Our role at DSIF is not only to assist student entrepreneurs in acquiring funding. Here at DSIF, we also aim to provide them with the support they need to successfully run their businesses in the long term. That’s why we are introducing a new blog series called “Behind the Entrepreneur,” where we interview student entrepreneurs in the Twente region. Our goal is to put a face to the student founders and entrepreneurs behind many successful businesses and startups in Twente. By doing so, we aim to inspire students in the Twente area, whether at Saxion or the University of Twente, to come up with their own startups and build their businesses.
By demonstrating that building a business is achievable here in Twente and that guidance and assistance are within their reach. DSIF can provide them with both funding and developing their businesses.
For our first edition of “Behind The Entrepreneur” we have our very own portfolio director Genadi Yankov. Genadi, is a student entrepreneur and the owner of NetherGrowth. He sat down for an exclusive interview to shed light on the mission driving his endeavors at DSIF and his entrepreneurial journey with nether growth. Before we get into that we wanted to know a bit more about genadi what brought him to where he is now. Genadi joined us as a portfolio director in September and is studying at Saxion university of applied sciences. He says that “ Saxion is the perfect combination of theoretical framework along with practical projects that will add value to your professional journey, no matter which degree you are pursuing.” He says that his experience so far studying the degree of international financial accounting has been really positive, IFA provides a good understanding of investment valuations, risk-assessment and diversification when it comes to Financial Management. “We do have a variety of subjects like Management Accounting and Financial Accounting that add to your overall knowledge. However, for the position of Portfolio Director, the valuation methodologies are the ones that really helped when it comes to reading the financial statements”. Being good at the subject however, he emphasizes that what distinguishes you in your student life is what you do in your free in their free time.
“A degree is a good way to get started and meet new people. But the real success comes from the extra curriculum activities you choose to develop yourself. And believe me, Saxion offers a wide range of opportunities.”
Genadi living in spain and working as an accountant administrative assistant in the past adds a unique edge to him with it comes to his business and role within dsif. His experience doing administrative work gives him a great insight when it comes to preparing or analyzing financial statements. As he’s have done annual accounts, tax declarations and general bookkeeping in the past.
“This is not something that I am dealing with every day, but it definitely helps me during specific situations of the year. Most importantly, it gives me good overview of the procedures that start-ups need to go through when it comes to accounting. “
Every journey has its challenges and successes. Genadi shares with us significant challenges faced with and eventual success he’s faced contributing to his growth. “For me, a significant challenge was moving from Spain to the Netherlands. From finding an apartment to integrating in the new culture and get used to the university. This is something that every international student has to go through. However, not much attention is paid to the difficulties that everyone must overcome to get a nice and comfortable living.”
But it’s not all too bad genadi says that it’s a good opportunity to get to know yourself.
“I believe that it is a great chance to get to know yourself, away from family and friends, it makes it more difficult, but I think it is really making a difference when it comes to personal and professional development. I could say that this was a challenge back then, but now I look it as an achievement.”
Marketing and Finance have very few things in common. However, Genadi saw a market opportunity in beginning of 2022, when AI was starting to become bigger. Genadi started doing research into how companies can benefit from these new technological advancements. Currently, NetherGrowth is mainly focused in Web Development, they’ve have had more than 25 projects with 12 international customers, around 10 websites built and 2 agency partners. “The idea of NetherGrowth comes of the need for businesses to integrate AI technology into their business model. There is an extensive market demand from choosing the application developed by third parties, to teaching employees and customers how to operate with them. NetherGrowth had its first big project during the summer of 2023, our teams worked closely to implement BiLoop, an innovative automated software solution. This project has been a game-changer for Inova Assessors and nearly 100 of their valued clients. “ BiLoop, in collaboration with IvSign from Signaturit, has been integrated into their business model, improving efficiency and security across the board. Inova Assessors, a leading Consulting Business in Spain with over 25 years of industry expertise, has always been committed to excellence. With a team of more than 10 experts specializing in Finance, Accounting, Taxation, Human Resources, and Law, they are dedicated to providing top-tier services to their clients. “I believe that having and entrepreneurship spirit is not something everyone has, however, it is really important in today’s economy to have a separate financial vehicle from the usual 9-5 job. Businesses and market trends do not last forever, we need to take advantage from them as much as possible. “
Balancing a Bachelor’s Degree, running a successful agency, and pecializing in Financing and accounting is no small feat. Next, we find out more on how genadi manages this delicate balance, and the keys in learnings to juggling multiple responsibilities.”Time management is something I have been working on for the last 6 years.” Says genadi “The progression is real. As soon as you start paying more attention to where do you spend your 24 hours, you will become more productive. I can say it is really dynamic, I adapt easily and rapidly, which makes it a bit easier to deal with. However, I try to schedule my working projects from NetherGrowth according to my school program. I tend to postpone part of the work when the busy seasons like examination weeks approach. Therefore, I spend more time on the company when we are during the first 2/3 of the quarter.” Having multiple responsibilities helps you in your personal growth. However, from time to time a person needs to spend a couple of days off to recharge and refill batteries. Genadi’s advice to all student entrepreneurs is to implement physical activity next to all, it will give you health benefits and will help you reduce stress levels
Genadi decided joining DSIF because he saw it is a great chance to meet very interesting people, from entrepreneurs to venture capital investors. The events DSIF is a part of, are really insightful and it helps you understand better that finance is more about relationships, than it is about numbers. “My position as Portfolio Director made me see this since day one.” Genadi believes that DSIF has good and competitive values that differ from the rest of the venture capitals. However, there is still a lot of room for improvement. “Our team believes that the strategy of the fund needs a shift to become more efficient. We need to go towards developing a more personal relationship with the startups we are working with.” The DSIF Board believes that this will enable to help student start-ups with the wide variety of problems they have to face on routinary activities. And more importantly, the entrepreneurial journey is not an easy one, sometimes founders will feel demotivated and unwilling to keep going with the idea. Therefore, support from a community where everyone has a different background is always helpful.
“I think that the current board of DSIF will do its best to handover the fund in the best shape possible to the new board in 2024/2025.” - Genadi Contact us and get funding for your business idea today! If you're a student with a passion for entrepreneurship, innovative ideas, and a drive to make a real impact, DSIF is your gateway to success. Connect with visionaries like Genadi and unlock a world of possibilities for your startup.
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