Groningen Seaports is booming and in dire need of IT talent to fill up all those new vacancies. Startup in Residence participant Growth says the answer lies in finding talent before they graduate and is developing a platform to match students, during their study, with companies in the region.
Growth was founded by Ranan Branbergen, who was working on a similar project for Dataprovider. “Part of the problem is that IT companies are looking for people with very specific skills and those people will undoubtedly already have a job. So why not recruit them before they graduate and create your own talent pool?” Branbergen says.
“I was responsible for setting up a student team at Dataprovider, which I absolutely loved doing”, Branbergen continues. “I believe every company should have their own student team and I wanted to set up at least ten more, so that’s why I started Growth.
From student teams to a platform
Branbergen’s idea seemed like a perfect fit for Groningen Seaports, but the logistics of setting up student teams turned out to be difficult. “The distance between the city and Seaports is somewhat of a problem of course, but it was also difficult to find a suitable spot within industrial companies for a student team to work. It isn’t easy to set up a team of 5 to 10 students within a company, so there were more obstacles then expected.”
Branbergen decided to stick to the core of his original idea to better connect students and companies, but instead of setting up teams, he’s currently also developing a platform together with Nick van Eerten, Paul Sieljes and Sam Kroon. “There are lots of job boards and platforms out there already, so it’s important to offer something better and distinctive”, he explains. “One of our features is anonymous, skill based matching, where companies get to see the full profile once the match has been made.”
Startup in Residence
Branbergen enjoyed the Startup in Residence program: “What was really cool, is that you get a whole new network in a very short time. “I also never pitched before, so when you suddenly have to present your idea in front of 60 people at Seaports, that’s pretty exciting! So the pitch training came in very handy and it was a lot of fun to do.”
As for the coming year, Growth is busy developing and tweaking its platform. “It should be ready in June this year, with 2500 students signed up and 40 companies acting as launching customers. Lots to do still in the next few months, but very exciting! And I still really believe in the value of student teams, so that’s still going to be a big part of Growth too.”