University Fund Wageningen organizes, in collaboration with ANB AMRO, a Young Alumni Event at the ABN AMRO Headquarters.
At this Young Alumni Event at ABN AMRO you will have the opportunity to meet up with fellow young alumni from WUR and final year MSc students at ABN AMRO in Amsterdam.
Two start up companies, GreenFood50 and Tinyfoods, will present a business challenge concerning challenges they face. You as a participant of the event and with your experience will work together in groups to come up with creative ideas and they will present their ideas to a jury. The jury will comment and give feedback to the ideas and the best idea will receive a price.
- Networking possibilities for the participants among each other and with ABN AMRO
- A chance to work on two interesting challenges and receive feedback on your ideas form a jury
18.00 Start of the Young Alumni Event by Pierre Berntsen, Director of Agricultural Enterprises ABN AMRO
18.15 Dr. Ir. Thomas Lans, Assistant Professor WUR
18.30 Start up pitches by GreenFood50 and Tinyfoods
18.45 Break out session for business challenges
19.30 Small dinner with drink and networking possibilities
20.15 Groups will present solutions business challenges to jury
20.45 Feedback and comments by jury
21.15 Closing drink and networking
Thursday 12-01-2017 a novel concept was introduced for alumni: an event specifically focused on recent graduates (< 5 years) and last year MSc students at the WUR. And that was not the only novel aspect about it. This was also the first alumni-event ever organized in the region of Amsterdam, the first event in the Netherlands where English was the spoken language due to the many nationalities present, and it was the first event where it was not simply listening to speakers, but where the attendees actually had to do something: come up with creative and new ideas to tackle specific business challenges for the Wageningen startups Greenfood50 and Tinyfoods.
The evening started with a warm welcome by Thomas at the headquarters of ABN, on the 23rd floor, with a magnificent view over Amsterdam. The venue was chosen as it represents the most sustainable banking building of the world. The building, Het Paviljoen, is being built according to circular building principles, where the focus is not only on more sustainable materials and reducing energy consumption (e.g. by the use of phase change materials), but also with a focus on reducing the number of unnecessary resources used in a building purely for making the building look nice.
The sustainability image is important for ABN. Although they are already in the top 15% of most sustainable banks worldwide, they want to do better. The Wageningen University and its alumni could be of great help for that, and that is also shown that ABN’s policy is to attract employees with the right backgrounds, such as agriculture, as knowledge of the sector is key for having good contact with customers.
Dr. Ir. Thomas Lans, Assistant Professor at the WUR, gave an interesting talk about promoting entrepreneurship. While having a startup himself, he educates with his chair group students on the valorization and commercialization of ideas. Wageningen hosts many students with a green heart, or with a passion for technologies that they got to know, or with a history in entrepreneurship. To get the ball rolling, they provide a minor and even a MSc program on this topic.
To showcase the entrepreneurial spirit in Wageningen, two start-ups were invited to provide our young alumni with specific business challenges they were facing. Greenfood50, a startup that develops, produces and sells locally-grown quinoa ingredients, and wanted to have the help of young alumni to come up with innovative ways to accelerate the market introduction of their quinoa ingredients to grow faster worldwide. The second start-up, Tinyfoods, develops insect-based meal that can be used in the fish farming industry, as a replacement of severely overfished wild fish, and was looking for innovative ways to integrate insect meal in the Atlantic salmon feed chain, while concomitantly setting up a large-scale production facility.
In the end one of the groups focused on the Tinyfoods-challenge won the business challenge, and the entire team won tickets to the ABN AMRO tennis tournament in Rotterdam. Included in the price was as well entrance to the agri-day during the tournament as well, with many further networking opportunities as well!
The startups themselves found the solutions very insightful and useful, and got interesting comments on their businesses, also as a few alumni had deep insights in the industries themselves. After the official program finished, the networking continued for quite some time, under the enjoyable presence of some drinks and beers.