Student - June 15, 2010

Students take ideas to the market

Selling lemon grass, distributing vegetables, assigning traineeships in the horse sector. VHL students come up with viable enterprises for the entrepreneurship course.

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A few students were dressed up as strawberries - 'the costumes were leftovers from the carnival' - to publicize their enterprise during the open day in the Forum on Saturday 12 June. A total of thirty stands were manned by first and second year students who presented their business plans.
The talking strawberry belonged to the 'Veggie Van', a little bus which delivers vegetables and fruit from local farmers to consumers and restaurants. 'The Vegetable Van is distinguishable and can be used to distribute products', says Thomas van Rosssum, second year student of Regional Development and Innovation.
Fictional loan
The idea comes from course mate James Mulkerrins from Ireland, where this concept is more common. It appears to be viable too in the Netherlands, if the pilot study by the students is anything to go by. 'Many people and restaurants would accept not only vegetables and fruit, but also eggs and meat.'
The Rabobank, where the students obtained a fictional loan, did see something in the plan. 'But we should start a little bigger, with four buses right away.' However, this remains a plan, as it will be too time-consuming to carry it out, says Thomas.
Survive
A 'hole in the market' is the traineeship and job matching agency for the horse industry, Eqruit. The students involved have serious plans to get this going. 'Research has shown that equestrian enterprises such as riding schools, pensions and trading stables have many job vacancies for instructors, riders and groomers (so-called 'stable boys'). These companies often have so much work that they can only survive by engaging students', says Karlijn Corbran, second year student of Equine, Leisure and Sports.
To find out the extent of the demand, her group contacted several companies. 'These were very positive and would be pleased if they didn't have to take care of such matters themselves.'
Most work
The job matching applies to students in secondary vocational education (MBO), as well as those in higher professional education (HBO) and university education (WO). Karlijn thinks that mbo-ers, in particular, would need to go further. 'You can't be cleaning stables till you are 65. Jobs are also available in the secondary and the tertiary sectors, such as event organization offices and wholesalers specialized in horses.'
Job matching agency Eqruit will be set up for real. 'Something like this isn't found in the sector yet', Karlijn says. Two of the six students in her group - a Dutch and a German - will take the plans further. 'We also want to be in Germany where most of the work is.'

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