Throwback to the time we were 18 and about to reach the pivotal milestone of choosing a profession or higher education. The questions we struggled with back then remain the same today: from ‘What does the business world look like?’ over ‘Which skills are indispensable to become a successful employee or entrepreneur?’ to ‘What is my purpose in life?’.
With their educational project ‘Ondernemers voor de Klas’, non-profit organization Vlajo tries to answer each of those burning queries by inviting seasoned entrepreneurs to share their experiences in front of the class.
Empowerment in the classroom
Our Group Managing Partner Kris Vansanten participated in Vlajo’s voluntary program boosting entrepreneurship amongst young talents for the second time, joining a series of successful entrepreneurs like Bart Claes (JBC), Herman Van de Velde (Van de Velde) and Wouter Torfs (Torfs). He paid visits to fifth- and sixth-year high school students in Molenbeek and Halle to share the path that led him to the driver’s seat of Quanteus Group.
Kris with the sixth-year high school students of Heilig Hartcollege in Halle.
Kris took it as an opportunity to show his engagement towards society. “Nowadays, younger generations are often criticized for being rebellious or unmotivated. We’re confronted with images of street youth or protesting teenagers. Yes, there are many challenges, but you could either complain or take a more positive stance. At Quanteus Group, we value empowerment – we encourage our employees to take their fate into their own hands. That’s the key message I wanted to convey during my presentations.”
Having faith in your own future
Our Managing Partner shared an open and honest account of his career, one which has been marked with ups and downs. “Being an entrepreneur doesn’t equal glitter and glamor; it’s hard work. As I told the students: ‘Success is not defined by never failing, but by getting up again, time after time.’ Hearing this from someone who has built a performing consulting company with over a hundred employees was an insightful lesson for them, especially for those who’ve been growing up in rather difficult circumstances.”
“Learning that a successful career goes through peaks and troughs inspires them to take control and change their own future. I went home with positive vibes about the upcoming generation, because many students listened attentively, eager to become intra- or entrepreneurs themselves.”
Kris and his high school audience at Go! Atheneum Toverfluit in Molenbeek.
If there’s anything Kris hopes the students -and you as a reader- will remember, it’s this: “You have to have a goal in life. If you set it rather low, chances are high you’ll reach it – but that might be less satisfying than setting the bar high and not getting there in spite of your efforts. Take Elon Musk who wants to conquer Mars: it’s better to aim high than to regret you didn’t try hard enough. While striving for your goal, keep in mind the journey is as important as the destination. Make sure you live and enjoy while you’re at it.”
In addition, Kris wants to encourage other entrepreneurs to join him in addressing young people and sharing their entrepreneurial experiences with them – in an open, honest and transparent way. “While it’s not always easy for entrepreneurs to weigh in on the public debate on entrepreneurship, through this initiative we take a proactive stance to incentivise youngsters to get the best out of themselves. I believe it’s worth a try!”
Kris Vansanten is the founder and Managing Partner of Quanteus Group. Quanteus Group is an innovative player in professional services, helping companies with targeted and differentiated advice as well as with the building and implementing of solutions, based on the ambition to support companies in bridging the gap between strategy and implementation. The Group currently consists of five operational entities: The House of Marketing, UPTHRUST, HighMind, BrightWolves and QuantIM.