Partnerships are in Agoria's DNA. After all, you get more done together than alone. For example, Agoria is the main sponsor of the Agoria Solar Team, a team of engineering students which is building a solar car with the help of Belgian companies: "We also want to spread the love for technology in society at large."
The Agoria Solar Team consists of Belgian engineering students who want to build the most innovative solar car in the world. In 2019, the team took first place in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia. Agoria supports the participating students with financial resources and practical guidance.
"Every year, the Agoria Solar Team recruits 20 engineering students who want to take a year’s sabbatical to build a solar car and race against other top competitors," says Ruben Holsbeekx, Master's student in Electromechanics at KU Leuven (Catholic University of Leuven). "Every two years we build a new, improved version. The team has been in existence since 2004 and has already built up a lot of expertise."
"We naturally need support for our challenge. That's why we enter into new partnerships every two years. We contact companies, explain our project and ask them if they want to support us. For example, we work with professional milling companies, who can customize our aluminium parts. Currently, Agoria is our main partner. In addition, we work together with many other sponsors and suppliers, such as Siemens, Orange, Ford, Absolem, HP, etc. Many companies are happy to link their name to a sustainable, innovative and high-tech project."
"We connect people and companies inspired by technology"
Frederik Meulewaeter, Manager External Communications at Agoria
Agoria is already happy to work with the Solar Team, says Frederik Meulewaeter, Manager External Communications. "Our goals are partly the same: stimulating young entrepreneurship, promoting STEM disciplines, spreading sustainable technologies more widely... As a sector federation, Agoria wants to go a step further than before. We obviously stand up for our members from the technology industry, but today we also want to connect people and companies who are inspired by technology. We delve deeper into society, because major technological developments are possible only if the general public also sees the benefits of them."
"To play that role, of course, the public needs to know us. That is why we are linking the name of our organization to the team and that of our business centre BluePoint to the solar car. In addition, we regularly put the team in touch with other potential partners who can provide financial, technological or logistical support."
Even more plans
Over the next six months, Agoria and the team will be undertaking a lot of exciting activities together. Meulewaeter: "Together we are supervising the Solar Olympiad, a competition in which secondary school students can make their own solar-powered gadget. The Solar Team engineering students are also good ambassadors for everything that has to do with STEM. Certainly the young women on the team can inspire other girls. And in September there will be another race of solar cars abroad."
"At the same time, Agoria is also working on other partnerships, especially with companies and educational institutions. For example, we recently signed a partnership agreement with Flanders Investment and Trade (FIT). Together we will guide technology companies in their international expansion. Partnership is in our DNA, we will continue to work strongly on that."