Your global future

During six sessions you build up an individual portfolio of entrepreneurial skills that can be deployed in the internationally oriented Dutch business community and in Northern Europe. At the same time, the course offers room for reflection on your personal qualities and development opportunities as a newcomer.

Course providers: Utrecht University and University of Applied Sciences Utrecht

Course registration link: Use this link to register (optimized for mobile devices).


Dr. Hein Roelfsema is associate professor of international entrepreneurship at Utrecht University and

Dr. Leendert de Bell is professor of sustainable labor participation of refugees at University of Applied Sciences Utrecht and teaches in various Master’s programs at Utrecht University in the field of entrepreneurship and international business.

Christian de Kraker, MA. is PhD student in entrepreneurial journeys of refugees and the ecosystems in which they operate at Groningen University. He is involved in various programs for the orientation of refugees on the Dutch labour market.

Supporting Roles: Dr. Rebean Al-silefanee, Dr Ahmed Hamoud Al-shibami, Niene Oepkes

Guest speakers: Each session will feature a guest speaker with newcomer background that has experience with the topic.

Target Audience: Newcomers with high levels of education (bachelor level plus) and sufficient command of English. Lectures will be delivered in English

Location: Depending on the number of registrations and COVID-19

Start date: September 2020

Certificate: A Certificate will be provided to participants who attend and actively participate in a minimum of 4 sessions.

Focus of the course

The course is three weeks (2 sessions each week) which follows the logic of:

Week 1: Ambitious knowledge-based entrepreneurship in Europe
Week 2: Entering new labour markets for highly skilled new-comers
Week 3: Leveraging your global connections and shaping your global future

Understanding Dutch business culture
The Netherlands is a very internationally oriented country, and the business sector is active worldwide. Traditionally, migration has played an important role in this context, both regarding Dutch nationals who are active internationally and non-Dutch nationals who play an essential role in Dutch companies.

The Dutch business environment is also highly innovative, and the Utrecht region has long been in the top 5 most innovative and entrepreneurial regions in Europe. As a result, the internationally oriented business community offers many opportunities for newcomers, but it is crucial to understand the entrepreneurial and international orientation of the Dutch business community. In many cases, there is a big difference in business culture between small and enterprising companies in the Netherlands on the one hand and the economic structure in the countries of origin where national governments and state-owned companies, including those associated with defence, play an important role. In addition, many newcomers in the country of origin are highly educated, but their experience is mainly in the public sector, which is fed by a dominant business culture focused on natural resources.

This makes the economic structure and also the experience of newcomers very different from the experience of individuals in the Dutch business community. And as a result, doubts arise on the part of the Dutch business community about the deployment of highly educated migrants with regard to their entrepreneurial orientation and understanding of the Dutch business culture.

In this course, newcomers are introduced to the entrepreneurial culture of the Netherlands, which is fundamentally different from the corporate culture in the country of origin. Reflection on this cultural difference is important for finding high-quality employment in Northern Europe and can also contribute to a more extensive skills portfolio that can be deployed worldwide. In addition, it is essential to develop an entrepreneurial attitude that is less about trading and more about deploying human capital in an entrepreneurial way.

Six meetings
The course consists of six meetings where an individual portfolio of entrepreneurial skills is built up that can be deployed in the internationally oriented Dutch business community and in Northern Europe. At the same time, the course offers room for reflection on one’s personal qualities and how to find synergy between those qualities and development opportunities as a newcomer.

In a broad sense, the first week focuses on entrepreneurship in the context of Northern Europe and also looks at cultural differences that newcomers will encounter. The second week will focus on how to use your capacities in new labour markets and how to find a better connection. The third week has a strong international orientation, especially looking at how a new situation can be used to improve situations with the homeland and people who are left behind.

Sessions (3 hours, twice weekly)

Session 1: Tuesday, September 1 (14.00-17.00) Dr. Hein Roelfsema

The Dutch entrepreneurial business culture and international orientation
This first session focuses on the Dutch corporate culture and what this means for the entrepreneurial capacities needed to succeed in international business. After a plenary lecture, groups will discuss to what extent cultural differences are important in connecting to the international labour market and what role entrepreneurship and innovation play in this.

Session 2: Thursday, September 3 (14.00-17.00) Dr. Hein Roelfsema

Working in a knowledge based entrepreneurial society
This session will focus on the knowledge skills needed to succeed in European business, with a focus on entrepreneurship and innovation skills. In addition, it is important to have a good cultural understanding of diversity and to work in teams and what this means in a European context. After a brief introductory lecture, work will be done in a number of working formats that highlight the key characteristics of entrepreneurship and innovation in a diverse environment.

Session 3: Tuesday, September 8 (14.00-17.00) Dr. Leendert de Bell

Finding appropriate employment in new labour markets
What are possibilities to find high-quality employment in the Netherlands and Europe and how can you increase your chances on the labour market? In this session, we will discuss how the labour market works for highly educated people and how you can approach employers. In addition, this session will provide insight into how you can expand capacities gained in the country of origin, but above all, how you can show them as necessary on the Dutch and European labour market. It will also discuss to what extent you can discover a gap in capacities and how you can fill these gaps.

Session 4: Thursday, September 10 (14.00-17.00) Christian de Kraker, MA

Creating networks and opportunities
For newcomers, it is important, after a period of civic integration, to build up social networks that make it possible to make a contribution and find work that matches their level of education. In addition, it is important for newcomers to link their international social capital to a new environment and in this way form a connection between the new environment in the Netherlands and Northern Europe on the one hand and the social capital in the countries of origin on the other hand. Such a multicultural attitude can strengthen the chances on the labour market for entry but also for continued growth. In this session, strategies for building up social capital in Europe and the Netherlands will be discussed and opportunities for strengthening social capital will be explored.

Session 5: Tuesday, September 15 (14.00-17.00) Leendert de Bell

Your Global Future: Will you stay or will you go?
Recent data for the Netherlands show that only about half of the newcomers eventually stay in the Netherlands. A large part migrates further across the world and perhaps a small portion returns to the region and maybe even the country of origin. In addition, there is a substantial group that will not be able to find a permanent residence in the Netherlands and will need to find a strategy to deal with this. In this session we go deeper into experiences, wishes and possibilities for a long-term perspective outside the Netherlands.

Session 6: Thursday, September 17 (14.00-17.00) Christian de Kraker, MA

Supporting people left behind: What does that mean for you?
Newcomers often have the opportunity to support people that have not been able how to escape disadvantaged positions in the home country. In most cases, helping means using remittances to support income. However, new connections and opportunities in Europe may also create innovative ways and entrepreneurial ways to support people left behind. In this session we will discuss best practices on how to do this and share experiences. Also, the session provides some practical tips and do’s and don’ts on how to organise support for people left behind.