28 March 2019

Masterclass U-Talent: Changing the world with Social Entrepreneurship

How can entrepreneurs compete in the market and include other players in their pursuit of a better world? These and other questions were discussed during U-Talent’s Masterclass about Social Entrepreneurship on the 26th of March. Students from 5 VWO were invited to participate and learn more about business models and the dilemmas social entrepreneurs face.

Academic Director of UU’s Centre for Entrepreneurship, Niels Bosma, co-organized the masterclass. The day started with a mini-lecture about social entrepreneurship and circular business models, but soon it was time to take a walk along social enterprises in the city center of Utrecht. At Syr and The Colour Kitchen, the students were given the opportunity to ask questions about social entrepreneurship and to take a look inside the restaurant’s kitchen.

A short walk led the high school students to the Social Impact Factory, where Laurien from Kromkommer was waiting for them to tell their story. Kromkommer fights for ‘equal rights’ for fruits and vegetables: They are committed to reduce the waste of crooked fruits and vegetables and want people to look differently at the quality of these products. Some critical questions were asked about if it’s realistic to see crooked and straight fruits and vegetables as equivalent. The students were already in the entrepreneurial mindset and tried to think along with Kromkommer about a possible solution.

The students then got challenged to go out on the streets and do market research for the social issue they were interested in. Sem, one of the students, did research about the opinion on being served by refugees and ex-prisoners. She was inspired by the restaurants she visited earlier that day. Syr mentioned that mainly left-wingers visited their restaurant, but wanted to change this. Quite a complicated issue to do research on... Without being discouraged, Sem and her team approached passers-by to question them about their opinions and political preference. Luckily most of the questioned persons were so kind to cooperate. The day ended with short presentations on the findings of all students at MindSpace Utrecht.

The students kept asking in-depth questions throughout the day and and listened with interest to all the stories. Will these students become the social entrepreneurs of the future? Will there be a new Elon Musk in their midst? Who knows. In any case, it was a successful and informative day for all.