Social start-up wins bachelor RSM Entrepreneurship Challenge

Around 80 bachelor students from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) explored entrepreneurship and new business models at the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship (ECE) as part of their curriculum in May 2017. In team, they started up businesses and generated the first revenue. All profits were donated to KWF Kankerbestrijding (cancer research).

In the annual RSM Entrepreneurship Challenge, students from RSM’s Dutch-taught BSc Bedrijfskunde (Business Administration) programme linked academic knowledge to practice, giving them insights into how to start and run a business.

In five intense weeks, the bachelor students learned about entrepreneurship-related topics, including the lean start-up method, business models, ideation, marketing, finance, pitching, and working in entrepreneurial teams.

Growth through collaboration

“I learned that co-operation within a team of different kinds of people is really important to grow a company,” said student Bram van der Loon. “It strengthened the business because we considered different aspects of the firm and complemented each other perfectly. It really pushed me to start-up my business instead of just thinking about it.”

The final of the RSM Entrepreneurship Challenge was organised in co-operation with ECE students. Speakers at the event included Freek Schouten, founder of, who spoke about starting a business during his studies at Delft University of Technology which helps students find relevant jobs and internships. Maarten van Kroonenburg, founder of BW Ventures, talked about the lean start-up method and how to use this when starting a business. His main message was to always keep the customer in mind when making decisions.

The finalists

Out of the 140 start-ups that students founded during the course, the four best-performing student teams pitched the results of their business in front of an experienced jury at ECE’s campus in Rotterdam. The finalists were:

  • Wine Not (Sharon Drenth‎, Erica Vermeulen‎ and Manon van den Elshout) which sells wine subscriptions to consumers and businesses, who can use bottles of wine with customised labels as business gifts.
  • Vino: Lidi Schilders‎ (Vivian van den Nouwland‎ and Ashley Ramsaransing) which is similar to Wine Not but mainly sell to consumers. They added value by wrapping the wine in nice packages and delivered them themselves.
  • Business & Dance (Cafer Ates‎, Bram van der Loon‎ and Sam Havenaar) is a new dance concept, in which dancers can invite their friends to the competition. This attracts a lot more visitors. In co-operation with another company, they even organised an event in London using their concept.
  • Feed Who Need (Sanne Schoenmakers, Mitchell de Beauvesier-Watson and Robin Hijzen) helps homeless people in Rotterdam by partnering with Het Leger des Heils (Salvation Army) and suppliers of food to create food packages that people can buy for homeless people. The startup sold over 150 food packages.

Ultimately, Feed Who Need won the challenge. “Feed Who Need won because they used the lean start-up method in the best way,” says Geert Wassens, project co-ordinator in the entrepreneurship course and ECE Student Supervisory Board Member. “The students involved every stakeholder developed their product based on the findings. The jury was also impressed with the social cause and their impressive approach of involving stakeholders to be a force for positive change.”

Achieving shared goals

The jury consisted of Harald Swinkels, CEO and founder of the Nederlandse Energie Maatschappij; Albert de Jong, chairman of Excelsior BV and CEO of A. de Jong Group; and Evert Sanders and Raïs Lall Mohamed, who won the challenge last year with CamHatch.

“It was amazing to see how many people were willing to buy a food package for other people,” said bachelor student Sanne Schoenmakers. “In the course, I learned it’s not as hard to start up a business as I thought. You need a good team with a strong drive to achieve your shared goal. It was great that we were able to set the bar higher as we were working along.”

Bart Hellendoorn from KWF Kankerbestrijding was at the final event to receive the €26,394 that was earned by the student teams.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top 10 business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers. Study information and activities for future students, executives and alumni are also organised from the RSM office in Chengdu, China.

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Marianne Schouten, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at


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