We are recent marketing graduates and proud MAA members. Last year, we met each other while organizing the MAA Student Start-Up Battle. We had so much fun organizing this two-day event, that we were a bit disappointed when it ended. We graduated, we are officially no longer students anymore: time for the real adult life! But not for us.. we still wanted to discover the world, and at the same time, get inspired by the Dutch entrepreneurs abroad. That’s when the idea of Business Without Borders was born: a combination between our wish to travel and our shared interest in Dutch entrepreneurship. We approached Dutch businesses which expanded to Asia, Dutch embassies, and communities of Dutch people all over the world. When we left for Japan, on Nov 12th, we were about to visit 20 companies in 10 different countries.
The first company we visited was G-Star in Tokyo. With only Japanese employees, our prepared questions about the “Dutch atmosphere” felt a bit stupid. However, the Japanese turned out to be really happy to receive us. The next visit wasn’t only a company visit (at Royal Asscher Diamonds), but also a sushi diner with the CEO.
In South-Korea, we saw a different side of doing business in Asia while visiting a start-up. In China, a young festival organizer had time to drink a coffee with us and talk about the up and downsides of being a foreign entrepreneur. In Taipei we went back to our Amsterdam roots and did a bike-tour with VanMoof. Would we have ever done something abroad like this, if we didn’t start Business Without Borders? Don’t think so!
Although it’s not a profitable business yet (we still have to pay for our own Asia trip), it is definitively a unique experience. Every Dutch business and entrepreneur gives us new inspiration to start our own business abroad as well. In Vietnam an IT company makes websites for customers in The Netherlands. While in Cambodia, a Dutch girl is trying to help the local people by offering them a job, and long term hopefully financial security. Next week, we will visit a stroopwafel bakery in Bangkok and in a month, Dutch trainees at ING Singapore will show us around. So, there are still a lot of new experiences to come. Are you curious about Dutch businesses abroad as well? Or maybe looking for an internship at a Dutch business in Asia?
Follow us on Facebook (Business Without Borders) and check out our website: www.businesswithoutborders.nl.
Guest article by Soraya and Maxime