Bart Van Den Eynde joined the family business of his parents shortly after his studies. Together with them and his sister, he led the company for several years before selling it in 2011.

In 2003 he became an investor and manager at Tim Van Steenbergen and later a consultant at Tim Coppens in New York. From a traditional family business (manufacturing and selling plastic containers) he moved into the creative world of fashion. So Bart has quite a broad view on business. At the age of 50, there are still a few things important to Bart: using his time well and building foundations together with others.

Being open to people with ideas

Bart has been an entrepreneur from an early age. As a little boy, he drove his go-cart around the family business, went with him to trade shows and participated in sales. “Some people are made to be entrepreneurs and some are not. For me, 20% of the population are born entrepreneurs. They have no other choice than to be entrepreneurs. Then you have a 20% to 30% who can learn. The rest are not made for it.” And you don’t have to, according to the entrepreneur: “It’s absurd to think that everyone has to be an entrepreneur and everyone has to succeed.” According to Bart, it is necessary to stimulate people and give them opportunities. “Some people do surprise, so you have to be very open to people coming up with ideas.”

Do not jump blind

“Back in the day, when animals still spoke, mentors didn’t exist. There was no need for them. You had to accomplish everything yourself. It either worked or it didn’t.” Now there is a lot more framework, he outlines.

“When you stand at the edge of a pool you don’t know if the water is too hot or too cold. You only know that at the moment you jump. Mentors can help with insight, from their own experience. Which keeps you from jumping blind.”

Find a business angel

Bart once gave a lecture to a group of business angels. During the question round he was asked all sorts of questions that made him think about the word business angel. “You’re not business angels, you’re return on investment angels,” he said. “A business angel is someone who says, ‘I believe in you and your startup, let’s jump in together.’ Whereas an ROI angel wants to know in advance how much he’s going to make from it.”