The Get Started programme provides you with a network of experienced entrepreneurs, investors and experts. Our 60+ coaches are the backbone of the programme, providing you with inspiring feedback on your startup. They will teach you all the tips and tricks of the startup world, giving valuable advice to develop your business idea.
“The wide variety of coaches at the Get Started program offered a great opportunity to discuss my ideas with experienced entrepreneurs, from very different backgrounds. It wasn’t about the answers; it was about thinking differently.” – Mark Stoutjesdijk, alumni 2016
Curious to see what kind of coaches are involved in the Get Started programme? Meet three of our Get Started coaches! Introducing Berry Tanis, Pascal Brekelmans and Chris van der Hagen. All three of them have been dedicated to the programme since the very first beginning in 2014. Now, they’ve teamed up and started their own startup together: Fixer!
Berry is a full-time entrepreneur since 2003 (Cofounder of NewVOC). Berry has been involved in ECE and Get Started since 2013.
Berry, can you tell me why you wanted to become a coach for the Get Started programme?
‘I’ve always enjoyed having inspiring conversations with young ambitious people. It’s satisfactory to be able to return something to the startup ecosystem and to help out wherever needed. It’s always a new adventure where you jump from pivot to pivot’.
What is the main advice you give to early-stage entrepreneurs?
‘In the early stage, it is way more important to talk to customers than to try and convince investors. The only logical financing is a customer who is happy and who pays the bills. Less funding, more business!’
How do you suggest they do that?
‘Rotterdam is the ultimate city with an environment where people act and just do it: so bring in customers! Therefore, it is very important to have a good team, and it is also more fun! However, finding a team is sometimes hard to come by.’
‘Get Started is the eminent programme that gets you through the starting phase step by step.’
‘What is your contribution to the entrepreneurs, as their coach?’
Once people join the programme, we make sure they always end up with useful insights. Whether it is a successful startup or not, we will help them to figure out what they want and should do. This can have several outputs: Whether they have a number of customers and sales, or they find out that their current idea does not work and continue with something new. They also might find out that they are better of being employed rather than being a business owner.’
Pascal has been involved in – and a founder of – many startups, amongst others in the US. Together with his wife, he founded his own clothing label, Dante6. After two months of surfing and relaxing on the beach, he decided to return the favour and share his knowledge about entrepreneurship. He started coaching Get Started to meet new interesting fellow entrepreneurs and coaches and to start practicing business again.
Pascal, what do you like most about being a coach?
‘I especially like the flow of new energy it gives me; all startup entrepreneurs have a certain spirit in which they are so enthusiastic about their idea that nothing can stop them. I try to help prevent them from making the same mistakes, and I sets goals with the participants to make sure they make as much progress as they can.’
‘It’s good to be a part of a programme where you receive so much energy and inspiring ideas from young entrepreneurs and your fellow experienced coaches.’
What would be your main take-away for startups?
‘One of the most important entrepreneurial skills is to get out of the building! Next to that, you have to keep in mind that entrepreneurship is a journey where everything can either be great, or fail miserably. You have to be open to that risk if you want to be a successful entrepreneur.’
How can you, as a coach, prevent them from failing?
‘All of the participants are intelligent, however, statistically spoken: most startups fail. The coaches are here to help create the path to success and to bring a bit of peace and structure in that process. It is extremely valuable to teach some basic soft skills about how to think and act as an entrepreneur.’
Christian van der Haagen
Chris has worked for multinationals for over 20 years. He moved back to the Netherlands in 2013 after being abroad for 24 years and has been an entrepreneur since 2002. He now helps businesses to accelerate to the next level and is always interested in giving the startup ecosystem new impulses. Therefore, he has been a mentor in different startup programmes: Startup Bootcamp, YES!Delft and UtrechtINC. He ended up in the Get Started programme because he is an alumnus of the Erasmus University and wanted to give something back to the place where he learned everything himself.
Chris, what do you like most about being a part of the Get Started programme?
‘Both the Get Started participants and the coaches are motivated to make this programme a great success. Every year there are new improvements; better ideas, better structure, more involvement of coaches and above all: a thriving ecosystem.’
And your best piece of advice?
‘It’s important to find a niche in the market with a problem-solution fit, where you can make money. Besides, the best practice is for startups to actually hold on to the help of coaches’.
And now they have teamed up and decided to start another new business together!
Can you tell us something about Fixer?
Pascal: Yes! Fixer is the Worlds’ first social lifestyle shopping & trading platform where people can earn money with their lifestyle. We believe in the power of social media and passionate consumers. Receive inspiration from your personal lifestyle advisors (FIXERS), connect direct with world-class lifestyle brands, be the first to buy or assist in launching limited edition products & services to friends, family & followers and start earning extra money yourself!
Do you still see any challenges ahead, starting a brand new startup?
Berry: Well, since this idea doesn’t exist anywhere yet – there is no frame of reference. However, we have been speaking to larger firms and they are all interested in cooperating. We’ve already tested the concept at multiple companies and social media channels are also enthusiastic!
So what steps are yet to take?
Pascal: We are looking at crowdfunding possibilities with Symbid, but we might wait until the MVP is ready. This month the first alpha version will be tested and improved. All we need now is perfect execution!
Do you need coaching and a network of experts in various areas? Get Started today! We offer two special tracks for health innovators and sustainable business ideas that contribute to the circular economy.