Erik, it’s great to have you on board for the upcoming Youth Global Forum in Amsterdam this year. This will be the first time introducing you to our audience so please tell us a little bit about yourself?
Of course, happy to do so. And thank you to the Youth Global Forum for coming to Amsterdam this year. I am running the Startup Incubator for universities and academic hospitals in Amsterdam where we focus on science & technology. Three years ago we also created our own cool and dynamic location at the Science Campus: Startup Village. The university has become my natural professional habitat. Working with the brightest young minds is a pleasure every day. I have always been involved around creating new things and finding ways to make them last.
What attracted you to join the YT Family and become a part of the Youth Global Forum this year?
What I like about YT is the positive and entrepreneurial mindset of the people. The activities you offer, I believe, are very important for young people to be able to explore opportunities, create new ideas for a better world and learn about the importance of respect and diversity.
Through your work at the Amsterdam Start-Up Village and ACE Incubators, you get a up-close look at young entrepreneurs and new innovative start-ups day in and day out; What are some of the qualities that a young entrepreneur has to possess to compete and succeed in the world today?
It’s all about the right mind-set. Follow your passion, don’t be afraid to fail, but don’t give up too easily. If you have an idea that you believe in, execute it and try it in real life. If it works out then collect a diverse group of people around you that will provide feedback and network. You need to be persevering and able to adapt to changing circumstances.
As you are aware, the Youth Global Forum will host it’s annual Projects Competition to give several initiatives around a chance to win a host of prizes including funding, internships to leading businesses and scholarships to international universities. How important will this opportunity be for the aspiring entrepreneurs that will come to showcase their projects in Amsterdam this year?
Very important. By creating exposure for your project on stage and tapping into networks that are unknown you will find opportunities to bring the project to the next level. It is also a great learning place on how to present, validate and execute your ideas.
Finally, what is one piece of advice that you want to share with those attending the Youth Global Forum; to help them prepare for what is to come in Amsterdam?
Amsterdam has a mature ecosystem and people are very willing to help. So: prepare your visit and try to find people beforehand that can help your project and that you need to speak to while in Amsterdam.