Amsterdam recognises young Dutch innovators

On 15 February, Young Creators organised their first Young Creator of the Year Awards at startup hub TQ in Amsterdam. With 20 nominations from the community and three finalists on stage, the final winner was Thomas Lijten. The active member of the community opened his own ice cream shop at age 17. “The award will get a nice spot in my shop,” says the happy and enthusiastic winner.

The other two finalists were Vic Luijkx (15) and Maba Jarbou (23). Vic created software to help elderly dementia sufferers use a computer independently. Inspired by his own grandfather, who faced dementia problems, Vic started opavandongen.nl (Dutch link). Since then, the software has made some significant developments, and others can even make use of it, too. On the other hand, Maba started became an entrepreneur by importing and renting out beer-pong tables. The young entrepreneur recently founded AppKunda (Dutch link) – a startup that helps other new entrepreneurs collectively buy expensive software for a better price.

Young Creators is a community of mainly teenagers and students, most of which are working on their own project or startup. The community consists of many entrepreneurs, but also developers and designers. The group has grown rapidly over the past year, and it now has over 21,000 members. Most of the group's activity takes place on its Facebook group – a place where people ask questions, share interesting content and post freelance jobs. Thanks to this group, many people have helped and inspired one another to achieve their goals and dreams.

“This Facebook group was started to find peers and help each other out on all kinds of questions and issues that you run into when you start a project or business. And that's what the Facebook group is still about,” says Young Creators founder Robert van Hoesel. “However, the group is growing fast and that also creates some challenges. Therefore, in a couple of weeks, we will launch a new version of the platform, youngcreators.co, where people can find relevant information, share their portfolio and post freelance vacancies. That way we can use the Facebook group for inspirational content, interesting conversations and more posts. We think this will serve the different needs from within the community.”

With this new platform and the ambition to do more for the community, there was also a need for more manpower – until now. Young Creators has been run as a side project by people from the community, but the group had become too large to handle. For this reason, former KLM Innovation Manager, Maarten Greve decided to join the Young Creators Foundation full-time to organise and support its growth.

Want to join Young Creators? Give them a like on Facebook, or check out youngcreators.co. Want to partner up? Email Maarten on [email protected].