A new program – Students Entrepreneurs Excellence Program (StEEP) will be implemented at Erasmus University in the next academic year. Geared towards young entrepreneurs, it allows them to combine study and work through flexible schedules and personal study advisers. Students and prospective students can apply to participate until June 7.

As Hendrik Halbe, the director of Holland Entrepreneurship B.V. explains, the idea initially came into being in 2010, when a plan was created by an entrepreneurship foundation Sagamores to stimulate entrepreneurship at universities. The Minister of Economic Affairs approved this long-awaited initiative, and StEEP was developed by the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship together with Sagamores. The program will be run as a pilot in September, and will most likely be introduced in other faculties and universities in the Netherlands in 2013. 

Missing out

“It is clear that combining study with your own business is becoming ever more difficult. StEEP is set up to avoid students dropping out”, Halbe says. Dropping out is a bitter reality for young entrepreneurs. The people who are featured in the campaign, like Pieter Zwart and Bernd Damme, both had to quit their EUR programs due to inability to combine study and work schedules, and thus miss out on gaining academic skills. As Damme says in the promotional video, “at the moment I have a lack of knowledge – knowledge that I need to become an even better entrepreneur”.

Double benefit

RSM and ESE students or prospective students who have their own business or have plans to start one are encouraged to apply. According to Halbe, StEEP is for motivated students who excel in a few fields, and could really benefit from a personal study adviser, a business coach, flexible schedules, and masterclasses. Since there are limited spots available and it is highly competitive, the program is relying on a two round application system. The lucky fifteen who go through the first round will have to pitch their business plan to a jury, and the lucky ten will get a chance to maintain their business, all while working towards a degree. For more information, visit the website. MD