Ruben D'Hauwers

Ruben D'Hauwers

Good jobsInnovation and InfrastructureResponsible ConsumptionClimate Action

Who are you and what do you do?

I currently work as a project manager Business Model Innovation at iMinds Living Labs, a research organisation aiming to increase digital innovation in Flanders. We support innovations by exposing their innovations with users in the early development phase

On a regular basis I support flemish startups, SMEs, governments and corporates in order to innovate on their business models.

The reason why I am working in this field, is because I believe that business models are one enabler but also a blocking factor for sustainable businesses. I have seen several social entrepreneurs fail because of a poorly constructed business model where they only focused on the vision, but did not consider how they had to execute on this with a sustainable business model. That's why I  coach social entrepreneurs with my business model expertise.

Next to that I am doing what I can to support businesses to build a more sustainable business model, which takes into account more environmentally and socially sustainable factors. Therefore, I am starting to do business development for iMinds to support flemish businesses and  governments on the move towards a circular economy, which leads to a more efficient use of natural resources. I have had projects on the sharing economy, industrial symbiosis, car sharing, sustainable lightning, sustainable consumption, and job creation for people with smaller chances on the job market.

What competences would make you a good Generation T?

Business model expertise: I can help social entrepreneurs and other people who aim to set op projects in order to establish their projects. I believe that business can be enabler of doing good, not only a source of only bad things. That is the reason why I want to build up this expertise further, so I can support other people in this field. After 2 years of practical experience I have build up a strong knowledge in this field and I am continuing to work on this further.

Further I want to continue to contribute by convincing companies to build more sustainable business models, by making more money by using their ressources in a better way and this way having a positive impact on the society.

Another strenght I have is my background at AIESEC, one of the largest student led organisations in the world, where I took up a leadership role. in this role I learned to lead people to set up social projects, and to enable other people to become better leaders themselves. In this role I also enabled 110 people to do life changing internships for one year in Belgium.

Give specific example(s) on how your projects or activities make a difference and initiate change.

-currently I am supporting the flemish government to create digital applications which will help companies to change their businesses into a more circular business model by creating transparancy in the market

-I did a project on an electrical car sharing platform

-I coached 2 social entrepreneurs in Belgium (on food waste and on creating jobs in Belgium)

-I supported, as a member of the iMinds Living Labs, +- 15 organisations (SMEs, startups, governments, corporates) with a digital business model innovation within the iMinds team

-I started AIESEC in Myanmar, which enabled Myanmar students to do internships abroad, and which supported businesses in Myanmar to receive international students

-I supported a social entrepreneur in Myanmar who wanted to set up a business to provide young high potential Myanmar people with a lower social status to receive challenging and high quality internships

-I was 2nd in a business competition on social entrepreneurship (Hult), unfortunately the business didn't make it because of team issues

Who inspired you? What made you first passionate about sustainability?

The first social entrepreneur i came in contact with was Arnoud Rasking of Streetwize, who is educating streetchildren in poor countries; It also inspired me that he could grow Streetwize into a working  business , where he can completely cover and grow the impact by creating value for Belgian companies through workshops