Maurice Wehrmeijer [speyksessies]
What is the business idea that you are working on right now? How did you come up with it?
On December 3rd 2011 we are organizing the seventh edition of Speyksessies, an evening program with literature, poetry and music. We came up with the idea because we felt there was a lack of events in Rotterdam where people could come in touch with young talent in the abovementioned disciplines.
Is there a website, blog or social media link where we can see more about your project and/or yourself?
What is your professional background? What were you doing before?
Currently, I'm writing my thesis for a master's degree in media and culture.
How did the entrepreneurial spirit rise up in you? Were you exposed to entrepreneurship in your family or your social environment when you were a child?
Not really. We felt there was a lack of this kind of events in Rotterdam, and because we all have a passion for literature, poetry and music, we decided to start ourselves.
Do you have partners working with you on this? How do you split the work with them?
My partners are Lennart Pieters and Umeu Bartelds. How we split the work is different with each edition of Speyksessies.
What have you achieved up to now? What have you yet to achieve?
With six editions behind us, we can say we've grown a lot. An average Speyksessie consists of 3 writers/poets and 3 musical acts, with an audience of about 130 people per evening.
Are you looking for investors? What are you offering in exchange for what?
Donations are always more than welcome. We cannot offer much in return, except perhaps free entrance to a wonderful evening :-)
Do you have employees or people that you outsource tasks to? What do they do?
No, we do everything ourselves.
Entrepreneurs have a reputation as "control freaks." How do you avoid that?
All three of us have an equal vote in the decision making process.
How do you balance work with relaxation?
Besides work, organizing Speyksessies is relaxation as well for me personally.
What is your main motivation: being your own boss, adventure and discovery, getting rich, doing good for others, or is there something else?
The adventure of organizing such an event is great, as well as discovering new things with the artists we book. But my main motivation is the great response from the audience we get every single time.
What do you think of big corporations? Would you work for one?
Sure, if they give me enough freedom in my work.
When you need guidance or advice, where do you find it?
We have a large network in Rotterdam with more experienced people in it, so if we have questions, we can always count on one of them.
How important have PR and social media been for you?
For our promotion we basically rely on word of mouth and social media like Facebook and Twitter, so very important.
What would you call success? Where would you like your business to be five years from now?
I hope to have expanded this hobby to my work. In five years time, I want to be producing more events like these, not only in Rotterdam but where ever I can.
What skills would you advise a want-to-be-entrepreneur to acquire?
I would say that the most important thing is that you have to have a clear view of what you want to achieve. Then, the rest will follow.
Rotterdam, the Netherlands