Nele Van Damme's advice on young entrepreneurship
As a 21-year-old student, Nele Van Damme took her first steps as a young entrepreneur along with Koenraad Belsack. The pizza stall run by the entrepreneurial couple grew into a value-driven company that builds and manages housing for students and young professionals. So does Nele recommend starting your career as a student entrepreneur? This is just one of the questions asked in podcast episode #3 of Vlerick Change Makers. You can read her thoughtful answer and advice for enterprising young adults below.
From student to intrapreneur to entrepreneur
“Running a business is quite a challenge”, admits Nele. “Everyone wants to do it, but it's not easy. And that means becoming an entrepreneur right away is not a good idea, in my opinion, because you may have preconceived ideas. My advice? First, aspire to a career as an intrapreneur in a good company with the right values. If you like this entrepreneurial role, you can consider starting your own business.”
Personal development in the fight against the war for talent
“In the war for talent, I note that the most interesting companies are investing in training based on a value-driven corporate culture, in order to stimulate growth and personal development. Upgrade Estate also organises work placement and mentoring programmes in the Upgrade Academy. I am sure that young professionals and young potentials choose us for this reason. They identify with the values of our company, and that is very important at the beginning of a successful career.”
Best Workplace: the secret
“At Upgrade Estate, we understand the importance of the well-being of our employees. It’s been at the top of our list of priorities for a long time now. During the coronavirus crisis, we even became a Best Workplace and achieved eighth place in the ranking of best workplaces in Belgium in the ‘small companies’ category. We're very proud of that, but we keep learning. Communication and empathy are key. In the future, also as a manager, I hope to invest even more in a value-driven organisation.”
Also read: Nele Van Damme’s entrepreneurial path: “I feel that the best is yet to come”
Or listen to the full podcast episode of Vlerick Change Makers for more inspiring entrepreneurial ideas from Nele.