23 May 2024

An inspiring and interesting afternoon at Strijp TQ

Prestigious visit at Fontys ICT on Tuesday, May 14: none other than Dheeraj Pandey, entrepreneur and founder of Nutanix and DevRev, came to the Fontys ICT InnovationLab for a presentation and panel discussion. It turned out to be a highly interesting morning with inspiring results. "It’s truly wonderful that a man with such a CV just drops by to see us.

In a well-filled room with a great mix of students, lecturers, and members of SPARC, the Indian-born Pandey spoke for over three-quarters of an hour about entrepreneurship, AI, and his path to success. Pandey has an impressive career; the data scientist, developer, and entrepreneur has started two highly successful companies and has an estimated net worth of one billion dollars.

With great quotes like "Never complain about complaining customers," time flew by, and it was then time for a panel discussion. Members of SPARC, Fontys, and the business community talked about AI and the future.

Talk show host Rens van der Vorst looks back on an inspiring morning and sums up the day nicely: "I didn’t even have to do much, haha. You can tell that Dheeraj is a much sought-after speaker: he dives right into his story. Even during the panel, if panel members had a question, he was eager to respond. It was very interesting to witness."

SPARC

The morning was organized by SPARC, the cooperative of independent ICT companies that closely collaborates with Fontys ICT. Chairman Maurice van Veghel: "The beauty of the Fontys ICT InnovationLab is that it is a unique educational location where education, research, and the professional field come together. So we share knowledge, bundle innovation power, innovate, and inspire. It was the first time we did something like this. And that’s always a bit nerve-wracking: what will the turnout be? But we had a nicely filled auditorium."

For those who think that getting Pandey to attend was a major undertaking, they’re mistaken. Maurice: "I had met him once before. So when one of my contacts mentioned he was coming to the Netherlands, I just asked him. He was very eager, he loves speaking in educational settings. He also mentioned what he enjoyed most: that students came up to him afterward with questions, they wanted to know more, were curious. He’s very approachable. I find it especially wonderful that a man with such a CV just drops by to see us."

Bringing Together

There were also some lessons learned. Maurice: "Afterward, a student came up to me. He thought it was great, but he only found out late that it was even being organized. We want to organize more events like this after this first success, so that’s a good takeaway. It’s really wonderful to bring the business community, education, and research together in this way."

More information about SPARC can be found on their website.

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