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“Sometimes you’re not smart enough on your own”

“Sometimes you’re not smart enough on your own”

Photographer:Fotograaf: Loraine Bodewes

Global Entrepreneurship Week

MAASTRICHT. Oats, nanomedicines, and young entrepreneurs – the kick-off event of the annual Maastricht edition of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) leaves participants with a range of new insights into scientific entrepreneurship.

The GEW was launched on Monday evening at Centre Céramique, engulfed in an uncharacteristically warm hue. Students sporting jeans and blazers flock to the steps in the entrance hall as the room slowly comes alive with entrepreneurial ideas springing from all corners. The atmosphere is inviting; after one too many technical mishaps the host of the evening coyly asks the crowd: “So… does anyone have a good story?”

The speakers include Cristianne Rijcken of Cristal Therapeutics, a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company that develops nanomedicines, and Rickard Öste, founder of Oatly, which promotes healthy and sustainable foods. Both encourage students with entrepreneurial aspirations to seek the advice of others when developing their start-ups. “I learnt early on that sometimes I’m not smart enough on my own”, says Öste, while Rijcken lists the lessons she has learnt on her penultimate presentation slide. Taking to heart the networking opportunity afforded by the GEW, Rijcken also extends a direct invitation to students to approach her about possible internships at her firm.

The GEW, organised annually in the third week of November in 156 countries, is the world’s largest platform for young entrepreneurs to share their ideas, get in touch with potential investors and get acquainted with the world of start-ups. This year’s theme, #iamchange, fits well with the international spirit of Maastricht and aims to motivate participants to “view entrepreneurship with a new pair of eyes”, enabling them to see the global influence they could have. “There’s a unique start-up scene in Maastricht which we hope to inspire, partly by simply facilitating connections”, says Julian Lupescu, Chief Inspiration Officer at the Maastricht Centre for Entrepreneurship, which organised the week.

Amira Eid

GEW Maastricht runs from Monday 14 to Thursday 17 November, with more talks, workshops and networking events scheduled. www.mc4e.nl/gew

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