Within the HZ, there's a growing group of changemakers. These are individuals who, in exceptionally entrepreneurial ways, contribute to our societal missions. They make a difference by initiating positive actions with others, driven by their passion. In doing so, they offer creative and sustainable solutions for broad prosperity today, in the future, in Zeeland, and beyond. Often, they are not visible enough. With the Changemaker Award, the New Business Models research group, led by Ageeth van Maldegem, aims to change that.

The Changemaker Award is intended to spotlight societal initiatives by (former) students, teachers, and staff of HZ. In this video, Ageeth elaborates on the story behind the award. Additionally, some ambassadors in the videos at the bottom of this page explain why the Changemaker Award is so important. The winning initiative of this award will be rewarded with:

  • 750 euro to further the project.
  • A (literal) stage for the initiative. All nominated initiatives will pitch during the Entrepreneurs for the Future event on May 24th. This event is attended by about a hundred people interested in social entrepreneurship.
  • You become part of the Changemaker Community. In this community, we will soon share our knowledge and experiences regarding social entrepreneurship. We will seek out best practices, even beyond HZ. We expand our network. Together, we ensure that our initiatives have even more impact.

Nominated Initiatives

The following initiatives have been nominated for the Changemaker Award 2024:

  • The startup BrewRight, which is committed to capturing CO2 naturally released during beer production, so breweries can reuse this CO2 in their process.
  • The innovative green spaces and green facades of BotanicArch.
  • The Stratenmakers who aim to address social unrest by implementing preventive safety measures.
  • Digital anatomy model by Zefanja Jobse, Alex Doerfer, Bas Nijsse, and Merel Martherus, so Nursing students are no longer dependent on expensive books and low-fidelity plastic dolls.
  • Dilek Gül-Dogan, who connects people in various environments, for example, during social evenings and refugee work.
  • The DownUnder/Ocean Ceramics tableware made from mussel shells left over after consumption.
  • Mohammed Abdulhak, who is developing a sign language app that recognizes sign language through your phone's camera and translates it into text.
  • Jorien Mesu-Minderhoud, who organizes SDG Events, where students and teachers gain better insight into how to translate abstract ambitions into concrete impact.
  • Noa Eggebeen, who raises funds for a maternity hospital in Gambia through her initiative Noa4Gambia.
  • The initiative of Wesley van Schaijk to use noise-canceling headphones to limit involuntary muscle movements.
  • Greta Schneider and Nina Bartusch, who aim to raise awareness of the positive and negative effects of volunteer work in Africa through their research on 'voluntourism'.

The nominated submissions will be judged by a jury of external entrepreneurs (Tanja Wieringa, Thomas Lans, and Nina de Korte) based on the following criteria: creativity, distinctiveness, sustainability, degree of focus on achieving impact, connectedness with others, and passion.

On May 24th, the recipient of the Changemaker Award will be announced during the Entrepreneurs for the Future event. This event marks the inauguration of Ageeth van Maldegem as a lecturer in New Business Models. Read more about this event here.


Do you have questions or comments about the Changemaker Award and Community? Contact Julia Deelman: julia.deelman@hz.nl or Ageeth van Maldegem: a.van.maldegem@hz.nl.

Research group

HZ Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

View research group

'We are looking for changemakers'

Ageeth van Maldegem, lector New Business Models

'We make sure they inspire others'

Barbara Oomen, chairwoman Executive Board

'There are so many great examples in Zeeland'

Elina Boogaard, alumni programme staff member

'We have so many talents'

Kevin van Gorkom, lecturer Social Work

'We need to spotlight students above all'

Irsan Widarto, lecturer Entrepreneurship

'These people make a difference'

Joeri Versluis

'There are a lot of talented people at HZ'


'I'm very curious to hear all the stories'

Sarah de Bakker

'We need to put the spotlight on these individuals'

Uday Laiker

'Making a change in complex'

Tanja Moerdijk

'Your time at HZ is a formative one'

Femke IJsseldijk

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