On the January 23rd Design+Desires organized the ‘Dappere Ondernemers’ (brave entrepreneurs) public meeting in Amsterdam. Young entrepreneurs, residents, and business people from in- and outside the Dapperbuurt neighborhood in Amsterdam came together to pulse interest and discuss developing a neighborhood entrepreneurial hub, run by and for youngsters.
The meeting was a continuation of our research-and-do project ‘Me, Myself & My Job’ (2016) conducted in the Dapperbuurt neighborhood of Amsterdam. This research centers on youngsters and their dreams in relation to work and free time. Our findings show that majority of young people surveyed would rather be self-employed than work for a boss under fixed employment. However, the majority also expressed they often lack the necessary tools and feel insecure when it comes to setting things into motion. Our proposal was to create a ‘Hub’ as a launch platform, a space where personal growth, work ambitions and leisure time could intertwine. This hub could be modeled like the high-tech start-up accelerators – such as RockStart and Startupbootcamp- and run by youngsters who would like to start or already run their own business.
Various entrepreneurs and locals attended the meeting held in The Jungle Amsterdam, in the heart of the Dapperbuurt. After her presentation, Renny Ramakers asked the audience for feedback on the framework ideas she has for such a Hub. During the open mic, several youngsters and neighbors expressed their willingness to participate. The evening connected many people in the neighborhood who may have otherwise not known one another. A resident from the Dapperbuurt expressed his joy and noted if he had not come across our Facebook promotion, he would not have known all the young entrepreneurs in his neighborhood. He works as a coach in daily life and said he would be delighted to contribute to the Hub. Another entrepreneur, a lawyer shared his thoughts and offered his support in way of advice to youngsters in their initiatives for the Hub. Several civil servants of the Dapperbuurt were also in attendance. One of them told the youngsters that the City of Amsterdam might explore the possibilities to facilitate such a Hub.
Renny Ramakers emphasized that key to getting the Hub off the ground is that the youngsters themselves initiate its’ creation with plans and needs. Therefore Droog will offer practical support by means of creating a Supervisory Board with seasoned and well-experienced entrepreneurs who will coach the Hub-organizers. One young entrepreneur, Irene Drexhage was inspired to take the lead. She is now the chairman of a group of 18 youngsters that expressed interest in setting up a hub.
The day after the event, Renny Ramakers and Irene Drexhage were interviewed by business radio BNR Zakendoen to talk about the project. The next step will be a follow-up meeting between the Supervisory Board and the group of youngsters who want to run the Hub. This is just a start. We think the Hub concept could be carried throughout the Netherlands.
The public meeting was organized via a poster campaign of the same name shown the weeks prior (January 10-24, 2017) in 40 bus stops throughout Amsterdam East. Via a Facebook promotion, Droog interviewed and hand-selected 17 young, proud and successful entrepreneurs to showcase on the posters.