The academic year started off full of expectations at Wittenborg's new location in Amsterdam this week. With the arrival of its students from 8 different nationalities, the IBA in Entrepreneurship & Small Business promises to be a truly international experience and everyone involved is brimming with excitement.
The opening of Wittenborg Amsterdam makes it possible “to offer students an environment in which they can realize dreams, which could range from starting a company to having a career at an entrepreneurial company,” says the Dean of Amsterdam, Timo Timmerman. “Amsterdam is a city that embraces the diversity needed to build a successful company. Here, students can connect to the chain that creates, produces and sells worldwide, especially online. And, of course, it’s a great place to have fun, live, work and study.”
They also enjoyed a crash course in improvisation and other bonding activities. This prelude to “a real introduction to startup life”, as Timmerman likes to call the entrepreneurial course, proved a great experience to the students.
On Wednesday, the group met up for the second edition of their Coffee & Muffins sessions - an informal get-together where everyone takes turns in bringing along
a cookie typical of the country they hail from. It was also an opportunity to hear what some of the students thought of their first experiences at Wittenborg Amsterdam. Coen van Hees said: “The first lesson week was very interesting with lots of new cool subjects.”
With his enrollment, Coen is seizing the opportunity to bring things learned at Wittenborg into play. Born and raised in Amsterdam, he has a web and app development business, appropriately named AMS Design. He and his best friend “always had a goal to set up a company,” says Coen. “Seven months ago we decided to start it up. At Wittenborg, I am hoping to gain more knowledge about running a business and expand my company.”
Fellow student Eric Kyere is on his part ambitiously looking forward to setting up his own business in his home country in the future: “Wittenborg seemed like a good opportunity for me.” Albeit not a newcomer to the Dutch capital, Eric was one three years ago. Originally from Ghana, he only moved to the Netherlands with his two sisters eight years following his parents. His grandfather, he says, was the real entrepreneur in the family.
Totally fresh to Amsterdam is Norwegian Magnus Andersen, who only arrived Tuesday. His first impression is “in one word: diverse. It’s different and
at the same time fulfilling”. Prior to enrolling at Wittenborg Amsterdam, Magnus had worked for four years. “My old boss was running things a bit different than I would do. So I thought: I could beat him at his own game. But entrepreneurship is not the same. So I just want to learn and take it all in. Maybe after the course I can start a business in the Netherlands or back in Norway.”
Timmerman is certain the students' expectations will be met. “They will be challenged to come up with creative ideas and start building a business plan. For example, they will be given real-life assignments by external companies during 'Apprentice'-style weeks. During the course, we will bring the students into contact with existing startups and at the same time offer the theory needed to build an economically healthy company.”
Timmerman adds: “It is great to be part of Wittenborg. Not only because the university has students and staff from over 70 countries, but also because its owners are entrepreneurs themselves, which adds a lot of value to our entrepreneurial programme.”
by Glynis Kromopawiro