An interview with Göteborg Daily…
Erman Turan is a 28-year-old student from Turkey. He is in the middle of his second master’s program in Gothenburg, and in the start up phase of his own company.
– I work like 60-80 hours per week now, but it is fun. Your company becomes like your baby. It takes over your life but you still love it insanely.
Erman is a student in GIBBS, a master’s program in Business Creation and Entrepreneurship in Biomedicine. The program is a joint initiative by Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg(GU).
The goal of the program is that the students start their own companies. When the program finishes in May, successful projects will be registered as Limited Companies and continue as up and running businesses. Essentially, the students are given a chance to create their own jobs.
– It is a great opportunity. You get a chance to establish your own company, and then you start working there after your degree, says Erman.
Together with his project colleagues Jens Larsson and Niklas Holmquist, Erman is a business developer for the project Cline Technologies. The project is commercialising a research tool to study cell surface interactions. Erman breaks it down to basics:
– For instance, if you get an implant, it is important that your body accepts it. With our nano surfaces we have the ability to observe and test how well cells adapt to the implant surface. Other application areas are stem cell research, regenerative medicine, tissue engineering and wound healing.
The idea comes from a team of researchers at GU. And Erman’s job is to turn it into a commercial product. He is based in Encubator, which is a business incubator for the entrepreneur programs at GU and Chalmers.
A wide range of “idea providers” submit their ideas to Encubator. Promising ideas are matched to students whose task is to turn them into profitable business ideas.
Erman loves the creative and dynamic environment of Encubator. The different projects exchange ideas, support each other and celebrate breakthroughs together.
Through business advisors and board members, they also get an important opportunity to establish networks and build relationships with people in the industry. Cline Technologies even has a former CEO of Nobel Biocare on its advisory board.
– People are helping you. It’s easy to book meetings and you can sit down and talk freely. They are really open, and they give you feedback.
Erman thinks the accessibility is something that really separates Gothenburg from larger cities.
– In Gothenburg everyone is a bit more relaxed. The distances between entities is also important, you can walk pretty much everywhere. And still, the city is home to many life science companies, plus industries like Volvo and other global companies. It’s a dynamic atmosphere.
Erman is also finishing up his thesis in Biomedical Engineering from Chalmers. He first heard about the university whilst doing an internship at Philips in the Netherlands. An Indian colleague with a master’s from Linköping’s University suggested that Erman should consider Sweden for his post-grad studies.
Erman read about Chalmers on the Internet, and quickly decided to make the move. He arrived at the Central Station in Gothenburg on August 31, 2007.
– I’ll never forget the date, because I’ll never forget how cold I thought it was!
Erman settled into life in Sweden quite easily. He thinks one of the best ways to prepare is to read about the culture and people. Not everything will be true of course, but it will give you an idea of what to expect.
– The most important thing is to be patient. Give people a chance to get to know you and they will like you. Swedish people need a bit of space, but if they start to know you, they are perfect friends.
– And if you survive the first winter, I promise you will be fine!