D.A.T.E.Lab 2016: Just Do It
On a cold windy Thursday night, I headed out to the Photography Museum in the South part of Antwerp. Not just because I love watching artistic images, but more importantly because it was time for date night... I mean: D.A.T.E.Lab. Tonight was all about young entrepreneurs from our city, so naturally I was very interested in what they were going to talk about and how the Antwerp 13 would fit into this evening.
The night started off with a short panel talk with guests whom we will refer to as the young wolves. They were three entrepreneurs from Antwerp who have already launched their idea and are now trying to make the magic happen.
Dries Bols was the first to explain why his product, Lifepower, is so different from other power banks and how he made his way up to where he is now. Next up was Thomas Van Irshaegen, who is the genius behind Beatswitch - festival management software - and told the audience that he loved Antwerp the way he loves his girlfriend: sometimes he's had enough, but he'll always come back to her.Finally we heard about the ambitious plans of Kim Soeffers, who wants to build a pop up container village, where young designers can show their good.
All of these wolves inspired the audience by talking with great passion about their ideas and they set the bar very high that night, which made me even more curious about what the next speakers had to offer. Boy, was I in for a treat.
Just do it!
When I read Rizon Parein's name on the stage screen, I had a vague feeling that I've read his name somewhere else. And I was right. Rizon is on of the best and most famous Belgian graphic designers. I was mesmerized by his work. This is by far one of the best graphic designers I have encoutered. Even so that I wouldn't call him a designer anymore, but a true artist. I felt so envious of his creativity that I almost fainted. And I clearly wasn't finished yet!
Because when I started listening to the next speaker, Ellen Kegels, the owner of LN Knits, I literally cried. She started out to be a fully independent clothing designer and creater at the age of 23, and now she has over 300 women in Peru that are working for her and earning a fair wage.
When asked what Ellen's tips for young entrepreneurs were, she told them "just do it". Which was a nice referral to Rizon and one of his biggest clients: Nike.
The Antwerp 13
Finally the Antwerp 13 took the stage and talked about their week in Antwerp, and about their own personal creative fields. They all loved our city and were happily surprised by the amount of creative people present. They had the feeling that there was much more to explore. And let's be honnest: a week is always too short. They absolutely loved our food and are all hoping to come back very soon.
For all of them a city must be some place where you feel inspired, where you feel wanted an appreciated and where you can find like-minded souls. After talking to a few of them, I had the feeling that I found mine! I really hope they'll come back soon, like they said, and bring more creative minds with them.
After tonight, I can't wait to start something up myself. After all, I just need to do it, right?
Find their tweets using #TheAntwerp13
And check out the pics of their adventures on Facebook.
Text by Cleo Klapholz
Pics by This Is Antwerp