Dr. Bert W.M. Twaalfhoven, Founder of the European Foundation for Entrepreneurship Research (EFER) and Founding Member and Member of the Board of Europe’s 500, now Growth Plus – the Association for Europe’s fastest growing entrepreneurs, was guest speaker at the Full-Time MBA Entrepreneurship class on February 12th 2003.
Dr. Twaalfhoven is the President of Indivers B.V., which has started 51 companies in 11 countries including Italy, France, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, Holland, Belgium, England, U.S.A. and China. In 1993, he received an honorary doctorate from Fordham University for his achievements in the area of education and as an international entrepreneur. On June 2, 2001 Dr. Twaalfhoven received the Annual Alumni Award from Harvard Business School for his activities stimulating entrepreneurship in Eastern and Western Europe.
Dr. Twaalfhoven accepted the invitation of ALBA’s Assistant Professor of Marketing & Entrepreneurship, Dr. Vasilis Theoharakis, to speak to the students of the Entrepreneurship class. The distinguished entrepreneur emphasized the importance of family businesses for the economy, and the role of business schools regarding the preparation of entrepreneurs and not just employees.
According to Dr. Twaalfhoven, the universities in Europe ought to have multinational students and encourage them to create their own businesses. Moreover, young people should realize that no job is permanent, and should try to be innovative, to take risks, and not to be disappointed by failure. The guest speaker noted that it is essential that to reward risk, in order to remove the fear of young entrepreneurs and make it easier for them to engage in new ventures. The students raised important questions and the guest speaker answered to all of them, underlining the fact that entrepreneurship is a synonym for creation and building.
Dr. Twaalfhoven noted that Greece is located in an ideal position and that the next few years are critical for the development of the countries of Eastern Europe. Finally, he recommended that the students work in teams, cooperate with experts on issues they are not familiar with, and keep in mind that nothing can substitute hard work.
At ALBA, all activities related to entrepreneurship are of great significance. It is indicative that the student teams representing ALBA to entrepreneurship competition last year received many awards and distinctions: they were winners of 7 awards (2 of the 3 final awards) at the Greek competition “Venture 2002 Business Plan Competition”, and finalists for the second time at the European Business Plan of the Year Competition 2002 organized by INSEAD (France) and London Business School (UK). Also, a team of ALBA students won the 1st prize at the Cyprian Business Plans Competition «IDEODROMIO».