Stibbe, in cooperation with IusStart (KU Leuven), has supported promising start-ups for many years now by drawing their attention to potential legal obstacles in the field of general commercial law and IP and IT law. This new academic year is no exception: our TMT department continues to assist final-year law students and start-ups by being their mentors.
Through this initiative, we support the Belgian start-up community and assist students in practical and problem-solving thinking. These projects also allow us to stay connected with the academic research and educational communities.
Students who choose the "IusStart" master’s thesis field opt for a two-part route consisting of a practical and a theoretical part. This process includes group and individual assignments that should be done in collaboration with or under the guidance of lawyers and employees of the KU Leuven Center for IT & IP Law, the Economic Law Department, and the Private Law Department.
The goal of IusStart is to offer law students a more practical and problem-solving learning experience by incorporating a component in the master's thesis consisting of providing legal advice to start-ups. Although the educational process is paramount, bringing law students, start-ups, academics, and law firms together is also part of the EU and national policies to support young businesses and stimulate innovation and employment. The "clients" of IusStart are start-ups (student entrepreneurs, young business starters, ...) who do not have sufficient budget yet to pay for professional legal advice. With this initiative, IusStart wants to support entrepreneurship at KU Leuven and in Flanders.
IusStart is an amalgamation of the two legal incubators that are present at KU Leuven: the ICT Law Incubator and IusStart. The ICT Law Incubator was started by the KU Leuven Center for IT & IP Law in 2013 within the framework of iLinc, a two-year EU project (2013-2015) that aimed to develop an EU network of ICT Law Incubators.
Arno Soontjens of W3Technics, one of the start-ups supported by Stibbe, states: “Being a start-up without funding, getting decent answers to all of our legal questions can be really hard, as we don't have the means to pay for professional advice. The IusStart program gave us access to sound legal advice and counseling from master students of KU Leuven, under the expert professional guidance of the lawyers of Stibbe. For us as starting entrepreneurs, this cooperation is extremely valuable and helpful.”
At Stibbe, Erik Valgaeren and Carolien Michielsen coordinate this project.
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