We took the “work” out of network


Written by
Svenja Prigge

The 2021 YES Festival of Ideas was a venture into new territory for us. Amidst the umpteenth lockdown, we hosted our first ever online alumni event. Equipped with new interactive tools, amazing guests, and lots of ideas, we kicked off the two-day event with a warming welcome – zoom check-ins are the new handshake, guys – followed by various interactive sessions that allowed everyone their time to shine, speak, share, and connect. If you missed out, read on to recap with us a screen time well spent.


On day one, three marvellous Breakout Rooms awaited our guests for our Alumni Spotlight Talks. Susan Glaser told us a tale about the science behind storytelling and why it is a sciencepreneur essential! IP consultant Viola Prifti offered invaluable and practical insight into the world of intellectual property during the second breakout session. Alumni Asmelash Teka Hadgu and Claudiu Mortan each discussed their different experiences with spinning-off since taking part in YES workshops. From serving low-resource languages with AI-based translation services, to protecting the climate with highly advanced solar cells, these two YES alumni are proving that doing good and finding success can – or rather, should – go hand in hand.

Networking, and make it fun! Lively conversations were happening on Sophya, where alumni could gather in our YES space.

The MIRO Board of Alumni acted as a gathering point, where participants could get to know each other and their ideas – which sparked conversations in our online networking session on the app Sophya. We mingled and networked until long past the official end time. Disclaimer: No neighbours were disturbed during this session!


Our carefully planned speed dating sessions on day two matched our 23 alumni mentees with 21 expert mentors from our partner network. YES project manager Sarah proved her matchmaking skills are better than Tinder. Not only our alumni felt “excited” and “empowered” by the “insane amount of valuable input”, but also our mentors learned a thing or two from the diverse group of researchers. During these two fantastic afternoons, our alumni shared a variety of skills, knowledge, and ideas, while stocking up on inspiration and motivation for their entrepreneurial journeys. We’d like to offer a huge thanks to all of our participants and look forward to seeing you next time, online or in real life •

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