Interview with our student entrepreneurs Justin and Luca, founders of Starter Kit
- 5 min read
A year ago, Justin and Luca, both second year students at Hotelschool The Hague, decided to start an initiative called Starter Kit, a kit that would help students move to university. The initiative was initially launched within Hotelschool The Hague and will now be entering the national arena. What were their challenges along the way? How did Hotelschool The Hague help them get to where they are? Keep reading to find out!
When did you think of opening your business?
Even though we did not know each other, Justin and I (Luca) were already thinking that opening a side business during our studies was the best way to put into practice what we were going to learn! After meeting at Hotelschool The Hague, we both realised that we shared this common goal. We then thought and analysed many possible ventures and landed on Starter Kit.
How did you come up with Starter Kit?
Starter Kit originated from Justin, wanting to sell his books to new students. After that, we realised that we should not only help new students get decent prices for books, but also help them get everything they need to start university comfortably. I remember that the first hours we spent on Starter Kit were in the kitchen of the Berlin hallway (one of the hallways in Skotel where the students live during their first year). Practically speaking, Starter Kit seemed as the most feasible venture to operate alongside our studies, as the venture would only run intensively every six months when students start university, which would be our holiday period.
How did you set it up?
Starter Kit’s concept needed to be tested, so we decided to first offer Starter Kit to students arriving at Hotelschool The Hague. For that to happen, we needed the support of Hotelschool The Hague for some practical matters, so after a few exciting meetings we were finally given permission! This was an exciting time for us, because for the first time, we could do something that would help our fellow students during their transition to university. There were also other essential elements that made it possible for us to move forward with Starter Kit and set it up properly. For example, the feedback on operations from Mr de Koe and Mr Smit and the feedback on promotion and business development from Ms Oruc and Mr Gallicano. Furthermore, the basics of accounting and marketing from courses like Creating Business Value and Exploring & Structuring were very helpful as well. But, most importantly, the environment at Hotelschool The Hague stimulated us to take initiatives and promoted failure as an essential step to success.
How did you manage to combine it with your studies?
From the start, Justin and I agreed that Starter Kit would not be our first priority, as our first one was being successful at our studies, which we really enjoy. In order to work on Starter Kit, we would have to be proactive when it came to studying or working on team projects, so that we could finish and work on the company. Obviously, being proactive was not enough at times, so we ended up reading a lot. Furthermore, we had many discussions about time management and efficiency.
Do you have any tips for students who want to start their own business?
Justin & I are far from experts on the matter. However, based on our experience, we believe that the first thing to do is to connect with people within our Hotelschool The Hague community. Our community is a melting pot of professionals, students and alumni, coming from all kinds of backgrounds. If you are interested in starting your own business, you need to connect with the entire community and find the right people that can join or support you.
After nearly one year of starting, looking back what would you have done differently?
When looking back there are always many things that we could have done differently. This is our first venture, so it is very important for us to learn from past mistakes. One of our regrets, is that we did not see Starter Kit’s potential in the same way as we do today. We thought of Starter Kit as a university project that would only be for Hotelschool The Hague. But now, we are bringing the concept to other universities across the Netherlands.
Where is Starter Kit today and where do you see it going within the next years?
After a test run this February in a few major cities, Starter Kit is strategically planning to become available to students in all the major cities and universities in The Netherlands as of August 2019. This is why we will be recruiting intensively in the next months, especially at universities, Hotelschool The Hague included. Starter Kit is also partnering with student organisations and companies to help students move into university comfy.