Young entrepreneurs Rutger Koplandschool helps the Food Bank with Christmas packages –

The seat cage – On Thursday 22 December, 133 pupils from grades 1 to 3 at Rutger Koplandskolen (St. VO Eemsdelta) in Siddeburen handed over Christmas packages to the Food Bank Midden-Groningen and Eemsdelta. The contents of the packages are selected by the students themselves and served together. The Association of Promising Growers helped the students with a microcredit.

What could be better than meaning something to someone else this Christmas? “That’s nice, ma’am, because then you’re really doing something!” is one of the reactions teacher Didy Pijpker got from his students in response to the Christmas bauble campaign. The Food Bank is also very excited. Pijpker, the initiator of the project, wanted to introduce his students to entrepreneurship. And it succeeded: With financial support from promising Groningen residents, the school received a microcredit of € 4.00 per participating student, a total of € 532.00. The students have grown this starting amount to just under €3000 in three days by doing chores, baking cookies and so on. With the money, the students could make no fewer than 110 Christmas packages for the Groningen Central Food Bank!

Food Bank
“There are more children in Central Groningen who go to the Food Bank than there are children in this school,” Beno Munneke, chairman of the Food Bank Central Groningen, tells the students. The volunteers are therefore very happy with the Christmas packages: “This way we have extra stock until March!” The boxes were offered by Bonsema Packaging and BS Verpakkingen BV When filling the boxes, the students consciously took into account the different target groups, such as: single people, families with young children and the elderly. Some boxes contain toys and baby food, while others are filled with bake-off rolls and frankfurters. The students were visibly touched by Beno Munneke’s story about his work as a volunteer at the Food Bank.

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Entrepreneur Tamara Zijlstra gives a guest lecture

The packages were festively presented to volunteers from the Food Bank on Thursday 22 December. Two days before, on Tuesday 20 December, guest lectures were given by regional entrepreneurs and volunteers from the food bank. The students were also taught about microcredit by their own teachers and given suggestions for expanding the start-up budget. Subsequently, groups (mini-companies) were formed with colorful names such as “Honky Tonky’s”, “De 3 Biggetjes” and “Ghost Busters”. All kinds of lucrative activities were developed: from baking and selling shortbread to removing empty bottles, vacuuming, emptying the dishwasher and making wooden Christmas trees in SSPB’s workshop in Sappemeer (training company Praktijkcentrum Bouw). One of the guest lectures was given by a former student from Rutger Kopland School: Tamara Zijlstra, owner of cafeteria Klaver Vier in Wagenborgen. “I couldn’t fry fries yet,” she says, but she grabbed the opportunity to start her own business with both hands. She has never regretted it. Soon she even wants to open another cafeteria in Delfzijl. “If it is your own business, it is also your own responsibility. But you have a lot of freedom,” says Tamara. At the end of the morning, one of the students is still thinking about his presentation: “Maybe I’ll open my own restaurant later.”

Learning to run a business young
“Unfortunately, one girl couldn’t participate because she was sick, she was in tears,” says Didy Pijpker. “Then she texted her whole family asking for a donation and she finally came up with €100!” The project has given the students a sense of responsibility, she notes. Ingenuity too. “Two students bought donuts from the supermarket which were fully glazed and decorated with sprinkles and chocolate, and sold for €1.50 each. They were so gone!” Learning to be an entrepreneur at a young age is very valuable – there are many opportunities to make money if you put your mind to it. “I wish I had been taught entrepreneurship at school, ” sighs Pijpker. This action can rightly be called a success and a win-win situation!

Association of promising Groningen residents
The ‘Entrepreneurship Programme’ for promising Groningen residents is part of four program lines (ICT & Technology/Entrepreneurship/Talent, Career & Ambition/Work in the Region) offered through a whole school generation. With the knowledge, skills and experience gained by teachers/teachers, these components can be included in the mainstream programs of schools. The ultimate goal is that all 17,500 students from the region have 100% chances on the labor market. The ‘Entrepreneurship Programme’ is made possible with resources from the national program Groningen.

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