YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS

Yonas Negash

“I AM A BIG FAN OF THE AVENUE OF INNOVATION”

Besides following his study programme at the University of Twente, Yonas Negash established his own business: Vestfalia Film International. In this article you can read about his experience.

The collaboration between companies and the government, and the future-oriented thinking in an ecosystem for innovation awarded Kennispark the 'Best business area of the Netherlands'. The jury was enthusiastic about the economic value of the park, the brightness of the profile and the organization of firms. UT students Yonash Negash and Alex de Jong are two enthusiastic entrepreneurs and inspired by the surroundings of Kennispark.

“IT IS A PRIVILEGE TO BE A STUDENT HERE.”

We meet Yonas Negash (26), the founder of Vestfalia Film International, and “content manager” Slava Posylajev. Both European Studies students and both highly interested in politics. Especially campaigning and the use of various media channels during elections get their attention. Not without a reason: Negash says he followed the American elections in 2008 and saw that the fundraising team of Obama collected in 48 hours as much money as team McKeane in one week. Explanation: “The Obama team handled all media channels for his campaign.” An eye-opener for Negash. “We are developing an application for the campaign of the future." Posylajev adds: “The app is intended for governments, authorities and institutions. They can use the application to be transparent in decisions and to involve citizens in decision-making.” In addition to the app, Vestfalia Film International, located in the Bastille, produces campaign videos. “Short films for politicians and NGOs”, said Negash. Currently, the company has one employee. And in five years?  “Then I hope that we are located on the other side of the Hengelosestraat. I'm a big fan of the Avenue of Innovation and Kennispark Twente. An inspiring environment. It is a privilege to be a student here.”

A NEW TECHNOLOGY TO COLLECT FACEBOOK-LIKES

With the company EasyLike Alex de Jong (23) deals with how companies make use of Facebook in the optimal way. For this he applies the Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. “That's the same technology as in a smart card, nowadays used in most smartphones.” De Jong wants to use the chip function to like Facebook pages. “Right now for example you see in stores or on posters advertisements saying: “like us on Facebook”. Then you open the app, you go to the page and click the like-button. Those are a lot of actions. You can stick our chip as a kind of sticker on your advertisement. The customer can scan it with his phone and automatically gets directed to the Facebook page.”

Together with Egbert Markerink, business student and Jos van Boeijen, law student in Utrecht, De Jong started the company. “We do not use the facilities of the Kennispark yet”, he says. “It's good to know it's there, but at the moment we do not have to invest yet. We work from home and the only thing invest is time.” Do you already generate revenue?  “Not yet. The companies want to use it, but also want to know if it works.” Sounds like the chicken and egg story. “In addition to the chip, Easy Like works with a database to see what works. “We want to store the number of likes per chip. We hope to gain insight into whether a like and win action works and from which places the FB page is accessed.”

Read more information about the master's programme European Studies

Text: Sandra Pool, Photo: Kennispark

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