Ye! Child & Youth Finance International held the Dutch launch of Ye! - an online platform for young entrepreneurs – in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on Wednesday, December 10th . The global platform was launched to an audience of young entrepreneurs, investors, established entrepreneurs and representatives from the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and, the event’s hosts, De Autoriteit Financiële Markten (AFM).
2015 – The Year of the Start-Up
The launch is timely as 2015 is set to be a tipping point for entrepreneurs in the Netherlands with ex-EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes being announced as the Dutch Special Envoy for Start-Ups, and the new law coming into act as of January 1, 2015, which will make it easier for international entrepreneurs to launch their business in the Netherlands.
Entrepreneurs Pitch to Investors
During the event 10 young entrepreneurs from around the world pitched their ventures to investors and key-stakeholders from the Netherlands:
- VACSE: Shadi Al-Hakimi has developed a search engine which searches the content of videos and audio
- I Hate Statistics:Pim Belling will turn your hate for statistics into love
- Bonsum:Frederik Betz makes shopping sustainably easy and rewarding (for the earth and for you)!
- Swapp:Want to swop your jacket for her shoes? Lonneke Boonzaaijer’s interactive app will do just that
- The Dev School: Martha Chelimo is teaching African youth to code and become tech entrepreneurs themselves
- Crystal Shower:Wouter Chömpff wants people to get unlimited shower time with just 1 bucket of water
- Huishuai: Huishuai Li brings Asia from your browser to your door
- Thinking Green: Marwan Ma’som powers street-kiosks in Malaysia with sunshine
- Shoemates: Obaid Rahimi ensures your good fashion choices will benefit a family in need
- FGE Exports: Senai Wolderufael is ensuring that the world gets their kick from ethically sourced Ethiopian coffee
"The AFM supports Ye! due to our commitment to financial education and financial inclusion, and building fair and transparent markets. Young people can bring this change as young entrepreneurs predominantly start businesses which are unlike the old way of doing things – they are new and fair and they...bring a positive change in the world."Annemiek Hoogenboom representing the players of Nationale Postcode Loterij and Energo Foundation, a main sponsor of the Ye! online platform, underlined this socially conscious characteristic which the majority of the young entrepreneurs pitching at the event shared. She highlighted that in her experience young people tend to have more sustainable and socially aware solutions – their ideas are green from the get-go.
Theodor Kockelkoren, AFM Executive Board member.
Duke Urbanik, private investor and YES!Delft strategy coach, heeded this with a warning that the commonality of young entrepreneurs to be hyper socially-conscious may lead them to live in an idealist bubble. For an investor to take notice of a young entrepreneur they have to see an attainable goal. This is where the Ye! coaching platform will be useful to young entrepreneurs as the coaches will hold a mirror up to the entrepreneur and hold them accountable to their goals helping to ensure that they don’t become unrealistic and unattainable.
Mr. Kockelkoren emphasized the important role which Ye! will play in welcoming young entrepreneurs from international markets to the Netherlands, and vice versa. Ms. Hoogenboom echoed the importance of this international platform: “Young people think internationally automatically. If they want to make a difference and earn money then they don’t just think “hey, let’s do this in the Netherlands," they think "hey, let’s do this in the Netherlands, the US, and China!” This is important for the growth of their business and national economies, and Ye!’s international resources makes it easier for them to do this.
Jeroen Roodenburg, the Ambassador for the Private Sector and International Cooperation from the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, announced that they are working closely with the private sector to ensure that the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (to be established in September 2015) will result in the eradication of extreme poverty. In light of this, encouraging investment in young entrepreneurs, especially enterprises in the supply chain which links developing markets to developed ones, is a top priority.
Entrepreneurship Top Tip
Perseverance was the word of the evening, with established and young entrepreneurs alike repeating that their top tip for any budding entrepreneur is to persevere! Gert-Jan van der Hoeven CEO and co-founder of H2 Equity Partners, a leading Western-European hands-on investment firm, shared jokingly that being an entrepreneur is what gave him grey hair but encouraged the young entrepreneurs to ride out the tough times and stick to their guns – it’s all worth it in the end.
Jeroo Billimoria, serial social entrepreneur and Managing Director of Child & Youth Finance International, said that the only reason that Ye! is in existence is because her team believed whole-heartedly in the idea and persevered against all odds.
International Resource Hub
“Ye! will make it so much easier for young entrepreneurs to find the advice and resources that they need” said Angelien Kemna, Chief Finance & Risk Officer of the APG Group, and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Yellow and Blue, a Dutch venture capital firm in the field of renewable energy. She went on to say that “we all need to work together to build up enterprises and economies.”
Ye! will be the biggest online community for young entrepreneurs. It supports entrepreneurs between the age of 16 and 30. By joining the community, they can get in touch with peers and obtain support through sharing knowledge, a free coaching service from international and local experts, and funding opportunities. Young people can use these resources to become more knowledgeable entrepreneurs and grow their business.