Even on a Shoestring Budget, Starting a Business in the Netherlands is Possible, says Those Who Did It
Wittenborg Hosts Webinar for Students on Starting a Business in the Netherlands
If you are an international student or newly graduated, starting a business in the Netherlands offers an alternative to searching for a job. This option was unpacked in a recent webinar hosted by Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences for current and prospective students. Many of them already has lots of business ideas. The webinar was facilitated by Yanti Setiawan, Wittenborg's Manager Admissions & External Relations, who presented the basics of registering a business as well as other howto's and pitfalls to look out for.
The Dutch government has made entrepreneurship relatively easy. Did you know for instance, that you can register a business at the Chamber of Commerce for a mere €51,30? Wittenborg invited current international student, Bishal Bhandari, to share his experience of running a business as photographer, videographer and graphic designer. Also invited was Wittenborg alumnus, Anesca Smith, whose company African Design Collective aims to connect African designers and makers with global buyers.
Conservation Specialist Enlightens Wittenborg Students on Value of Involving Local Communities in Conservation Efforts
Conservation specialist Joshua Wambugu recently shared his expertise with bachelor's degree students at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences, drawing their attention to the importance of community-based conservation (CBC) as the road to sustainable tourism development. Even stronger, he argues for putting local community involvement at the centre of conservation.
Wambugu hails from Kenya – East Africa's strongest economy where eco-tourism plays a big part in the country's flourishing service industry. He used that country's conservation efforts as an example. The class he was teaching was on Sustainable Tourism Management to students doing a bachelor's in Hospitality Business Administration.
Wambugu has more than a decade's work experience in sustainable tourism and conservation. Currently he is a PhD candidate at the Marine Animal Ecology Group of one of the Netherlands' top-ranked institutions, Wageningen University.
Aside from affirming the need to put community involvement at the centre of conservation efforts, Wambugu also emphasised the broad objectives of CBC to enhance wildlife and biodiversity conservation while providing economic incentives for local people. "Their involvement creates a ‘social licence or contract’ in attaining success for conservation projects in terms of local support and trust. The unwritten contract is achieved through a meaningful and trust-based dialogue where locals feel satisfied that their views and expectations are understood and considered. Lack of involvement and ineffective relationship means the success may be compromised.
After Studying Online for Months in Home Country, Master's Student Finally Makes It to Netherlands
A master's student at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences, hailed in her home country of Iran for her portraits of Down syndrome children, hopes to continue with her art of those on the fringes of society now that she is studying in the Netherlands.
Farnoosh Dabirimovahed came to the Netherlands in October of 2020 to continue her studies at Wittenborg's campus in Apeldoorn after already starting online in May of that year. She is doing an MBA in Hospitality Management. Before moving abroad, Dabirimovahed was director of the language department at a large petrochemical concern in Iran and an English teacher. She has a bachelor's degree in English translation – a handy qualification that she uses to teach English online while COVID-19 is keeping many people around the world indoors at the moment.
Dabirimovahed, who has five exhibitions under her belt, started drawing portraits of Down syndrome children a few years ago. She was taken by surprise when she realised how touched people were and all her work quickly sold out.
"I actually under-priced them in the beginning because I was not sure how they would be received. Many of my clients were doctors and medical staff. When I was still a little girl, I would walk home from school and we would pass an institute for Down syndrome children, so I went to that same institute to take photos of my subjects and then draw them."
End of an Era: Brexit Spells End of Wittenborg's Teaching Collaboration with UK Partner University of Brighton
Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences' long-standing delivery partnership with the University of Brighton in the UK is coming to an end. Wittenborg's President, Peter Birdsall, has indicated that the partnership, of joint programme delivery, has become unsustainable as a result of Brexit.
Birdsall, said in a statement that as a result of Brexit the "difficulties and administration of running jointly delivered programmes in the Netherlands are too great for the relationship to remain a success".
The good news is that Wittenborg is now offering its own Master of Science (MSc) degree programme called a Master of Business Management, also specialised in the 4 areas that the 'Brighton degrees' have been focussed on: hospitality, tourism, events and sports business. The MBM programme is accredited by the Dutch Flemish Accreditation Organisation (NVAO), and also offers 4 pathways in international business.
For a long time, it has been uncertain how Brexit would affect Wittenborg's partnership with Brighton, but clarity on the matter was given on Friday. "The ending of this partnership for delivery of programmes in the Netherlands will not affect the development of Wittenborg or its students and staff in any significant way," Birdsall assured stakeholders.
Many highlights and successes
"The partnership lasted for a long period of time and had many enjoyable and successful moments. Wittenborg is glad to say that many of the teaching staff involved in the programmes from the University of Brighton have stayed in touch and will continue to do so."
Empathy - the Zeitgeist of Today
The word ‘empathy’ has become some kind of cultural zeitgeist - which means the spirit or mood of today’s generation, especially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This common buzzword is often mentioned and discussed in schools, workplaces, even corporate boardrooms and more so now in hospitals and government offices. But what is empathy really and why does it matter?
