Twelve Saxion students from the International School (IBS) are currently working on setting up a matchmaking platform. Together with students from Lucian Blaga University in Sibiu, Romania, students are building a digital platform to stimulate entrepreneurial initiatives between the Netherlands and Romania. The Sustainable Development Goals play a key role in this. We spoke to Marijn Sangers, who is involved in the project as a fourth-year student.
Marijn, when did you start and what has happened so far?
“We started at the end of October on the International Business & Management Studies (IBMS) course. We are working with ten second-year students from Sibiu. The project is entirely student led. We travelled to Sibiu from Deventer and drew up an action plan together. We also made company visits, like for example to Scandia Food. That is one of the largest canning factories in Europe. We offset the emissions of our journey through a tree planting programme. Our Romanian colleagues are coming to Deventer in January.”
How did you come to collaborate together and what do you want to achieve?
“Deventer and Sibiu have been twin towns for years. This year we are celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of this collaboration. For this anniversary year a plan was made to strengthen the collaboration between SMEs in Deventer and Sibiu. That is why, together with the Romanian students, we are creating an online platform where we can try to match companies from Deventer and the Eastern Netherlands with companies from Sibiu. In addition, business goals must be in line with the SDGs, a topic which has not yet reached mainstream awareness in Romania. The initial contacts were made by Roel Rietberg, our course director at Saxion, who has been involved in the collaboration between Deventer and Sibiu for years.”
How is the collaboration going?
“We have already written an action plan together. That was a fun exercise, since both groups of students had a completely different idea of what such a plan should look like. Nevertheless, we managed to achieve a result together. That we finally succeeded, was both educational and wonderful!”
We aim to bring the platform to the attention of SMEs in Deventer and Sibiu. There are differences between the two countries, and that challenges us to take a different approach.
And what is your role, Marijn?
“We are divided into different groups. I'm in the Marketing/sales group. We aim to bring the platform to the attention of SMEs in Deventer and Sibiu. There are differences between the two countries, and that challenges us to take a different approach. The intention is to get all parties enthusiastic about the platform and get them to use it in both countries.”
Will the project be continued?
“I hope so. We are now busy making the plans. Most of the students from our group start graduating in February. That is why there is a nice follow-up challenge for the students coming after us. They will hopefully be able to implement the platform in collaboration with Romanian students, so that entrepreneurs in both countries can really do something with it, under the auspices of SMEs.”