This semester, four students from the Hague University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands, studied abroad here in Berkeley at the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology to learn the hands-on skills they’ll need to make it in the world of technology entrepreneurship. Learn a little bit about who they are, what they’ve learned and what projects they’re working on below.

Enno Buiter

Civil engineering major | Fourth year undergraduate student

For Enno Buiter, coming to SCET has meant more than just taking courses. It’s meant starting a business.

With a team of students from SCET’s Management of Technology Leadership Program, Buiter is working to create a new way for people to organize their contacts. Together, they’re creating a way to synthesize contacts from Facebook, LinkedIn, Google and more in a single database –– and they’re getting ready to pitch their idea to investors.

He noted that the skills he’s learned in SCET classes have been essential to working on this project.

“My major was just very technical, all we learn is just to solve equations basically,” Buiter said.  
“Here, you get the whole business side of it: how to present your ideas; how to work with people.”

Before, Buiter said, he would come up with business ideas, but never really had a way to execute them. Now he’s starting to see those ideas become realities.

“Everybody who has the chance to do something like this should take it,” Buiter said. “It really changed how I think about everything. I see more options than I thought there were, which really kind of changed my life.”  

David Teng

Industrial design major | Third year undergraduate student

David Teng’s journey to UC Berkeley started with a business idea: a new way to store espresso cups.

Back home, his mother had too many espresso cups lying around and said they looked messy. So Teng, an industrial design major, designed a holder with suction cups that you could stick to an espresso machine to hang the cups off the side.

He had a good concept and a good design, he said, but he still didn’t really know how to build his own startup. So he decided to get involved with SCET’s program, where he says he got the skills he was missing to get started on creating his own business.

“There are so many parts to business besides only designing. There are so many costs I didn’t know about,” Teng said.  “I really learned a lot … Berkeley just gives me more motivation because of the people surrounding me, which makes me a better student.”  

Teng is already getting hands-on experience with startups in SCET’s Disaster & Recovery Challenge Lab, where students learn how to use technology to solve the issues facing Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

With his team, Teng is working on a way to deal with the island’s lack of physicians through creating kiosks where patients can speak to a doctor over an iPad and get basic health procedures, like having their blood pressure taken, completed by a robot.

Naomi Bakker

Mechanical engineering major | Fourth year undergraduate student

Naomi Bakker likes to know how things work.

“When I see something technical, I like to see what connects with what,” Bakker said. “Every since I was little.”

So when she started attending Hague University in the Netherlands, she immediately knew she wanted to major in mechanical engineering. But after continuing with her studies and completing a few internships, she realized that it was the business side of the industry that really appealed to her.

That was part of Bakker’s motivation to come and study at SCET –– where programs focus specifically on mastering the principles of entrepreneurship that will make students successful in tech. She’s currently taking classes on technology firm leadership, which teaches students leadership skills they need to make it in the industry, and is a part of the Management of Technology Leadership Program, which teaches business-literacy skills.

Before she came to SCET, Bakker said that creating her own business seemed “impossible.” But now, after taking the business-centric class at SCET, she said that dream seems a little closer in reach.

Ingmar Drost

Climate and management major | Fourth year undergraduate student

Being at UC Berkeley has given Ingmar Drost a new motivation to work in the tech industry.

Drost is particularly interested in environmental technology, urban farming and hydroponics, a way of growing plants without soil. Berkeley’s close proximity to Silicon Valley means that Drost is closer than ever before to some of the leading companies putting such methods into practice.

But the atmosphere in the Bay Area, he said, is just as exciting as the technology. While studying at SCET, he has gotten to network with industry professionals and soak up the culture of UC Berkeley. He noted that he is particularly inspired by how connected UC Berkeley students seem to each other.

“I like how UC Berkeley students use the campus as the homeground; how they use memorial glade as a place to hang out and play frisbee,” Drost said. “They’re at home at this place.

Even though people are coming from India or China or Europe or San Francisco they all interact with each other and socialize.”

Coming out of SCET’s program, Drost said that he is starting to see society’s problems in a new way.