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Masterclass with self-made entrepreneur Roland Kahn

“If you can dream it, you can do it!”

“You are the best dressed audience I have seen in a long time. I have spoken in front of many students, but you beat them all!” entrepreneur Roland Kahn opens his masterclass at Tio Amsterdam. He is there as a guest to teach the students all about entrepreneurship. And with 42 years in the field, he speaks from experience. The secret: If you can dream it, you can do it!


Kahn refers to himself as a MOP: Master Of Practice. He never completed school, but learned all he knows from practical experience. He worked his way up from assistant to the assistant buyer at the Bijenkorf to assistant buyer, until he finally became the buyer. He discovered how much he enjoyed procurement and opened his own boutique. His objective: for people to leave the store satisfied. With success: CoolCat, America Today, M&S Mode and V&D Concepthouse followed after his boutique.

If you can dream it, you can do it

How he became such a successful entrepreneur? Dare to dream and follow your dreams: if you can dream it, you can do it, is Kahn’s motto. You do however need help from others, so ensure you ‘connect’ with others. And, also important: do not allow yourself to be distracted by the way in which a message is delivered, but listen to the actual message. When he was told what he should do to revive CoolCat’s decreased sales, he remembered the one message that could save CoolCat: drop the prices.

Many tips

And Kahn has plenty more tips for the students who are all ears: focus on a niche market, look after your employees and focus primarily on positive people (both clients and employees), and do not wait for something to happen but take action. And while practice has brought him far, he also emphasises the importance of theory: you cannot explain practice without theory; just try to explain what a mango tastes like!

“It was really inspiring”

“An inspirational story”, according to International Business Management student Raymond. The other students are just as enthusiastic. Hotel and Event Management student Charlotte: “He conveyed his story clearly; I am particularly impressed with the way in which he identified gaps in the market.” Hotel school student Anouk was also pleased she attended this evening: “I found the masterclass very enjoyable; he can be proud of what he does. It was informative too; it really inspired me.” 

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