Name: Liedewij de Graaf
Startup: IKcircuLEER

In 2014, Liedewij started the initiative of IKcircuLEER. With IKcircuLEER, she develops teaching methods to educate VMBO pupils about sustainability and circular economy, in an inspiring and practical way. She has been participating in the Get Business programme since 2015.


IKcircuLEER started a few years ago. How did you start?

Since 2014 I have been working accelerating on the transition to a circular economy through education. As a former project manager in an educational publishing company, developing teaching methods and material was a logical next step for me to take. Next to developing these methods and materials we also organise meetings for teachers. The idea of IKcircuLEER won the ASN Bank Wereldprijs in 2014, and afterwards the project has turned into reality.

So what does IKcircuLEER do today?

With IKcircuLEER we develop teaching methods, in which cases of sustainable entrepreneurs are key. By this, we create a from practice originating knowledge base about the circular economy for VMBO pupils (in English: pre-vocational secondary education pupils). These modules are developed in cooperation with a platform to which 180 schools are linked. We also built a new version of the project 100-100-100.nl, especially for schools, which is a project that is focussed on ‘A school without waste: is that possible?’.

In what way does IKcircuLEER contribute a better world?

I think our most important contribution is that we operationalize wider issues, such as sustainability and circular economy, in education for VMBO high school pupils. In sustainability education, lower education levels are often overlooked, while this is a very important target group. Most teachers in these levels want, and have to, pay attention to sustainable entrepreneurship, but they experience difficulties in doing this. In our teaching methods, we combine different case stories from sustainable entrepreneurs in a coherent method. We try to make it easy for teachers to pay attention to this theme in an up to date, inspiring and effective way. Hereby, we invite pupils to share their sustainable ideas and actions, to learn them that little daily actions can change more than they think.

We heard that there are many things going on around IKcircuLEER recently. Can you tell us something about that?

In a few weeks IKcircuLEER is starting a crowdfunding campaign to further develop our teaching methods and to implement our methods faster in education. This campaign starts on the 14th of April, via LovetoFund and CrowdaboutNow. Related to this, we have an event on the 11th of May, where Mr. Jan Terlouw will be our speaker. We like to welcome everyone who is interested to join!

What is your dream for the development of the ‘Next Economy’ and IKcircuLEER?

My dream is realizing an economy of love. To do this, I have to work very hard every day, and dare to be an entrepreneur. I am working for an economy that doesn’t cause damage to people, the environment and an economy that takes children into account. An economy in which ecology and economy strengthen each other, that is based on the UN Global Sustainable Development Goals to generate win-win situations for business and society. The recent convention of political youth organizations and Jan Terlouw gives direction for both society as a whole, and as a point on the horizon for all political parties to work on. IKcircuLEER will grow further in facilitating knowledge sharing and collaboration between pupils, teachers and businesses for the next twenty years. Until this economy of love has grown up.

What is the most important lesson you learned from the Get Business programme?

The Get Business programme encouraged me to go on with my ideas, to be disciplined, to dare to try new things, to test my concept and in particular: to just do it. The accountability sessions on the other hand gave me a lot of practical advices and encouragement. Overall, the Get Business programme challenged me to formulate my goals as precise as possible, and preferably: as ambitious as possible. This really gave me the courage to go out and experience what it’s like to be an entrepreneur!

Do you want to know more about Liedewij and IKcircuLEER?

Take a look at www.ikcirculeer.nl. Are you interested in the crowdfunding campaign? Look at lovetofund.com/projecten/ikcirculeer.