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Strathclyde Business School

Entrepreneurship programme: Incubating great ideas

By Jonathan Lindsay - Posted on 7 February 2024

Jonathan Lindsay and Bohdana Schwendtner are founders of a business start up and were lucky enough to be selected for the Santander X Explorer programme. Here, Jonathan discusses the programme's benefits and future business plans. 

A year ago Bohdana and I were delighted to find out we’d been selected to attend the Santander X Explorer trip to Madrid and Valencia later in 2023. 

As Strathclyde University alumni and founders of solar collector business idea LSS, we were so pleased to be given the news that we were to participate in this fantastic experience in September 2023.  

The Explorer Trip is a week-long immersion programme held between Madrid and Valencia, where the best teams from the Explorer programme across eight countries get to receive high-performance training, mentoring and feedback from successful entrepreneurs, investors and industry leaders. The Explorer programme is a 12-week online pre-incubation programme that helps young people with innovative solutions to tackle the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030. It is promoted by Santander Universities and coordinated by the Santander Entrepreneurship International Centre (CISE). 

This was an amazing opportunity to learn from experts, network with other entrepreneurs and pitch our idea of solar collector/LSS to potential investors. Personally, the event has helped me develop my entrepreneurial skills and vision. 

Our idea for LSS - which stands for Low-cost Solar Solution - is to develop a low-cost, portable and modular solar collector that can be used to provide clean and renewable energy for various applications, such as water heating, desalination, refrigeration and power generation. Our solar collector is based on a novel design that uses a combination of flat-plate and evacuated-tube technologies to achieve high efficiency and durability. 

The Explorer programme helped us to validate our idea, refine our business model, conduct market research, develop our prototype and prepare our pitch deck. We also had access to a global community of entrepreneurs, mentors and experts who gave us valuable feedback and advice throughout the programme. We learned a lot from the online sessions, workshops, webinars and challenges that were part of the programme. 

The Explorer trip in Valencia was an intensive and rewarding experience. We had the opportunity to work on our idea with the help of mentors, coaches and peers, and to pitch it to a panel of judges and investors. We also attended inspiring talks and workshops from successful entrepreneurs, such as Kristina McMenamin, Gilles de Clerk and Ricardo Marvão. We also enjoyed the cultural and social activities that were organised, such as visiting the City of Arts and Sciences, the beach and the old town, and networking with other participants from different countries and backgrounds. 

We were very honoured and proud to have been selected for the Explorer Trip, as it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn from the best and showcase our idea to a global audience. We have taken a lot of learnings, insights and connections from it, and we are more confident and motivated to pursue our entrepreneurial journey. We also made some great friends and memories that we will cherish forever. 

We had the confidence to push forward with this thanks, in part, to the support of the University of Strathclyde, especially from the Business School and the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship (HCE). They helped us with the application process, provided us with funding, equipment and facilities, and connected us with relevant contacts and resources. They also organised regular meetings and events to monitor our progress and celebrate our achievements.  

Now, our next steps are to continue working on our idea, improve our prototype, test it in real conditions, and look for potential customers and partners. We also plan to apply for other programmes and competitions that can help us grow our venture, such as Santander X 100, a global community of entrepreneurs that supports the most successful startups and scaleups in Santander X programmes and challenges. We are very excited about the future, and we hope to make a positive impact with our solar collector/LSS. 

Contact details

 Undergraduate admissions
 +44 (0)141 548 4114

 Postgraduate admissions
 +44(0)141 553 6118 / 6119


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