Rotterdam Incubator Manager
Rijoy Putatunda comes to Refugees Forward with 24 years of experience in the corporate world gained across the Netherlands, Belgium, and the United States. He began his career with Philips and then spent half-a-decade with Allenx. Recently, Rijoy capped up a twelve-year stint at DSM, a global purpose-led, science-based company specialising in nutrition, health & sustainable living, as the Global Business Director Architectural Coatings. At Refugees Forward, Rijoy will head operations for the incubator at Amsterdam that begins in early 2019. Rijoy graduated with a Business Management degree from the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University in 1999. Prior to that, he gained a degree in Mechanical engineering from the Manipal Institute of Technology, Mangalore University, in India.
Hailing from India, Rijoy speaks Bengali, Hindi, and English. Given his time spent in Europe, he has acquired fluency in Dutch, French, and German. On his days off he enjoys a good book and makes plans to travel the world.
Get to know Rijoy
What interested you in choosing to work for Refugees Forward?
Being an immigrant myself back in 1995 I had to discover the process of integration sometimes the hard way. That is why the purpose of RF in creating a safe and fun haven for integrating newcomers with a refugee background having an agile and entrepreneurial mindset is inspiring. They help newcomers navigate a new environment by holding the mirror, building on their strengths and showing them the way around.
What has your experiences been with working with newcomers, students, and mentors during the Start-Up Weekend?
It was amazing to see how in two days, the driven teams of the newcomers, students and mentors were capable of getting from a fuzzy idea to a concrete pitch in terms of a value proposition and the first insights towards a revenue model and streams, including in some cases a validation of the idea in the field.
How do you see Refugees Forward progressing in the future?
I see RF as the best in class incubator in Europe as a significant force for positive change. They will transform the perception of people that newcomers have the capability of having a positive socio-economic impact.
If you could change one small thing about your community, country or the world, with regards to newcomers what would it be?.
I do not have a magic wand, but I do believe that by contributing through Refugees Forward I would be able to demonstrate that newcomers can be a force for positive socio-economic change.