Fontys, © IO
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Turnover of 4.5 million euros in 2017

Report by Petra Merkx, Fontys Bron

The Fontys Student Entrepreneurs Scheme applies to students who want to combine business with a study. This is evident from the figures that the Fontys Centre for Entrepreneurship (Centrum voor Ondernemerschap, CvO) presented to the Executive Board just before the summer holidays. Together, the participants also achieved a good turnover in 2017: almost 4.5 million euros.

So far 230 students have registered with the Fontys Centre for Entrepreneurship. The scheme, which started 2.5 years ago, allows students to do an internship or graduate in their own company. The CvO also helps them with their entrepreneurship. One of the most successful companies that have already emerged from this is the Eindhoven company Flying & Parking.

At the time of the survey, 13 June, there was an increase of more than 70 percent compared to the previous reporting moment, October 2017, which means that 96 applications were received in half a year. At the time of the measurement, 39 students made use of the scheme and fifteen students graduated from it. There were 125 students in the application process, 48 of whom are actually preparing for the screening committee.

‘Best’ customer is the Fontys Academy for Creative Industries in Tilburg. That’s not so strange, says Victor van der Linden of the CvO. “That institute has always paid a great deal of attention to entrepreneurship. We also have a lot of students at Fontys Marketing and Management in Eindhoven.”

New institutions that have discovered the scheme include the Legal Hogeschool, Fontys Hogeschool voor de Kunsten and Fontys Business Management, Education and Technology. “The CvO is not yet that large in terms of staff, we have not yet been able to approach all 27 Fontys schools actively, but that will now happen step by step. And they know how to find us better and better,” says Van der Linden. Since the previous academic year, the regulations have been included in the OER (Education and Examination Regulations).

Recently, there were also a few students who were rejected by the CvO, who were still allowed to continue their own education with their graduation or internship in their own company, without making use of the scheme. “We regret that. It is not without reason that such a student has been rejected. Their business plan may not have been right or they did not have the right entrepreneurial mindset. It’s still a risk,” says Van der Linden.

The ideal of the Fontys Centre for Entrepreneurship is that there are 150 permanent students in the scheme. It means that each academic year would have to be increased by 50. “If we continue in this way, we will achieve it,” says Victor van der Linden.

Van der Linden does not want the CvO to have the exclusive right to supervise student entrepreneurs. “Fontys is, after all, organized decentrally. We will only draw attention to this and make it clear that the CvO is a serious partner. We have the knowledge and facilities in-house.”

The same applies to the HBO Take off Subsidy, a national scheme. “They can apply for training themselves, but we offer our expertise in this area. For example, we can help the students to do a good pitch. This is already happening.”

According to research carried out by the CvO, the ‘SOR students’ are quite successful. Together, they had a turnover of almost 4.5 million euros in 2017, an average of 117,000 euros per company. 40% of student companies already have employees. Also striking is the story of four student entrepreneurs who had already stopped school, but came back because they did dare to study and do business with the scheme.