A hopeless romantic who leaves Indonesia for the Netherlands falls in love with Leeuwarden during a snowstorm and finally ends up in the startup world. A great starting point for a film script, right? But also, the story of Monica Putri Gunandar. “I’ve always been a hopeless romantic that felt destined to work in weddings. But working here made me realize what an interesting industry the startup world is, and now I don’t see myself going back to weddings. Yeah, hopefully, my own.
And the city; Leeuwarden is small compared to Jakarta, there is a sense of calmness that intrigues me. You can walk from one end to the other in an hour. What is great if you don’t like to cycle, like me. But also, with people that are smiling and just saying hello to you, it feels ‘neighborly’. And with a social life in which I meet new people every week. I guess it’s just the people and the vibe, that slowly tugs on your heartstrings and make you fall in love with it.”
Passion for helping startups grow
“I visited Leeuwarden once before moving here. Only, it was a Sunday and during a snowstorm. Nevertheless, I decided to study Leisure and Event Management at NHL Stenden. For that study, I had to find an internship in corona time. And that's how I got in touch with Jornt from Founded in Friesland. I did an interview and got to intern at the place where I found out that I have a passion for helping startups grow.”
Office manager without an office
After her studies and internship, Monica decided to stay in Leeuwarden. As a matter of fact, she joined a Frisian startup: "It all started a few months ago. Danny, the CTO of Flow Your Money Automation, was looking for help around the office and contacted Siska of Founded in Friesland and she referred him to me. We chatted a bit and eventually I did an interview with Daan van Klinken, whom I already met once during the Fuckup Nights, and we sealed the deal.
What I like most about working in the startup industry is seeing a business grow from the background."
My official position is office manager, but I do many other things. I always tell people I’m an office manager without an office because our office is managed by another office manager. I’m also helping with events, planning company trips, doing customer support and I’m starting to help with the finance and administration part. I told them I don’t like days that are the same, so I got what I asked for, and maybe a bit more.”
Startup to stay
“What I like most about working in the startup industry is seeing a business grow from the background. What we did during my internship at Founded; inspiring people to start their own businesses, you don’t really see that in a big city like Jakarta. But here you have the support and I want to be part of that. And if I can dream big? I see myself still helping startups, but as a coach: mentoring small businesses, like student startups. Because I feel they can use the most help.”
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