Angelo Meuleman is a project director at Taxistop. Under the motto ‘do more with less’, this non-profit organisation develops services which promote a more efficient use of personal items such as cars or houses. With the support of a social profit grant, Angelo took the Executive Development Programme at Vlerick.
“I know Vlerick pretty well, because my brother is a professor there”, says Angelo Meuleman. “In the non-profit sector, the range of training is often not all that interesting and I wanted to look outside the sector. The social profit grant gave me access to Vlerick's range and I felt it was a win-win situation: on the one hand, we paid less, but on the other we could apply the knowledge gained directly to Taxistop. We are a small organisation and the insights were relevant to all parts of our business: strategy, HR, financial management and so on.”
Refreshing learning methods
“Traditional training in the non-profit sector isn’t always particularly innovative. But at Vlerick, things are completely different. I felt at home right away. The lecturers are not only very good in terms of content, but the entertaining way in which they get information across also inspired me. I wasn't bored for a second,” he says, laughing.
“I also greatly appreciated the interaction with the other students. They were all passionate entrepreneurs with the same drive to achieve results. We had a very dynamic group in which everyone played a special role, including myself. The mission of our non-profit organisation is also my personal mission. During the programme I not only learned a lot myself, I also tried to change the other students’ perception of sustainability. I can also see a role for Vlerick there.”
“People often misunderstand non-profit organisations. Just like a commercial company, we also need to be and remain relevant, take our stakeholders into account and be financially sound. Traditional companies might already have a sense of social responsibility, but it isn’t really in their DNA yet. With us, it forms part of our mission, who we are. In turn, what we sometimes lack is the business responsibility.”
“But I’m convinced that the programme will help us with this. Look, when Taxistop first saw the light of day 40 years ago, we were alone in our sector. The term ‘sharing economy’ didn’t even exist yet! These days, there are a lot of other players on the market and we need to adopt a professional approach to stay relevant. But we don't need to be afraid of our competitors if we clearly define our own place in the market, I know that now.”
Expert instead of generalist
“By getting to know other profiles during the course, I also discovered that we may have to look at careers differently at Taxistop. In a small organisation, it’s often considered a strength to be multifunctional. But if you really want to make a difference, it's often more beneficial to develop into an expert. We need to strengthen the people in our organisation and give them the opportunity to work on their personal development. Following a programme at Vlerick is always high on the wish list.”
Ready to apply?
If your organisation is registered at https://www.goededoelen.be/ − a King Baudouin Foundation initiative − you can apply online. If you’re an international organisation based outside of Belgium, please get in touch with Valerie De Coninck for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org