From the taxes office to empowering young entrepreneurs


Alain Raap is becoming quite the name in connecting and empowering young entrepreneurs, and when I say young, I mean 13 years old young. I had the pleasure to interview him recently after he published an article about his story and why young people should innovate businesses, which you can read here in Dutch.

Alain has worked for 30 years in the Dutch taxes office and and was only five years ago that he had his chance to innovate and bring his own ideas to the department. In a contest for the most innovative ideas he proposed that the government gets closer to young people and make the request for taxes return easier. The idea came from his own house, where his sons were having trouble asking for their taxes back due the complexity of the system. His solution? An easy mobile app.

The app wasn’t concretised immediately but it lead him to meet a whole new world of young programers, hackatons and communities that were working to make mobile apps what we know nowadays. With his vast network and knowledge and the new acquired relationships he found himself connecting those young entrepreneurs to the people who needed them and vice-versa. At the same time he started teaching teenagers his own job, programming! In that way he empowered those youngsters and in a way, himself.

When I asked Alain what he thinks that the taxes agencies should do he replied that they should what every company nowadays should do to keep relevant and alive: be open. Open to the new generation to get in, sniff around and make the necessary changes. Let the door open and fresh air come in, that’s only way of truly innovating. Might be scary but it’s definitely worth it.

Alain is a great example of how in society 3.0 we don’t do only one thing. We don’t fit in only one box, but in a lot of them. Even if you work in one of the most traditional organisations you can be an innovator, maybe if not inside your company somewhere else. So what is it that you want to do? Here is a speech – one of Alain’s favourites – to inspire you today.

To know more about Alain and his initiatives you can check his linkedin page here.