International students: Start up your own business!

Holland is the perfect country to become an entrepreneur while studying! The startup scene is thriving and there are opportunities everywhere. As an international student, you are in the perfect situation to take advantage of this. Based on my experiences with international students, I’ll tell you why that is.

Posted by Carolina Barría at Aug 22, 2017 03:45 PM

1. The Dutch system

Historically Holland is a trading country. The Dutch government encourages and facilitates the legal process, making it easier for anyone to set up a business. You will have to gain information about the Dutch system and the procedure to follow. Most information is available in English and gives you the basics you need to enter the world of entrepreneurship.

2. You have resources galore

You don't need to have a business degree to start your own business, nevertheless it does help. When you're on a college campus, professors are filled with knowledge and experience to help you. The free consulting professors can answer all the questions you might have about starting a business. In taking the first steps to start your own enterprise, this is the best you can wish for: experts! So make sure you take advantage of the knowledge of the professors and mentors you have at your fingertips.

3. The built-in network and support

When you're a college student, peers of your same 'university breed' surround you. If you've ever been to any kind of large school event, you'll witness a sea of students uniting behind one thing, which is pretty amazing. It doesn't matter if you know each other or not, students want people at their university to succeed and do great things.

4. Student body

Your first big market is the student body at your university. Those students can tell their friends and family about your company. Plus, college students are more likely to use social media for anything they find interesting, so it builds a great social media foundation from the start.

5. Being selfish is acceptable

In college, you do have responsibilities. However, these obligations will probably pale in comparison to the ones you will have after you graduate and you are in the 'real world'. Often as a college student, the only responsibility you have is yourself. You have the ability to be selfish.

6. Invest

Invest your heart, soul and finances into something that you believe in. When there's less responsibility for you to worry about, it's easier to take these kinds of risks.

7.You have a reputation to dispel

We all know some of the blaring stereotypes of the millennial generation. We are lazy, social media obsessed individuals, who don't know hard work. These negative stereotypes can actually be advantageous to you as an entrepreneur. When a millennial does something awesome, it's a big deal.

8. Press and attention

Use young age to your advantage and be proud of being a millennial. Technology is not a stranger to you but an ally, which can help you to develop your business in the networks you wish to target. This is a great tool to promote your business to the audience you want to reach

9. It's okay to fail

It's okay to make mistakes. In fact, failing at anything means you're trying. If you are ever too comfortable and are not getting rejections, it means you are not stretching yourself far enough. If you mess up at something while you're in college, there's still so much room to bounce back. The last thing you want after college is regretting that you didn’t go after a dream.

10. Build experience

When things don't go as planned (which is very frequently) it's called an experience. You carry experiences with you the rest of your life, giving you more insight into the world around you.

11. Join a Start-up Lab

Many universities have start-up labs; There you can generate ideas and follow your passion. In these labs you have the opportunity to work with other start-ups discussing and testing your business case.

12. Personal development

Launching an idea while being in college will set you up for success and responsibility. It may begin with a personal idea for something you are passionate about. You will demonstrate that you are capable of making decisions on your own. Your communication and sales skills will be tested at all times.

13. Funds

There are funds available for young entrepreneurs. Make sure you understand the rules and how to access those funds and use them to accelerate your business.

14. Residence permit

Most international students who want to stay in the Netherlands struggle with a resident permit. If you start up your own business, the chances of getting a permit to stay in the Netherlands are bigger. There is a special scheme for startups that makes the Netherlands a country with one of the most welcoming immigration procedures for international innovative entrepreneurs. 

Carolina Barría is the founder of World Rotterdam. Originally from Chile, she moved to the Netherlands in 1996. She has worked for Ernst & Young and the Rotterdam City Government, developing business for clients and acting as Business Relationship Manager. 

In her extensive career, she has managed more than 30 international students. 

Posted by Carolina Barría at Aug 22, 2017 03:45 PM
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