Before all else, on behalf of the board of 2021, I would like to take a moment to thank all of our shareholders (University of Twente, Student Union, Holding Technopolis Twente, Saxion University of Applied Science, SBOT B.V.) and all our partners. Further, I would personally like to thank the current board members and all alumni members who have contributed to the success of DSIF up till this moment. Lastly, I would like to thank our Senior Board members (Lars Pieke, Nard Sintenie, Peter Wilderink) who have been great mentors, advisors and have really made a pool of knowledge constantly available to the directors.
DSIF was founded 5 years ago and to date we’ve been in contact with a range of startups, from multiple backgrounds but predominantly tech, and also we’ve recently added to our portfolio with a startup called Clairify. Although, due to the pandemic we’ve watched the number of startups entering the deal-flow decrease, nevertheless we continue to engage with startups with great potential and game-changing ideas. I’d also like to further encourage student startups to get in contact with us. At times the investment may not take place immediately, but we constantly work towards helping startups get in contact with organisations that could help them become investment-ready.
The 2021 board is an amalgamation of students from different 3 ethnic groups, 6 distinct nationalities and 3 different continents, with a 50/50 gender ratio, and simply a group of people that all shared the desire to assist other students. Much to our surprise, although we’re a diverse board, we’ve had difficulty diversifying our deal flow – which we decided to work towards improving. As a result, during this year, alongside brand awareness and increasing deal-flow, we’ve dedicated some of our time to work towards creating a more inclusive and diverse environment. On International Women’s day, we had two remarkable speakers, Simone Brummelhuis and Priyanka Harish, lead the conversation on the “Domino Effect of Diversity & Inclusion in Entrepreneurial Growth“. Furthermore, we are working towards being more active in the #FundRight movement and contributing to finding solutions to the diversity gaps we see in the corporate space.
If you ask me what it has been like as the president of DSIF, I would have to start by declaring that it is nothing like anything ever could’ve imagined. I expected growth, gaining more professional experience and networking but not to the extent that I have in this short amount of time. Being president has reminded me that you really never stop learning. It reminded me that it is crucial that you nurture all relationships and remember to stay open-minded in the corporate world. Our message to all student startups and other aspiring entrepreneurs would be to never stop dreaming, never limit yourself and remember that if you believe it can happen then you can make it happen. The journey to achieving one’s dreams was never meant to be easy, but that does not make it impossible.
Once more, thank you to all of the stakeholders that have contributed to DSIF being where it is today. We will continue to work towards finding solutions to our own challenges and the challenges of our industry. To the many more years of investments to come!
Stay safe and healthy.
Happy 5 years of DSIF!
President of the Dutch Student Investment Fund