On Tuesday 11 December, 45 carpentry students from Finland and Spain participated in an entrepreneurship and sales course provided by Hanze University of Applied Sciences and Alfa-college as part of E-COOL. Organised by Alfa-college, this meet-up was hosted by Start-up City at Kadijk 2 as part of the European Young Talents project.

Craftsmanship and entrepreneurship

In addition to craftsmanship, Dutch, Finnish and Spanish students set great store by entrepreneurship. Having developed a prototype for their product during a previous design thinking session in Barcelona, Groningen was all about selling their product. Good sales practice begins with sound self-knowledge.

Being entrepreneurial is an activity, hence the active first part of the course: students were split into groups to figure out what it is about the prototype that works, and reported back to each other.

Personal story

Next, Duy Dohan told his story and linked it to entrepreneurship, as well as how it can be used to sell your product. Duy is a student at the Hanzehogeschool and a Da Vinci entrepreneurship minor. Born to Vietnamese refugees, he grew up in Helsinki. He had to relocate repeatedly throughout his early life, forcing him to make new friends over and over again. Always the odd one out, this was no easy task. He told a personal story about thankfulness, vulnerability and affordable loss. Despite the difficult times, Duy has maintained the strength to stay connected to others: a valuable lesson when it comes to dealing with customers.

Based on his experience, Duy has created a workshop. One of the assignments was for the students to call a friend and express their gratitude. Duy gave the students personalised feedback on their prototypes and they had the opportunity to provide feedback with regard to his workshop.


Guido Mertens, a Commercial Economy student at the Hanze UAS, gave an insightful practical example. Guido feels right at home in the trainer market and knows that the new Jay-Z shoes are sold online for EUR 200. Once bought, the same trainers are being offered online for EUR 600 to EUR 1000. He would like to get a pair, but they are expensive. The idea is to buy a second and a third pair together with a friend who has the necessary financial means, and put them up for sale online. They will use the profit to pay for their own shoes. Sharing the risk, together they have the knowledge and financial resources to pull it off.