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Back to Campus: Entrepreneurial Thinking

On May 19th 2016 Tilburg University presented the alumni event Back to Campus: Entrepreneurial Thinking.

image back to campus entrepreneurial thinking

On May 19 2016 approximately 180 alumni and professors shared their knowledge and experiences: with each other and with the university. Prof. Geert Duijsters discussed if entrepreneurial thinking can defeat inertia in large companies and increase success. Alumnus Robin van Lieshout shared the story of his entrepreneurial life: he showed which core values lead the way.

It was an inspiring evening with many engaged alumni who, asked by Rector Maginificus Emile Aarts, showed they are eager to help Tilburg University connect more to organizations and companies, especially in the Tilburg area.

Entrepreneurial Thinking is an important skill in the 21st century, was the general conclusion in the panel discussion. However, making it a mandatory course for all programs at Tilburg University is taking it a step too far.

Tilburg University strives to educate entrepreneurial thinkers, as Rector Magnificus Emile Aarts states, "Young people who apply their talents: intelligence, knowledge, and energy to create a better future for themselves and for society at the same time. Using their knowledge to make deliberate decisions and their skills to turn them into action."

Alumni can help prepare students for the job market. Interested? Please, contact

16.15 Registration for alumni attending workshops – coffee/tea
16.45 Choose 1 of 3 Workshops (optional)
- What we can learn from Serial Entrepreneurs by prof. Carla Koen
- Challenge: Build Measure Learn by Starterslift
- Law and Entrepeneurial Thinking, by alumna Nicky Leijtens
18.15 Registration for alumni attending main event & Sandwiches
19.00 Opening by rector magnificus, Emile Aarts
19.15 Lecture professor Geert Duijsters & alumnus Robin van Lieshout, Founder inSided
20.15 Panel discussion with alumni, discussion leader and chairman of the day alumnus Jerre Maas
21.00 Closing & drinks with ABC network game


Please click on the workshops for information and slides.

What we can learn from Serial Entrepreneurs

The workshop 'What we can learn from Serial Entrepreneurs' was given by Carla Koen, Professor of Technology Management and Entrepreneurship at TIAS. Carla is professor, entrepreneur, advisor, coach, and management trainer for companies in a wide range of sectors such as Chemicals, Medical Diagnostics, Life & Material Sciences, Health-Care, etc. She works with government, large corporates as well as start-up companies.

Carla Koen

Serial entrepreneurs are often seen as a rare breed; a kind of genius who is born, not made. People who overcome great odds to become successful; risk-takers. Stories on individuals like Steve Jobs and Richard Branson foster this mythical view.If we stop at these stories, there is not much we can learn. For the average individual is probably not a genius. But if we dig deeper, and really try to understand what serial entrepreneurs do, we find principles that form an overall logic for creating new ventures and new markets in a variety of sectors including technological, non-technological, and social.

image workshop b2c carla koen

During this workshop prof. Carla Koen identified these principles and discussed under which circumstances they should be applied in order to build a successful venture. She also focused on creating a business plan and how to pitch a business concept.

Slides 'What we can learn from serial entrepreneurs'

Law and Entrepreneurial Thinking

Alumna Nicky Leijtens

Alumna Nicky Leijtens of NautaDutilh N.V. facilitated an interactive session on Law and Entrepreneurial Thinking.

While the practice of law more has been more or less constant through the years, the legal landscape is evolving. Due to advances in technology and artificial intelligence, the legal profession is facing a new reality in which the delivery of legal services and legal knowledge is becoming increasingly commoditized. These developments bring opportunities for businesses (e.g. legal startups) and lawyers alike in terms of meeting clients' needs and improvement of service delivery processes. As for the legal profession, it is becoming more important to distinguish oneself and to have a critical look at where added value is created.

Slides presentation Nicky Leijtens >>

After a general overview of the changes that are taking place by Nicky, 3 legal professionals gave their outlook on the future:

The session concluded with an interactive panel discussion with the audience.

Challenge: Build Measure Learn

Karen Lanning


In this workshop, Karen Lanning from Starterslift showed what it is like to be a startup. She taught the alumni about various topics as innovation, creativity, and collaboration - in line with the basic principles of the Lean Start-up method. The Lean Startup method provides an approach that serves as the guide in helping starting entrepreneurs moving from plan A towards a market-validated business idea. The alumni learned about the mind-set that is required to become a successful entrepreneur. Moreover, even if you are not an entrepreneur yet, this workshop was interesting as the Lean Startup methodology is increasingly applied within various large established organizations in order to drive innovation.

Slides presentation Build Measure Learn >>


Geert Duysters

In today’s turbulent environment, agility and speed are of utmost importance in order to respond swiftly to changing competition-, technologies and consumer preferences. Unfortunately most firms are characterized by a large degree of inertia. In this presentation, professor Duysters discussed the main sources of inertia and offered practical solutions for firms to increase their agility in response of environmental challenges. In particular he discussed best practices in alternative governance modes like alliances, mergers and acquisitions and corporate venturing.

