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Jornt de Boer, Founded in Friesland: We prepare students to become actual entrepreneurs

Date:20 April 2022
Jornt de Boer
Jornt de Boer

Jornt de Boer is tremendously excited about his job in Founded in Friesland, where he is supporting Frisian pre-startups with workshops, events and growth programs.
In the interview, learn about cooperation between Founded in Friesland and MSc. Sustainable Entrepreneurship, and how it helps the students to get a taste of the real world.

Tell a little about yourself and Founded in Friesland

In Founded in Friesland we are a startup ecosystem that helps students to become entrepreneurs, specifically startup entrepreneurs. What I do at Founded Friesland is help with business development to future founders, mostly students that are highly ambitious and want to become entrepreneurs.  

In what ways do you cooperate with MSc. Sustainable Entrepreneurship?

The Sustainable Entrepreneurship programme is relatively young, and when they prepared their first iteration they contacted us telling us they had a lot of students who wanted to become entrepreneurs.  And though they knew a lot about the theory, but not that much about the actual hands-on approach so that is where the cooperation with Founded in Friesland came in handy. That’s how we introduced the startup framework, where within seven workshops we take students from not having an idea to pitching it at the final event. The next stage is the student startup competition of Friesland Enterprijs, where a winning team will receive  2500 euro for further development of their idea.

Could you share some success stories from the startup competition?

Last year one of the contestants with the project on circular furniture went on to the Enterprijs and indeed made it to the finals. Sadly they didn’t win, but came second or third. And they went on to our customer discovery courses from Founded in Friesland, a programme where we help participants to find their actual customers. Currently there are two startups in that programme and I think it’s a huge success. We also have one of the entrepreneurs who is quite successful right now and that is Jeroen Dijkestra and his startup Pottle. He has been through the programme as well. What we try to achieve with the Sustainable Startup Academy is to prepare students to become actual entrepreneurs and not only researchers. However, there’s still a lot of research involved, for instance during the course we expect them to do at least 150 interviews. Usually it ends up to be 10, but we like to be ambitious. We aim to give them a realistic view of how the world is going to be out there, to teach them hands-on approach, not only writing but also talking to people and getting out there and doing the stuff that people are usually not so keen to do.

How can students best prepare for transition from studies to their future career?

Participating in as many extracurricular activities as you can find. It depends on your interest of course, but usually there is a lot to be found even in the relatively small city of Leeuwarden. There are so many things organized for students on entrepreneurship, circularity, a lot of young professional collabs that come together and get you involved. Network is the key, so make sure to build yours and get introduced. Everybody is looking for people right now so I think it should be rather easy to get a job, even your first one. 

Learn more about Sustainable Startup Academy