Voorzitter College van Bestuur
I am frequently asked what I think about students becoming entrepreneurs, for example in the context of HOPE. Here’s what I usually say:
- entrepreneurs are the engine of our economy. They secure progress and prosperity for the world. Without entrepreneurs we would not have transport, logistics, high tech, energy or service sectors in our country. Without entrepreneurs we would have much less to spend on health care or education. Entrepreneurs are essential for the future of the world.
- entrepreneurs can start young: with a bicycle repair service in school, or a small trade business while in college. It is important that everyone develops entrepreneurial skills, whether or not you make this your choice career. Drive, ambition, thinking big, the ability to get things done, the ability to see beyond problems and to find solutions against the odds, and stamina are all usefull skills to develop. They will serve you well in any career.
- most of the time, entrepreneurs are fun people to have around. They never take no for an answer, they have unbridled energy and imagination, they are very resourceful and creative. They bring things into this world which weren’t there before. And sometimes they are a pain in the backside, but aren’t we all?
- a university education is an ideal training ground to experiment with entrepreneurial pursuits. Working alone or together with your friends, you can make mistakes and try again. You have HOPE to support you, what more do you want?
- I was a social entrepreneur for 2 years before joining Erasmus University. That is, I re-invested all my profits into projects supporting social cohesion. I tremendously enjoyed the energy of achieving a vision, the creativity and the autonomy involved in building something new from scratch. What I found challenging is the loneliness of facing challenges without a professional support structure. You have to be very self-sufficient in the first months or years. But I would recommend it to anyone, even if it is just for the thrill and challenge of exploring uncharted territory.
Pauline van der Meer Mohr is president of the Executive Board and is responsible for general administrative matters, such as the relationship with the Board of Trustees and the University Council. She focuses on the strategic policy, international affairs and external contacts, including the Rotterdam region, industry and other knowledge institutions.