The Company by Gentrepreneur
The Company by Gentrepreneur is a student cooperative and an initiative of the Ghent educational institutions Hogent, Ugent and Arteveldehogeschool. The concept, which consists in encouraging enterprising students to set up a business, either alone or in a team, within the framework of this structure (a cooperative with a social purpose) is unique in Flanders and anywhere else. Students who have promising ideas and entrepreneurial ambition can use the cooperative’s company number to work with their team on a project without having to worry about anything else.
The cooperative operation of The Company is part of what Gentrepreneur, the ecosystem for enterprising students in Ghent, has to offer. Gentrepreneur is the product of a unique cooperation between educational institutions Arteveldehogeschool, HOGENT and Ghent University with the City of Ghent.
This consortium has enabled Ghent to evolve from a pioneering city in Flanders in the field of student entrepreneurship to the current flourishing ecosystem where an increasing number of young people take up the challenge of starting a business.
Gentrepreneur is co-funded by Agentschap Innoveren & Ondernemen (VLAIO) and the province of East Flanders.
The Company supports the members of the cooperative with intensive coaching. The accounts of the different projects are kept by the cooperative’s own bookkeeping, who also train the student-entrepreneurs and advise them in efficient bookkeeping.
The low risk is a major incentive to join The Company. That’s what both present and former members of the cooperative say. The students have the status of student-entrepreneurs and benefit from a reduced rate of social security contributions. In addition, they only pay income taxes at the moment they leave the cooperative.
Another factor is the extensive coaching the members of the cooperative can rely on. Not only do they get help with bookkeeping, they also receive targeted support for their business development. Furthermore, experts are at their disposal for advice in legal matters and to check legal documents.
Nathan Verschoore (21) and Mathias Magnette (22) are students who founded BrewBeast. The purpose of their business is nothing less than to "reinvent the art of brewing". “The Company provided us with important coaching from the very beginning", they say. “First from entrepreneurial coach Tom, who challenged our business model and shook us up. Then from marketing coach Jeroen, who examined our communication and sales channels as well as our branding and positioning. We discovered that we still had a lot of work to do. We perform our activities under the VAT number of The Company and retain our family allowance and other tax benefits. It’s also more advantageous because there are two of us. In addition, we got to know other student-entrepreneurs through The Company: it really is a “company”. We have a shared workplace, get help keeping our books,… And the list goes on.”
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