Meet the Team: Ingrid Wakkee

9 Apr 2024 08:00 | Entrepreneurship

Who are the researchers of the Research Group Entrepreneurship and what do they do? In this series we would like to introduce you to one of the researchers from the Research Group! Today it is time to introduce lector Ingrid Wakkee.

Ingrid Wakkee is lector of the AUAS-wide Research Group Entrepreneurship at the University of Applied Sciences Amsterdam (AUAS) and scientific director of the Centre for Economic Transformation (CET). She leads the Research Group Entrepreneurship team, which consists of more than 15 researchers, business developers, community managers and start-up coaches.

In her role as lector, she is responsible for the practice-oriented research program on entrepreneurship. Most of her research takes a social capital or social network perspective and focuses on the themes of diversity, sustainability and digitalization.

From south, to east, to west

Ingrid began her academic career studying International Business at Maastricht University because of her interest in business administration and curiosity in foreign countries. She received her doctorate from the University of Twente in Entrepreneurship Studies and Management. Before joining AUAS, she worked for a long time at de Vrije Universiteit. There she was among other things involved in developing education, business development and supervising PhD students.

Curious by nature

The world of entrepreneurship has always fascinated her. She has a great belief in tech and manufacturing companies, with innovation and technology as the basis for entrepreneurship. Ingrid is hands-on, likes to deliver immediate results and enjoys juggling multiple balls in the air. Qualities that would serve her well as an entrepreneur and are also indispensable in her role as a lector. That she's pursued a career in academia doesn't come as a surprise to longtime acquaintances. Ingrid is known as someone who is delving into books from a young age, asking questions and being curious by nature. She greatly appreciates the work and responsibilities that the position of lector entails: she works closely with others, participates in various projects, research and activities, and leads a fantastic team.

Engaged scholarship

Ingrid is driven by an engaged ambition in her role as lector. Together with her team team, she wants to show the reality of entrepreneurship. That means not only sharing success stories, but also learning from failures. Another aim is to dispel myths about entrepreneurship, the biggest of which is that entrepreneurs would have infinite agency. It matters to the success of entrepreneurs where they stand in a network and what resources and means they have access to. The goal of showing the reality of entrepreneurship is to get students ready for the future. By telling the honest story, they can prepare for this reality and develop strategies to deal with it. In addition, Ingrid also hopes that her research will contribute to the proper development of policy.

Small and medium-sized enterprises as the backbone of the Dutch economy

Ingrid values research on the role of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). "After all, they are both numerically and culturally the backbone of the Dutch economy: by far the majority of Dutch people work in a small or medium-sized company and most innovations also originate from SMEs. Moreover, SMEs are more closely involved in the local community and are therefore more inclined to be socially responsible businesses. They contribute to local initiatives and projects that promote community resilience."

Ingrid sees a role for knowledge institutions such as the AUAS to act as a knowledge partner for entrepreneurs. Many entrepreneurs have questions in which knowledge institutions can help. These can be practical questions, for example about design or marketing, and questions about the realization of the demands of society, for example regarding digitalization, inclusion and sustainability.

International in work and private life

In addition to her work at the AUAS, Ingrid is a member of the core team of the Dutch Entrepreneurship Lecturers Platform (NLPO), which connects lecturers Entrepreneurship in the Netherlands and promotes interests at entrepreneurship associations and The Hague. She is also a board member at Dutch Academy of Research In Entrepreneurship (DARE), is an adjunct research fellow at Fachhochschule Münster and a visiting professor at Thapar School of Management in Punjab, India.

Ingrid enjoys traveling, both for business and pleasure. What she finds particularly special about traveling for business is getting to know a country from a different perspective. Privately, she prefers cultural and city trips. Her best travel experience was traveling with her partner across Transcaucasia. She also enjoys cooking internationally. Her favorite cuisines are North African and Indian because of the rich spices and plenty of vegetarian options.

Advice for aspiring researchers

Finally, a piece of advice Ingrid would like to pass along to aspiring researchers: "Don't be intimidated by the word 'research.' Actually, doing research just means 'being curious.'"