Huyen Le received a scholarship and created a SaaS platform for independent creatives.
Michel Moortgat funds scholarships for talented and motivated students.
Clara Maspons Molins wants to reduce the number of stillbirths worldwide.
Andreea Gorbatai helps Vlerick achieve its international ambitions.
The generous support of our worldwide donor community makes a real impact on the world of tomorrow. It gives opportunities to bright minds, shapes entrepreneurial leaders and allows the School to pursue new opportunities.
“I’m committed to giving something back one day to other female and minority entrepreneurs”
The Vietnamese Huyen Le demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit from a young age by selling food at the local market in her small village. “But I always wanted to see the world.” Her path took her to Japan, China and Singapore. “I set up my first venture with friends but quickly realised my sales & marketing skills alone were not enough to run a company. That’s why I wanted to do an MBA. Located at the heart of Europe and open to diversity and socially driven innovation, Vlerick was the perfect vibe for me. Receiving a 75% scholarship not only made the MBA possible but also broke the poverty cycle for me and my family – I was the first in my village to go abroad, let alone get an MBA!”
Huyen didn’t plan to become an entrepreneur. “I’ve lived in five big cities and always struggled to find small-scale leisure activities like dance classes or theatre gigs. Social media didn’t provide what I was looking for, so I decided to build a centralised platform to help people find that kind of thing more easily. Her idea resulted in Joylists. In 2022, Huyen passionately pitched her plans for the project to Vlerick: the panel of the Student Entrepreneurship Fund granted her €30,000. “This allowed us to complete the scalable platform, plan marketing campaigns for our launch in November 2023 and create momentum for our fundraising in 2024. I’m so grateful for what the Vlerick scholarship and grant have made possible for me. I believe in giving forward and I’m committed to giving something back one day to other female and minority entrepreneurs.”
“Saying thanks to Vlerick for the education and support I received in difficult times”
Michel Moortgat, CEO Duvel Moortgat
“Giving back to Vlerick is my way of saying thanks for the education and support I received in difficult times. Not long after I joined our family business, my father passed away. My brothers and I had to face many challenges, both family-wise and business-wise. Vlerick helped me to face those challenges. My PUB year gave me the business foundations I needed back then. But, even more importantly, I felt supported by a community of fellow students and professors. That really helped me in those early days.” Today, Michel Moortgat (PUB, 1991 – IGMO, 1998), CEO of Duvel Moortgat, gives back to Vlerick via the Scholarship Fund that bears the name of his company.
“On the one hand, it’s only natural for me to give something back to the school that gave me so much. On the other, the Scholarship Fund makes it possible to support students who normally wouldn’t have the chance to study at Vlerick. When I look at my children, my nieces and nephews, they have so many opportunities in life. They can study where they want, for as long as they want. But not everyone has that option. So I thought it would be wonderful if we could, on a regular basis, help students who have the capability and the motivation, but not the financial means to study at Vlerick. They too deserve a chance to make a difference in the world.”
“We used the seed money to develop a prototype”
Clara Maspons Molins, co-founder of Maternia
A stillbirth occurs every 16 seconds. What’s more, 84% of all stillbirths happen to women in low- or middle-income countries. “How could such a global tragedy not be a priority on the global agenda? By delving deep into the figures and the stakeholders involved, I ended up finding my ‘why’. But what is purpose without action?”, Clara Maspons Molins (MIE, 2021) wonders. “When I was looking for a business school, it became apparent that social impact is not so easy to find. The Masters in Innovation and Entrepreneurship (MIE) was the ideal platform to combine my eagerness to embrace innovative processes with my ambition to address social needs.
“During the Start-Up Accelerator, I connected with Professor Veroniek Collewaert, who became my mentor. Vlerick Entrepreneur in Residence Evert Wulfrank was able to put us in touch with midwives in other parts of the world. The solution that our team landed on was a technological upgrade of the existing Pinard horn, which is commonly used to listen to the foetal heartbeat. Maternia combines these acoustic properties with technology to monitor the status of the foetus. At the end of the year, we pitched our business idea for Maternia and received €40,000 from the Student Entrepreneurship Fund. We used the seed money to develop a prototype.”
“In San Francisco, you don’t see people sitting at the same table speaking five languages”
Andreea Gorbatai, Professor of Entrepreneurship
The Dean’s Fund helps Vlerick to develop new programmes, support research, invite experts and attract world-renowned faculty. Like Andreea, for instance. Born in Romania, Professor Andreea Gorbatai spent 20 years in the US, where she studied at Harvard and worked at UC Berkeley. In 2021, she decided to come back to Europe. “I think that the EU is much more mindful in terms of creating a society that is tailored to humans, in terms of sustainability, awareness of inequality, social support for people who are looking for jobs, or people who come from disadvantaged backgrounds.” That openness to connect is also what she found at Vlerick: “From the heart of Europe, this School serves society.
San Francisco may be a diverse international city, with several communities, but you don’t see people sitting at the same table speaking five languages and exchanging the richness of their cultures the way you do in Brussels. My connections and a deep understanding of how the world works in the US and Europe have proven to be a huge benefit for our students. For Vlerick as a business school, I bring an outsider’s perspective, which still allows me to ask naïvely: why do we do things this way? I can borrow elements that I’ve seen at top US institutions and translate them into ways of helping the School achieve its international ambitions.”