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Catalyzing Ecosystem Innovation

The iGEM Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of synthetic biology, education and competition, and the development of an open community and collaboration.

iGEM’s main program is the iGEM Competition, an annual, world wide synthetic biology event aimed at undergraduate university students, as well as high school and graduate students. The iGEM Competition gives students the opportunity to push the boundaries of synthetic biology by tackling everyday issues facing the world. iGEM teams work inside and outside the lab, creating sophisticated projects that strive to create a positive contribution to their communities and the world. Every year nearly 6,000 people dedicate their summer to iGEM and then come together in the fall to present their work and compete at the annual Giant Jamboree.

The iGEM Competition is an engine for LifeScience innovation fueled by the worlds most ambitious students. However, due to the transient nature of the competition and the barriers-of-entry in converting the students projects into startups, many projects were discontinued. In 2019, NBV got involved in the design, committee recruitment and facilitation of the iGEM Entrepreneurship Program & Innovation Community (EPIC). Today EPIC hosts 30 new iGEM-based startups annually and supports them in developing their business cases, gain access to mentors and a network of VCs and incubators such as YCombinator. The program has allowed the iGEM Foundation gain a stronger foothold in the global startup ecosystem whilst offering its student participants the opportunity to create their own startups and solve some of the worlds biggest challenges.

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