9 min read

Interview VG Vision

Wim de Jong

Written by

Young Redactie


november 17th, 2021

9 min read

Link naar het podcast interview


All fathers and mothers know: the golden years with a young family fly by. The toddler or preschooler you put to bed one night with a story and a joke is suddenly an adolescent going his own way. A moment of reflection makes it clear that it is these little things that are the big things in life.

Reason enough for successful entrepreneur and investor Wim de Jong to change course completely two years ago. He split his former company, which focused on property management, project development and property investments, into three new companies. All with a dedicated co-founder and a clear focus. From an overflowing agenda and many staff, he went to an empty agenda with no one on the payroll. This transformation allows him to focus every day on what really matters. For Wim, that is always being available and reachable for the co-founders of his companies and for his family.

Wim de Jong (1982) is an entrepreneur, investor and owner of Young Venture Group; an ambitious investment company in the heart of The Hague. Various, mostly real estate oriented, companies fall under Young Venture Group.

“I make sure that while they are exercising top sport undertake not to run out of breath.”

Hard work and freedom go hand in hand

“By now I’m very aware of what suits me and what doesn’t,” says Wim de Jong. A few years ago I still employed 25 people full time. At that time I was in charge of several real estate operations. It was always rush hour and I was always on. Two years ago I decided overnight to quit. It was time for a change of direction.”

And so it happened: Wim came up with a form of entrepreneurship in which hard work and freedom do go hand in hand. “I want to spend my time as much as possible on things I am good at and in which I can make a difference. I now do things efficiently that give me energy. In this form of entrepreneurship I connect myself to young enterprising people who dare to build with me. I give these people the opportunity to build a successful company as a co-founder. I provide the financial resources, give them a place within my office, bring in my knowledge and my experience and give these people the freedom they need.”

Doing business without getting out of breath

Wim sees many starting entrepreneurs with good plans that unfortunately do not reach the big success. Wim: “In these times, many starting entrepreneurs live with the illusion that if they just sit on the terrace and talk a lot about their plan, they will eventually make money somewhere. Unfortunately, practice is different. Getting a business off the ground is a top-class sport. It is difficult to turn 1 euro into 2 euros. Many people cannot do that. The complementary entrepreneurs with whom I work I guard against this failure. I make sure that they do not run out of breath while practicing top sport entrepreneurship. I motivate them to make a “to-do” list but also a “to-not-do” list. That they work hard but also enjoy it. That they create a healthy work-life balance. I myself have been presented with several bills, had no room for social activities for a long time and also learned that friendship and business is a dangerous combination. I now know that hard work and freedom within entrepreneurship can go hand in hand. I protect the co-founders who are at the helm of various organizations within Young Venture Group from this failure with my knowledge, experience and money.”

Entrepreneur and investor at the same time

The passion of entrepreneurship has been with Wim since childhood. This started at the age of 12 with a coffee stand in the park, running an events agency during his high school and setting up a national catering company for students during his studies. With his first savings he started investing in real estate. Wim: “By “doing it” and learning about purchases, permit procedures, construction, laws and regulations and zoning changes, I have built up entrepreneurial experience in the world of real estate. I am now dyed in the wool. This means that I know exactly what the pitfalls are and what you need to steer clear of. Because I have experienced it myself. These lessons are still in my head. And I find that very strong in my role now. I have more to offer than just money. Many investors have not been entrepreneurs themselves, and many entrepreneurs are not investors. I can finance companies but also advise them from my entrepreneurial point of view. A strong combination. The people who dare to build with me can benefit from both strategic knowledge and financial resources.”

At the edge of the ravine most beautiful flowers bloom

Before Wim started investing, he was always looking for opportunities. For example, in 2016 he bought the completely vacant Seven Cities office campus in Rijswijk. The office complex had to and would be taken off the balance sheet by the then owner and de Jong struck. Everyone advised against it, but Wim believes that it is precisely at the edge of the abyss that the most beautiful flowers grow. “What could be more beautiful than a recently built new office campus that can leave for a tip? The opportunities that everyone protects you from can sometimes be the biggest bang for your buck. But there is also a risk involved. For me, seeing the potential in advance and filling it in creatively is playing the game well. And handling the resources you have cleverly. I moved my company into this complex at the time, because why rent somewhere fancy if you still have vacant space? Within a year the entire complex was filled with tenants and after four years, in better economic times, I got rid of the project.”

For Wim, money is a means to play the game, to pass on. “I don’t just look at profitability. Sometimes it’s good to just not take an opportunity. There’s always something coming. It’s always good for something. I’m not guided by the motivation to make money.”

“At the edge of the ravine most beautiful flowers bloom.”

“Making well-considered choices, Working with people who give you energy and who remain close to you at all times.”

Opportunities for the right people

Wim built a unique office in the center of The Hague, which also functions as an incubator for the companies he starts. An amazing office, fully equipped and where nothing is missing for an entrepreneur to optimally build a business. In this way he creates optimal opportunities for the right people. Wim says: “When I decide to work with someone, I don’t look at diplomas, but at someone’s character. Is someone honest, eager to learn, modest, motivated and enterprising? Does someone fit with me and can someone work with me? Is he or she realistic, knowledgeable and willing to go the extra mile? “

Connect, create and steadily build on

Connect, create and build steadilyAlthough Wim is doing very well after the transformation, he wants to make sure that this does not turn into a real company with a large workforce. Wim currently works with an excellent team, all on a temporary basis and only when necessary. “I get energy from new opportunities, pioneering entrepreneurship and taking well-considered risks. But I’m not cut out for HR stuff, long meetings and the day-to-day operational side.”, says Wim. He is happy to leave this to someone in the ‘people management’ team who is good at it. “Because of my relatively empty agenda, I can focus on the important things every day. In this way I can always be there for the co-founders of my company. If there is a problem I am always available. If I were to be busy all day myself it wouldn’t work.”

In the meantime, Wim consciously lets a lot of opportunities pass him by. His passion at the moment is to connect, create and build steadily. By investing and not doing business too rigorously. Wim: ‘I like it best when my companies reinforce each other and can provide each other with business.

How cool is it if we develop a housing complex with one company, buy it with another and manage and rent it again with a third. Then we’ve come full circle. Wim would like to continue this line with the right entrepreneurs and plans. Making well-considered choices, working with people who give you energy and who continuously remain close to themselves.”

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