Intern Experiences

What is it to work at FoodWIN?

5 Reasons to Work at FoodWIN
  1. Gain responsibilities, the chance to use your initiative and the opportunity to contribute to a small team.
  2. Get a true insight into the world and trajectory of social start-ups, as well as the network of social businesses around sustainable food in Brussels and Belgium.
  3. Work alongside a charismatic, dynamic and caring team.
  4. Learn new skills, from conducting professional sales meetings and client relationships, to cooking with food surplus.
  5. Do your little bit to help reduce the effects of climate change!

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From the eyes of an intern

If you were to have described to me before coming to work at FoodWIN all of the things I would learn during my internship here, I would have been incredulous that it would be possible to fit it all into 3 months of the summer. I did not expect that I would help develop the fundamental strategy of a social enterprise, that I would conduct calls and meetings with cities from around Europe, that I would represent the business at events, that I would meet a plethora of social entrepreneurs and learn about so many various green social innovations, that I would learn how to dumpster dive, how to hitchhike, how to make my own shampoo and how to make buckwheat risotto…

The range of learnings is wide and varied, much like the actions and work of FoodWIN, and the skills of the FoodWIN team. Spending time with a small team of like-minded and dedicated people was a wonderful experience of the value of collaboration. The team works on numerous and varied projects to fight food waste, all with the ultimate goal of combating climate change.

The core of FoodWIN, in my opinion, is not its manual, or having one fixed strategy. It is this team. It is the team members and their ability to adapt their complementary skills to whatever opportunities arise, to be flexible and to work together. This is the critical factor that distinguishes FoodWIN and this is the factor that made my internship so memorable.

The team wanted from the start to give me opportunities to use my skills to contribute as best I could to the work of FoodWIN. I was never a “mere intern”; I became a member of the team as soon as I arrived. This atmosphere where everyone’s contribution was really valued was a fantastic experience for me as an intern, as it gave me the chance to really contribute to the team’s work, to ask questions and to continually learn. I was given responsibilities and trusted with tasks, allowed to work independently, to take initiative, to learn as I went and to make suggestions and changes to our process throughout the work. I had the impression that my contributions and my work were valued and were really worthwhile.

This allowed me to really develop my professional skills in a business context and to gain an insight into the functioning of a non-profit enterprise as well as the challenges and opportunities facing a social start-up.

FoodWIN co-founder Joris accompanied me as a mentor, never hesitating to answer my queries, going out of his way to explain processes, to send me additional information to ensure I understood, and supporting me in any way he could, all despite his hectic and chaotic schedule. Aside from this support, our discussions and his reflections about climate change and wider issues taught me about things outside of the sphere of food waste, and were nothing less than enlightening.

As I have revealed, I learned a lot more than simply business skills, and what I gained from this internship clearly goes beyond that. I am delighted and proud to have been part of the FoodWIN family, even if only for a few months. I would recommend, without a second’s hesitation, working, interning, or collaborating with this team of talented and motivated people. Working in such an atmosphere was a pleasure and a privilege.

Written by

Anna Carthy

Business Development Intern

May - July 2017