“Time well spent”

Entrepreneurship 2.0 brings together the crème de la crème of Belgium’s scale-ups

On 20 February we invited the crème de la crème of the Belgian scale-up community for the first alumni round table of the Entrepreneurship 2.0 programme, which is now on its fourth edition. The backdrop was an especially appropriate one for this high-flying group: the offices of our Prime Foundation Partner Deloitte at Brussels Airport. The programme’s two founders, Professor Veroniek Collewaert and Deloitte’s Sam Sluismans, look back at it with satisfaction: “Four years ago, this is what we were hoping to achieve.”

“Over the course of the past three editions of Entrepreneurship 2.0 we have built up a community of some 70 C-level representatives of scale-ups”, Vlerick’s Professor of Entrepreneurship Veroniek Collewaert smiles. “40 companies signed up for this round table; some CEOs brought along one or more members of their management team. That speaks volumes about the positive dynamic of the event: it is time well spent.”

“From some scale-ups, several members of the management team attended. That speaks volumes about the positive dynamic of the event.” Veroniek Collewaert, Professor of Entrepreneurship

Returnees and new faces

Those who participated in previous editions liked coming back. Veroniek: “Each year we map out a pathway for one group of around 20 scale-ups in which a variety of themes are addressed, all of which are huge challenges for scale-ups. For this first alumni round table we brought together both past and present participants, because we have seen that they can learn a great deal from one another in a very informal way.”

Like-minded people

Sam Sluismans (Deloitte)It is hard to overstate the importance of this interaction. “Scale-ups often tell us that they struggle to find like-minded people”, confirms Sam Sluismans, Partner at Deloitte Private. “The strength of this programme lies both in the actual content, and in the high-quality network that it creates. In terms of technology, these companies have got everything figured out. Their two biggest challenges are finding clients and building up an organisation in which they can serve these clients in the right way.”

“Their two biggest challenges: finding clients and building up an organisation in which they can serve these clients in the right way.” Sam Sluismans, Partner at Deloitte Private

Managing growth

The topic of this round table – managing growth – was not randomly chosen. Guest speaker Professor Walter Kümmerle (Harvard alumnus and strategy guru) gave in-depth responses to questions that were high up on every participant’s agenda: how do you steer the growth of your business? How do you deal with cash and investors? How do you check whether the founders are still on the same wavelength? What are the pitfalls with new employees?

A few reactions

What were the key takeaways for participants from this session?

Marianne Germain (EpiGaN)

“Walk the talk”
Marianne Germain, EpiGaN: “This year is critical for us in terms of expansion. We have to shift gear, which is why I wanted to take part in this programme. My main take-away? Thinking about your strategy, values and culture is one thing. But it’s equally important to walk the talk: bring them to life towards your customers, your employees, and all your stakeholders.”

Tom Verlinden (Yun)“Not only high-level”
Tom Verlinden from Yun participated for the second year in a row: “Over the past few years, we have invested heavily in a top team. But we must ensure that we are not only engaged at a high level. Everyone at Yun must be and remain permeated with our vision and strategy.”

Dries Berckmans (SoundTalks)“An excellent opportunity to touch base”
Dries Berckmans, SoundTalks, was glad to be back after having participated two years ago: “This is an excellent platform for exchanging ideas with other entrepreneurs. None of it is rocket science, but it is an excellent opportunity to touch base. I always go home feeling inspired.” 

Is your business growing rapidly and are you interested in taking part in this programme? Email your application to Professor Veroniek Collewaert via [email protected].

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