A thriving ecosystem of Amsterdam startups is quickly putting the city on the map as one of the world’s capitals of entrepreneurship.
In the business world, startups are a phenom on the fringes of the mainstream. Like an organism, no one can predict their behavior: how long they will last, how they will transform, what products and leaders will spring from this creative nebula where ideas are born. According to a study by Static Brain, over 50% of U.S. startups fail within the first five years, and over 70% within the first ten years. Yet they give birth to many of today’s breakthroughs in health, science, technology, human rights, and sustainability. In these smaller environments, team members develop leadership and wield more autonomy. Each action has a much bigger effect than it would in a mammoth corporation. As such, working on projects with startups is a fresh boost to your skill set and leadership capabilities. The experience you gain makes you that much more capable of launching a self-sustaining business or project.
Because of this value, as part of the Knowmads program, students work on projects and do internships with some of Amsterdam’s many innovative startups.
During the first two weeks of the program, we bring in 7-10 of the most exciting startups we can find in Amsterdam to pitch to you. Based on what sparks your interest, you can then choose a startup or project to be a part of.
Working with Amsterdam startups, you can pursue an interest you haven’t yet had the chance to chase, working for causes you are passionate about, like sustainability, education, and cultural awareness.
You will learn to perform new and diverse tasks. Perhaps you have a computer programming background. Suddenly you find yourself running a marketing campaign for a sustainability firm. You research and develop the skills needed for each new task, diversifying your CV in the process. These skills add well-roundedness to yourself as an entrepreneur, which comes in handy for your personal project the second half of the program.
Here you also have more freedom to propose ideas. Startups are somewhat revolutionary in their leader vs. boss approach.
CEO Robert Reffkin says of the strenuous startup environment that there is no room for bosses, only leaders: Bosses are about hierarchy and predefined script, while leaders allow more autonomy to tap into passions and motivations, energizing their people to do their best.
Therefore, in a startup project, you are much more likely to encounter the kind of figure who encourages you to take your idea and craft a well-thought-out plan of attack around it.
This autonomy allows you to strengthen the self-leadership muscles that you will be developing in the Knowmads program.
You become the leader of your own role in the organization because your unique ways of approach to the value you provide are viewed as an asset that further grows the organization.
A big plus? You will be able to show a portfolio of concrete accomplishments, rather than just names on a CV, says co-founder of Intern Betas, Brandon Fong.
Which brings us to our next point:
Because startups are small, any action made reverberates throughout the organization, where you can measure your effectiveness and adjust your approach.
If you have a computer programming background and are now the one-man marketing department for a sustainability firm and his job is to attract 200 attendees for an event, you learn how by doing: research, trial, and error. This is the DNA of the Knowmads program.
Are you self-sufficient, looking to learn what you’re capable of, and wanting to see a measurable impact in short amounts of time? That makes you both a good fit for our 6-month program (apply here), and an ideal candidate to work with an Amsterdam startup. Here you will get the opportunity to do both.
The skills, discipline, and leadership capacity gained in startup work experiences often outweighs any that a traditional company can offer. The veneer of a perfect working environment is stripped away, exposing the raw, working guts of a business on its way to making an impact. Who knows, the experience might even light the entrepreneurial fire in you for your own startup venture!
copyright Knowmads 2020