Think and act beyond your boundaries
Interview with Benjamin Schriel from B-Yours, by Loek Zanders
Before attending university, I was already interested in entrepreneurship and building a business of my own. My parents have always encouraged it. At my high school, together with some friends, I used to organize parties. We would rent a location, book a DJ and sell tickets to all our friends.
In the first year of my university program I joined the Company Programme. It was a fantastic experience: the program entailed setting up the company from the very beginning and developing an innovative product. The company I set up with my fellow students developed the CookingClip, a clip that prevents a cooking pan to overboil and helps with draining the pan. In the end, we managed to reach the national finals of a competition and beat about a thousand other teams. Through the competition, we were encouraged to think and act beyond our boundaries, both in terms of company planning and meeting lots and lots of new people.
When the program was over, together with one of my teammates, I decided to continue with the company and worked on developing the current product and create more products. We completely redesigned the CookingClip and its currently being produced in Italy. Also, the product will be sold in various stores all across the Netherlands. Our goal is to keep growing, and sell multiple types of products in other European countries.
Although I’m still a student, I am working for the company every day. Probably more than I am and should be studying. The company makes me feel proud, that’s why I love working on our products so much.
What impressed me most about the JA programme, were the inspiring events, the large network of other businesses and the smooth transition to the continuing working on the company after the program has ended. The events and networking really helped us in developing valuable relationships and receiving continuous feedback on our activities.
The program really made me think about my future. What do I want? Which career path do I want to pursue? What skills am I good and? And also: which not? Also, the program taught me to be creative and persevere. Everything is possible. All ideas which come to mind are possible to create: it’s about investing time and energy and continue where other people would have stopped. It’s not necessarily about the idea, it’s about your actions.
During the program, I got to know myself better. Working in a team really emphasizes and improved collaboration skills. I learned how to get multiple people in a team on the same page. Another thing I learned is, in my opinion the most entrepreneurial skills, continuing after failure and learning from mistakes. Create a visions and stick to it, at all cost.
One tip I would like to share with other future or current JA students, is about the product we created. In the beginning, we focussed a lot on the product itself and tried to make it perfect. Of course, it is important to create a great product, but that should not be the goal. It’s more important to start selling as soon as you can, as you will get very valuable feedback from the people you are trying to serve: real customers.