Laura Kooij is a Biomedical Master student at VU, involved in the Erasmus Student Network and chairwoman of the current Enactus Utrecht board. One of her roommates introduced her to Enactus and after 5 years of doing committee work, she was ready for a change. Enactus is a global, national and local non-profit organization that uses the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better more sustainable world.
Start of entrepreneurial interest
Laura has always been interested in entrepreneurship: at sixteen she won the Innovation Challenge organized by TU Eindhoven and was guided by professionals to create a business from this idea. When starting university, this process took too much of her time and Laura decided to step out. Nevertheless, she did discover something she was really passionate about: entrepreneurial action. It was not until this year that social entrepreneurship caught her eye. When she applied for Enactus, Laura she was not sure yet if she wanted to become part of the part-time board. She decided to apply project member but after a few conversations with the former president, Laura changed her mind and accepted the position. About six months later, she’s still content with the decision.
As president of the board, her main task is to coordinate the board and to support the other team members in their work. According to Laura, her chairman position is pretty varied. One day she’s having meetings with potential partners, the other day she’s at The Office working on a new strategy. The main focus of this year is to professionalize Enactus Utrecht. At the moment, the student board is working on a new partner policy and launching an official alumni network. Alumni are dying to give advice and to support the teams, so why not make use of it? They’re also planning to create a dashboard to measure what the projects have accomplished and what they want to accomplish.
This year the board focusses on improving the foundation of the organization to enable the future generation of bigger and more successful social start-ups. However, it’s not about quantity, but all about quality. In five years, they want Enactus Utrecht to win the world cup instead of the national cup. Although Laura fulfils a more organizational role at Enactus than she expected, she never regretted her decision. Yet she would like to coordinate one of the new projects that are potentially coming up – all other board members already support an Enactus team. That’s how they remain close to all actions and are able to provide new information from Enactus Utrecht or Netherlands.
After finishing her master at the VU, Laura sees herself working at a young startup specialized in health and life sciences. There are many people out there with an innovative idea, but scared to take the next step. Laura would like to elaborate these concepts and introduce them to the market.
On the look for motivated students
Every six months, Enactus Utrecht is looking for new students to fulfil open positions. Just now, the recruitment period is in full swing and they’re looking for motivated students that want to spend 8-10 hours a week on making social impact and working on self-development. Laura appoints that “you never know, if you never try”. Your student period is the time to orientate and to look beyond your own little bubble. You don’t have to be a born entrepreneur, if you’re open to new experiences and motivated to work together on creating social impact, you’ll certainly come a long way.
If you have your own idea for an innovative concept for a new social enterprise, you’re also more than welcome to pitch your idea to the board! For interested (Dutch speaking) students, there is an information event on the 27th of November at the Drift. Besides a general introduction to Enactus, the team captains of all existing projects will pitch their social enterprise and progress. After the presentations, a speed date session will provide you with all the additional info you’re looking for. Visit the Enactus Utrecht Voorlichtingsavond Facebook event page to keep yourself updated! Visit their main Facebook here to read more about the current projects and other activities.