Portfolio holder External Affairs, Entrepreneurship & Innovation

EXTErnal relations

Tjerk's main task is to maintain all Student Union contacts with the business community. The main task is to realise new partnerships, long-term cooperations with companies. The main goal is to gain benefits for Union participants, students and student entrepreneurs at the University of Twente, but also for the company itself. This added value can be both direct and indirect. Direct added value is created by, for example, discounts or training courses from professional organisations which directly affect the student. Indirect added value is created by financial resources that an organisation makes available to the Student Union. This is then returned to the students through sponsorship.

The entire process, from the first idea and contact to signing and maintaining the partnership, is supervised by Tom. The External Relations portfolio holder is also responsible for the external relations consultations with study associations and the consultation with the municipality once every six weeks.

entrepreneurship & INNOVATion

The Student Union is responsible for the policy regarding student entrepreneurship at the University of Twente. Together with Novel-T and ETM,  facilitates and stimulates student entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship offers students many opportunities to develop themselves and gain experience. The Student Union and Novel-T provide a great deal of support for this. The reason the Student Union is involved in student entrepreneurship is that it offers enormous opportunities for students. The experiences gained are unique and cannot be developed within the study.

As portfolio holder for Entrepreneurship, Tom is taking stock of the needs of student entrepreneurs. On the basis of this, he tries to take action so that the desired support is realised. An example of this is the realisation of the Incubase in February 2020 in cooperation with Novel-T. This is the start-up incubator in the area and offers start-ups a place to work, follow programmes and network.

It is also important to coordinate everything with the various organisations involved. There are numerous business clubs, Novel-T, the Business & Science Park, the Innovation Lab, ETM and more. It is up to the portfolio holder for Entrepreneurship to attune the services offered to the wishes of the student entrepreneur. Tom is the spider in the web who knows everything and can make the right connection between the wishes of student entrepreneurs and the existing supply.

Study: Mechanical Engineering
Active at: W.S.G. Isaac Newton and D.R.V. Euros
Comes from: Diemen, Noord-Holland
E-mail: t.w.zweers@utwente.nl

With a high school dipoma diploma in hand, I knew what the my next step would be: take a gap year. Without any responsibilities and with the confidence of an 18-year-old, I decided that before starting my studies, I wanted to travel for a year. A year later, having seen enough of the world and having experienced some amazing adventures, I knew where I wanted to study: in our beautiful Twente. Without even having found a place to live, I hopped on a train with my bicycle and a bag of clothes to begin the Kick-in. That’s how I started my mechanical engineering studies in the summer of '22. Soon after, I found a fantastic house on campus and joined the rowing club D.R.V. Euros. I had found my place, and alongside a new home, I had also found a new sense of belonging.

Convinced of the unique experiences that a year outside the standard educational path could offer, I knew from day one that I wanted to be part of a board. But first, I needed to earn ECTS. Fortunately, balancing studying and rowing at Euros allowed me plenty of time. Seeking a new challenge, I became active at W.S.G. Isaac Newton. There I organized activities for first-year students, the first-year weekend, and even a symposium! Through these committees, I developed myself in various areas. This solidified my decision—I wanted to serve on a board.

My interest in the Student Union grew during a walk with a close friend who had been in contact with the Student Union and was highly impressed. After thinking it through, I was certain: I wanted to be part of the Student Union board. A month later, my induction period began.
Meanwhile, I’m running at full speed and dedicating myself every day to the students as the portfolio holder for External Relations, Entrepreneurship & Innovation. I’m very happy with what I do and hope to make this an amazing year! We’re here to assist you, so if you have a great idea related to external relations, entrepreneurship, or innovation at the university, feel free to get in touch with me! Together, we’ll explore how we can improve the student experience on campus.