The new entrepreneur
Last year new entrepreneur, Adriaan de Bolle from Belgium, after studying a Masters of Science in Chemical Technology at the KU Leuven and quitting his job as a chemical civil engineer, decided it was time to gain experience and skills from an international company to perfect his IT skills.
His business idea was inspired by the current superficial approach of various mobile applications to connect people. UNBLND objective is to help people meet others with similar interests and in the same location without pictures. To do so, the app will suggest groups based on your preferences.
The perfect match
As he says “being an entrepreneur is networking, listening to others, getting feedback and translating this all in a stronger concept”. So he decided to join this programme to learn from others and to build partnerships to make a stronger base in not only Belgium but also other countries. He needed to gain the IT skills he lacked and to gain some experience running an online business, so working at Graaggedaan, an e-commerce platform to gather artisanal shops to buy online local products, was the perfect match for Adriaan.
From day one Adriaan had a lot of responsibility at Graaggedaan. The company was expanding internationally so he worked on a project to smoothen the onboarding process of new clients on graaggedaan. Host entrepreneur Maxim was looking for someone willing to visit different subsidiaries across Europe and to analyse the business process within the organisation to decide how it can be improved with new technology. Adriaan travelled around Europe showing bakers and butchers in Europe the advantages of the e-commerce platform that Graaggedaan and automated the recruitment process by adding new features within the existing platform to make the customer support more efficient.
During the exchange, Adriaan learned more about clean coding and frameworks used to build a scalable digital platform working as a software engineer in a fast-growing international environment, exactly the IT skills he was lacking to run his own digital platform.
Before the programme, his project was based on an IT project with little market perspective. Working with Maxim helped him decide on the marketing actions needed to boost UNBLND upon launch, for that purpose they had brainstorm sessions and frequent feedback sessions.
Nowadays, he feels ready to market internationally his own business. By working on an international project, both entrepreneurs have gained country-specific knowledge that can be applied to their own business. Adriaan is a firm believer that being abroad always enlightens and opens your mind.
According to them, “this programme is the perfect opportunity for entrepreneurs to find people who match their own business needs, benefit from on-the-job-training and to gain the necessary skills to run their own company”.
Adriaan de Bolle (Belgium)
Hotel, restaurant, tourism, travel services and wellness
“It is great to be part of an international growing business. Graaggedaan is part of a bigger successful group that will scale globally. I learned a lot from all the employees in various departments. They gave feedback, even criticized, pushing me to achieve more.”
Maxim Sergeant (Netherlands)
IT, office and communication equipment, services and supplies
“Adriaan has a unique talent of self-development, which allowed him to add profound value to our business in a short period of time. The program really boosts the exchange of high-level insights.”