdam Science Park, I will be here a lot. This is a great place to work. If I have a criticism, it’s that sometimes the park is a victim of its own popularity – it can be hard to find a place to work, so I feel the use of space could be better addressed."
“Also, I think the park should do even more to encourage students to be entrepreneurs – there seems to be this idea that you should wait until you graduate, but I think it works really well to start a business while studying. There’s so much input and experience here – the director of Ace Venture Lab, Erik Boer, really inspired me when I was coming up with my ideas by thinking along with me and being so enthusiastic. Amsterdam Science Park is the perfect place to start a business.”