Empathy is the ability to feel what another person feels. Some people consider it as an important pathway to kindness, and kindness is one of the pillars of humanity. How can you be kind to somebody if you do not feel for that person, or you do not experience what that person is going through? Schools across the world are teaching empathy to students and a myriad of research has been carried out to delve deeper into its meaning.
Empathy is climbing in someone's skin and walking around in it
The base of empathy is the ability to step into someone else’s skin and walk around in it. Only then can you feel how that person feels and imagine how that person lives or has lived. As Atticus Finch said to his daughter, Scout, in the book “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… until you climb in his skin and walk around in it.” This is so true in this modern life where many individuals share their (sad or happy) stories on social media platforms and in return receive criticisms, sarcastic remarks, sniggering, denigrations and derogative comments, instead of empathy and sympathies.
Executive Coach, Hamid Safaei, Inspires Students with Business Acumen
Top executive coach Hamid Safaei, who has led successful business transformations for a number of Fortune Global 500 companies, guest lectured at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences this week, talking to bachelor’s and master’s students about what to consider when designing organisation structures.
Safaei is best known for mentoring on leadership and personal development. In addition, he is the CEO and founder of Aubergini – a new, plant-based food company based in the Netherlands – as well as bestselling author and certified executive coach who helps leaders, senior managers and budding entrepreneurs multiply their results by taking their companies to the next level.
His lecture at Wittenborg was a mixture of personal experience, both on a private and business level, as well as challenging students to examine their own thoughts on the ideal organisational structure. Many cited examples from high-flying companies like Google, WeWork, Amazon, Apple and Netflix.
Safaei, who is originally from Iran, came to the Netherlands 20 years ago, but says it took him 7 years to really feel like the Netherlands was his home. "Every week I planned to pack my bags. Then a switch turned in my mind and I learned to love the place I am in – which is now one of my mottos."
Meet the needs of your employees
Safaei said in deciding the organisational structure you have to meet the needs of the people who work there. "You have to connect the structure with the human element and give people room to develop and exercise a level of freedom. If the structure is too rigid, it will not work. Freedom is the most cherished human value. We die gradually if we don’t like the place where we work. That freedom is very important."
Millions Set to Get Vaccinated in the Netherlands in Coming Months, including International Students
As the Netherlands Start Vaccinating, What does that Mean for Education at Wittenborg?
Now that the Netherlands has started its vaccination programme, what does that mean for education at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences in the coming weeks and in the long-term? A recent survey among students and staff has shown that the majority of them are in favour of taking the vaccine.
Top class healthcare system in the Netherlands
The Dutch government rolled out its COVID-19 vaccination programme on Wednesday with millions set to get the jab in the next few months. The Netherlands is known for its excellent health care system, consistently ranked highly in Europe (2nd behind Switzerland in 2018), and the government has been meticulous in first setting up a proper roadmap and getting infrastructure in place before embarking on vaccination – even though it meant being the last country in the EU to start. Experts have been quick to point out that its not about how quickly the vaccination programme is started, but how effective and efficient it is.
2-year Erasmus+ Project Receives Grant from EU
Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences has been awarded the task by the European Commission to head and coordinate research on 'Eco-Systems of Open Science Schooling'. The 2-year Erasmus+ project, which received an EU grant of more than EUR 250,000, started in October 2020 and is expected to be completed by September 2022.
The main aim of the project is to encourage “open schooling” where schools, in cooperation with other stakeholders, become an agent of community well-being. According to Commission 2015, Science Education for Responsible Citizenship, families are encouraged to become real partners in school life and activities, while professionals from enterprises, civil and wider society should be actively involved in bringing real-life projects into the classrooms. To make open science schooling a reality, the Commission recommends schools have "permanent and sustainable access to real-life and real-time science resources (locally and globally) for students and teachers to tap into". This works if the agents in the eco-systems make available the basic resources, infrastructures and collaboration to schools and students to help them conduct and accomplish science missions.
Wittenborg Research Confirms Efficacy of Homework Support
Wittenborg's campus in Amsterdam was recently commissioned to investigate the effect of a homework support programme on the academic performance of schoolchildren in G Noord, statistically one of the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods of the Bijlmer area of Amsterdam. (Read the previous article here). Buurt Talent Ontwikkeling (BTO), a social enterprise, provides homework support to pupils in Amsterdam Southeast whose parents lack financial resources or skills. BTO encompasses the spirit of vision-driven social entrepreneurship by providing a platform for youth talent development. This made it an interesting business case study for Wittenborg students.
The research was led by Senior Lecturers Amy Abdou, Dr Dadi Chen and Andreas Ooijer. Students from Wittenborg's Amsterdam campus were also involved in the research design, literature review, interview process and data analysis. The research findings confirmed the efficacy of the homework support given by BTO. By measuring the pre- and post-study advice of pupils exiting primary education, the team was able to correlate participation in the BTO programme with a rise in final 'studie advice', the recommendations for a pupil's next step for secondary school. The findings also revealed that BTO pupils are more likely to receive recommendations for Senior General Secondary Education (HAVO) or Pre-University Education (VWO) compared to the average student in the neighbourhood.
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