Making entrepreneurship more accessible with UtrechtInc Students
Kristof Fellegi is a second-year Business Informatics master student and the past 1.5 years, Kristof was part of the UtrechtInc Students board, a task force that aspires to make entrepreneurship more accessible for students in Utrecht.
Tell me a bit about yourself. Were you always interested in entrepreneurship?
I studied Music as a child and I ended up being a full-time musician for a while. It was my first entrepreneurial experience where I learned how to start up a project and pursue it. Soon, I wanted to end the crazy non-stop travelling nightlife lifestyle and learn new things so I decided to transform into a data scientist. Currently, I am working on my own startup called KonJoin, where we build a research platform based on interactive and searchable database. We help universities to gain new insights about all their ongoing research projects, so our database should give an effective overview of their work. It is already getting some traction!
Why is there a student board at UtrechtInc?
It is all about spreading the word and to get students in contact with entrepreneurship. We do that mostly by organizing events, such as Startup24 and USP Student Challenge. These are short programs where students work on real life cases and real life solutions. Our yearly Internship market connects companies and ambitious students. Next to that, we try to be present at as many UU-events as possible to share our enthusiasm about entrepreneurship with interested students. Too many students are not aware that there are plenty of entrepreneurial programs they can attend, even if they do not come from an Economic background. UtrechtInc, an Uithof-based incubator with accessibility to co-working spaces and acceleration programs, initiated it and formed the board to reach more students.
Too many students are not aware that there are plenty of entrepreneurial programs they can attend, even in their own faculty
Do you think that entrepreneurship is essential in students’ careers?
Definitely. It is important for changing the mindset. Thinking outside the box, perseverance, taking more risks, being your own owner - all certain skills you develop when taking entrepreneurial action. In the US and Canada there is a significant higher number of students that are exposed to entrepreneurship. It leads to students who are thinking in a more innovative and solution-oriented way. The situation here in Holland is completely different, low amounts of students are attending entrepreneurial courses. Changing that should make a great difference.
How would you like to see entrepreneurship in daily university curriculum?
There’s no easy or clear way to answer that. Of course, there is a lack of entrepreneurial courses available so that needs to be changed. UU Centre for Entrepreneurship initiated a special interest group for teachers to think of different ways to teach entrepreneurship, so that is one step in the right direction. Other good initiatives are for example initiated by Leendert de Bell. In his courses, students have to form teams and work out their own startup idea. Good things are happening, but entrepreneurship still needs more visibility at UU.
What are future plans for the student board?
We just formed a new board – so it is up to them now! Last year, we made the decision to hire ambassadors from each faculty to help with events and some of them are now part of the new team. The student board is free to incorporate their ideas in the upcoming year. We are still there to help, but it is their turn now. Some old events will return, but hopefully new events will be initiated. I am definitely looking forward to see what the new board will achieve next year!