Will Generation Y make a difference?

Young professionals with entrepreneurial approaches to the 21st century issues of poverty and climate change will be part of the usual mix of scholars, students and representatives from civil society, corporations and government for the annual Max Havelaar lecture at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) on Wednesday 29 October.

The lecture is organised by the Max Havelaar Foundation which has a variety of partnerships with NGOs, corporations and governments for fair and sustainable trade, in co-operation with RSM’s Professor of International Business Society Management Rob van Tulder.

The young professionals whose input is sought are part of ‘Generation Y’; born after 1980 and with a social and entrepreneurial view of life and business. They have big ambitions, but their generation of businesses also faces big global challenges – from climate change, resource scarcity, income inequality to poverty. They can influence the future by being independent entrepreneurs setting up new social enterprises, or by being intrapreneurs, managing the change from within existing companies.

During the event, entrepreneurs from both generations X and Y will discuss and compare their ideas, views and challenges. These “battles of generations” will be fought out by Bas van Abel (initiator Fairphone), Willem Lageweg (CEO MVO Nederland), Joszi Smeets (CEO Youth Food Movement), Willemijn Verloop (founder War Child), Talitha Muusse (founder Sustainable Young Top100), Rob van Tulder (Professor RSM and CEO Partnerships Resource Centre), Simon Pickard (DG at ABIS) and many others.

The seventh Max Havelaar lecture will explore which road or combinations of roads will bring actual change. Young leaders are obviously motivated because it is their future at risk. And their successful initiatives proof this generation’s ability to tackle environmental and social issues through business and entrepreneurship. But will these new and exciting entrepreneurial activists make a difference? Will they not make the same mistakes as previous generations of entrepreneurs or NGOs?

You can register now for the event from 14:00 to 17:00 on 29 October to find out how young people in the Netherlands – and elsewhere – are engaged in lots of sustainable initiatives and businesses.

Every year, the number of students joining a master programme about sustainable business, including the one at RSM, increases by 10%. For RSM, the aim is to enable young bachelor graduates to be part of the solution to the sustainability challenges facing business and society, and to create a new generation of leaders with the capacity to think critically about business strategies and develop new sustainable business models for the future.

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is ranked among Europe’s top 10 business schools for education and among the top three for research. 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 carry their innovative mindset into a sustainable future thanks to a first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes. RSM also has offices in the Amsterdam Zuidas business district and in Taipei, Taiwan.

For more information on RSM or on this release, please contact Marianne Schouten, Media & Public Relations Manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at

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