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WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU… WATERMELON

The average age of starting entrepreneurs is decreasing. However, you need to have a lot of courage if you decide to start your own business at a young age. Where did these get new kids where their inspiration comes from and what could the older generation of entrepreneurs learn from them? This week MASTERS kicks off with 26-year-old Alexander Wijninga, founder of the Watermelon company. Text: Fleur de JongAlexander Wijninga was only 17 years old when he became acquainted with entrepreneurship. In 2016 he was named the most promising young entrepreneur with his online marketing agency. In his own words, trial and error defined him into the entrepreneur he is today. Today, Alexander has another successful business called Watermelon: a company that has developed that allows other companies to centralize and automate their customer contact. In the busy schedule of the young entrepreneur there is hardly time for hobbies. But he makes time for the occasional game or training for running competitions, because according to him, hard work also requires a strong condition.

What is your personal USP?

“It's a bit of a strange thing to say about yourself, but I'm really good at sales, and I like that too. I am good at inspiring and motivating people. Of course, other people can do this too, but that is something that sets me apart as a young entrepreneur. As a young entrepreneur, I notice that this is important, because you come from nothing and still have to show what you have to offer in some way. If you sit very quietly in a corner, others may quickly think that you have no experience and nothing interesting to say. I really think you have to put on a bit of a big mouth if you want to be taken seriously in this world. Especially B2B, that's just tough business, you have to be able to deal with it. “

What can the older generation of entrepreneurs learn from you?

“Let's start with the fact that I can still learn a lot about entrepreneurship, especially from the older generation of entrepreneurs. I think they can learn things from me, especially in the field of new technology. How can you make technology work for you instead of experiencing it as a nuisance? This is something I often talk about with other entrepreneurs. And also something I have always seen during my career. As a young boy, I constantly helped companies with social media, new technology, new trends, new networks and how they can embrace these more and ensure that it really becomes part of their proposition, without it contrasting with everything that is new or brings change. “

Who is your teacher or source of inspiration in the entrepreneurial field?

“Yes, I have a teacher, who is a very successful entrepreneur. He has been in the entrepreneurial business for 30 years and is exactly 30 years older than I am. I have learned a lot from him in recent years. I also have a source of inspiration, that is really Richard Branson.”

What is your motto or quote?

“If you believe in yourself you are invincible. As an entrepreneur you are on your own, you have no boss or anyone above you to tell you how to do things. Where necessary, you can always call in advisors, but they don't always know everything, so ultimately you have to do it yourself."

What is the biggest entrepreneurial risk you have taken so far?

“The biggest risk I took is that I built my previous company based on a hacked WhatsApp app. We then thought very carefully about what consequences that choice could have. That company eventually also went bankrupt. But we took that risk very consciously and in the end we learned a lot from it.”

Where will you be in 3 years?

“In 3 years, the team has grown to around 80 people, we are active in several European countries and we are expanding to North America. And me, I also live abroad.”Do you know or are you a successful young entrepreneur? Email then for the options go to Fleur de Jong (fleur@mastershq.nl).