How will Dutch entrepreneurs be earning their money in the year 2020? How will they go about achieving their goals? Which major current trends will have impacted the way they will be doing their business? What opportunities will there be for entrepreneurs?
These are the main themes of Ondernemen in 2020, a book co-authored by SBE alumnus Sjoerd Hauptmeijer and his colleague Mario van Vliet. Hauptmeijer tells us more.
Dutch entrepreneurship in the year 2020
The book, published in Dutch, features interviews with successful entrepreneurs and opinion leaders in which they shared their vision on the future of Dutch entrepreneurship with us. We met with, among others, media entrepreneur Ruud Hendriks, internet strategist Danny Mekic, Bellen.com owner Ben Woldring and Hans Biesheuvel, chairman of MKB Nederland.
We were also able to speak with the inspiring Michiel Mol. Mol has a very colourful history as an entrepreneur and founded several successful companies. Together with friends he established the company Lost Boys which grew into one of the largest internet marketing companies in the world. In 2012, he sold it for more than EUR 400 million to the French advertising company Publicis. The game department of Lost Boys – Guerrilla Games – which was acquired by Sony in 2006, created the successful Playstation game Killzone. After this venture, Mol bought his own F1 race team: the Spyker F1 team. As a director of his own race team, he travelled around the world, fulfilling his childhood dream.
Nowadays Mol is focusing on sending tourists into space. His company Space Expedition Corporation views space no longer as the exclusive domain of governments and institutions such as NASA and ESA. Space industry is rapidly coming within reach of private organisations and people. This development initially started off with the eye-catching business of space travel, but ultimately, it aims to serve the goals of science, research and education.
In ten years from now, will we travel through space to go on vacation in Australia? Experts predict that it will take only two hours to travel from Amsterdam to Sidney. The plane will only have to leave the atmosphere and reenter it later.
Mol’s strength as an entrepreneur is to see things that other people don’t. Of course, there are many people who dream of becoming an astronaut. But in order to build a successful company, Mol knows that it is important to first develop a vision of a sustainable business model. The ‘space tourists’ will only be one source of income; his company will also offer possibilities for scientific research. Today universities and research institute depend on organisations such as NASA or ESA. Mol says that his spacecraft will go into space three or four times per day. Mol envisions that that this revenue source might even be the most important driver for success.
This is just one of the many inspiring stories Van Vliet and I have shared in our book ‘Ondernemen in 2020’. We analysed nine areas of the Dutch economy with extensive growth potential, such as the creative sector and the sectors of technology, water and agriculture. It is clear that there are many opportunities in these sectors for Dutch entrepreneurs. But the world is changing more rapidly than most entrepreneurs expect. Therefore, in order to be successful in the future, businessmen need to think differently and be adaptive to change.
A rewarding journey
Writing this book was both educational and fun. It gave me the opportunity to meet interesting people and learn how companies think and act.
After graduating from Maastricht University Maastricht in 2001, I started working at KPN Telecom in The Hague. During the following seven years I worked for various large multinational enterprises. Fve years ago, together with some partners, I opened an advertising agency and a publishing house. My experience is that passion, drive and guts are the most important success factors in business.
I am sure that in the near future we will all experience astonishing new developments which will result in challenges and opportunities. Successful businessmen are sensitive to these changes and are able to translate these developments into relevant product offers.
By Sjoerd Hauptmeijer
Photos by Jurriaan Brobbel