Slides presentation Geert Duysters >>

Geert Duysters

Geert Duysters (1966) is a full professor of entrepreneurship and innovation at Tilburg University. He currently acts as the Vice-Dean of Research at the Tilburg School of Economics and Management. He is a former Professorial fellow at UNU-MERIT (a research and training centre of the United Nations), and acted as the Director of the Maastricht University India Institute.  He worked as an alliance expert for the European Commission, the United Nations and the OECD. He has published 7 books, over 100 international refereed articles and book chapters. His interest in business strategies and innovation strategies is not only academic, as he worked as a consultant (senior manager) for KPMG Alliances at the international headquarters in Amstelveen (the Netherlands). He also acts as a founding global board member of the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals (ASAP). As an entrepreneur he founded three Internet companies over the past decades.

Robin van Lieshout

Growing a company is hard work and requires perseverance, a straight vision, building an A Player team and continuous learning. After selling his first company, Robin van Lieshout co-founded inSided, which just received a € 6 million investment to become a global market leader. In this presentation, Robin explained the 5 core values which lead the way in his personal and company journey. With inspiring day to day examples, he discussed the lessons he learned in building a global scale-up.

Slides presentation Robin van Lieshout >>

Robin (1981) is currently CEO of inSided, a startup he co-founded in 2010.

Robin van Lieshout

 InSided provides a technology platform for enterprises to start their own online community, and has recently received a € 6 million investment round by prominent (international) venture capital funds. The company has 70 employees & offices in Amsterdam, Berlin, Madrid and London. Before inSided he successfully founded and sold a publishing company, which he started during his studies at Tilburg University. From 2000 to 2006 he studied Business Administration, was active in study association TOP-DOWN (currently ASSET Strategy & Logistics) and was the first chairman/founder of the Academic Business Club, the association for student entrepreneurs.


Frank Klemann

Alumnus Frank Klemann

Frank Klemann studied Economics and graduated in 1991. Frank has experience as a corporate entrepreneur, setting up the internet bank in Belgium followed by Bizner, the first internet bank for SMEs. In 2010 he decided to become an independent entrepreneur and started Tulpfietsen. Frank shares, based on firsthand experiences, the differences between being entrepreneurial and being an entrepreneur.

Frank Klemann 'In the spotlight'

Aniek Hos

Aniek Hos is Senior Legal Counsel at Philips where she acts as the Legal Business Partner for the business group Personal Care and for the Brand, Communications and Digital group. In her current role she mainly provides advise on marketing law, social media, digitalization, compliance areas, sales and research and development. Her role within the company is focused on creating legal awareness and compliance, and supporting the business activities within their respective legal boundaries.

Aniek Hos

"As part of a business group that is under high competitive pressure being entrepeneurial in your way of thinking as a lawyer is a must , in order to stay competitive as a company. You are continously seeking alternatives and best practices for example in relation to marketing claims, or social media campaigns, which often are within the grey areas of the law. Finding entrepreneurial solutions to legal issues can tremendously contribute to your competitive position as a company. In addition to that aspect, being entrepreneurial is part of your identity when representing the company in negotiations with external companies. You always represent your company, and negotiating with an entrepreneurial spirit helps the negotiation process, and satisfies both your external as internal customers. Never forget your internal customers are, at the end of the day, paying your salary, hence making sure they come back to you for legal advice should also be part of your entrepreneurial DNA as a company lawyer."

More about Aniek (in Dutch)

Sander Berendsen

sander berendsen

Sander Berendsen's (1994) interest in commerce and internet started at a very early age. In high school, he purchased a container underwear over the internet and sold it for a x profit for charity. He became intrigued by e-commerce and saw the sales of accessories and gadgets as fertile ground for entrepreneurship. As a result, he founded his e-commerce company SB Supply Europe B.V. when he was just 16 years old. As a matter of fact, he got an emancipation of minor which was granted by the court in January, 2011. He was awarded with the Young Talent award by Marktplaats (an eBay company), was one of the most ambitious young entrepreneurs according to the Dutch entrepreneur magazine Sprout and was entrepreneurial talent according to Elsevier. At the moment, he operates several online shops in the Netherlands and abroad. Sander will graduate this year in the bachelor program International Business Administration.

Emile Aarts

Emile Aarts klein

Prof.dr. Emile Aarts is Rector Magnificus of Tilburg University since June 2015. He has an extensive track record as a manager at academic and government institutions, on both national and European levels. He was a member of the European ICT Advisory Board (ISTAG) and, for more than ten years, chaired the Board of the NWO Division of Physical Sciences. He has co-authored more than fifteen books and two hundred scientific publications. He was involved in the launching of the innovation concept ‘Ambient Intelligence’ (1997) and set up the Philips ExperienceLab (1998), the Intelligent Lighting Institute (2008), and the Data Science Center Eindhoven (2013). In 2014, he launched the Data Science Cluster Initiative, in which Tilburg University and Eindhoven University of Technology have committed themselves for a Brabant data science expert center with international appeal.

More about Emile Aarts


Jerre Maas

Jerre Maas

Jerre Maas (1986) is a serial entrepreneur based in Tilburg. Jerre founded his first company when he was 15. After graduating as a social psychologist from Tilburg University he founded Presensatie®, an innovative communication consultancy firm. Furthermore, Jerre is co-founder of the PresentersWall evoting tool and the eLearning system Improgression. Jerre will be our host this evening.

Pictures Back to Campus: Entrepreneurial Thinking 19 May 2016

Fortunately, we still have the pictures!

When: 19 May 2016 16:15

Price: free