by Lisa Stepanski
Do we need another one of these events?!
Created by Maastricht University students, the Social & Environmental Entrepreneurship (SEE) Conference had its debut in 2012. This year it takes place on 17th and 18th April in the School of Business and Economics of Maastricht. It differs from other sustainability and environmental committees emerging weekly in Maastricht, because it is a conference where the students lean back and listen. And get ideas. And make connections. And have fun!
For two evenings, well-known and experienced people from the sustainability fields will speak about their projects and businesses. The first day is dedicated to the Blue Economy. Therefore, the first keynote speaker is Charles van der Haegen, European Director of ZERI foundation. He will discuss the Blue Economy concept that his friend and colleague Gunter Pauli has initiated in 2004. To get a better idea of what the Blue Economy does in practice, the founder of the GRO Holland Jan Willem Bosman Jansen will present his success story. He brought the idea of food cultivation on organic waste from a workshop in Zimbabwe to Europe and his company now uses coffee waste as growth substrate for oyster mushrooms. Speaking of food, there will be an interactive dinner on wednesday evening after the lectures. Lovingly prepared vegetarian food will be served at D’n Hiemel accompanied by short video clips and speakers.
Innovative Business is the overall topic of the second day. As the vision statement of the SEE conference says: SEE, SEEk, SuccEEd. How to do well by doing good. Tom Bade, director of Triple E, will illustrate how the concept of sustainable business ideas can also be misused to make money and no good. The concept of Premium Cola, founded by Uwe Lübberman, is a perfect example how innovative business should work. The company is a consensus democracy where all stakeholders participate in making decisions. The products are not advertized, no loans are taken and the few people work from home and communicate via internet and telephone. Mr. Lübbermann will explain more about his social business in the last event of the conference. And maybe he will even bring some samples of his Premium Cola. Or would that be hidden advertisement?