16 November, 2016

TC Rotterdam, in retrospect

First of all a big thank you to the trainer, the speakers and the participants for turning the training course held here in Rotterdam, within the school of social work, into such a wonderful experience for all involved.
It was a truly astonishing event.

The aim of the training course was to equip participants with the entrepreneurial tools and basics of business and financial management models for social enterprises. By visiting a diversity of good practices in Rotterdam and its surroundings participants got acquainted with the decision making processes of the social entrepreneurs involved.  By comparing and contrasting the participants established what the key success factors are for sustainable social and cultural entrepreneurship in order to achieve lasting positive social impact.


The stresses currently experienced by various social systems around the world regarding health, welfare, pensions, education, and so on, present a wide range of opportunities for social business to innovate in core products and services. Young people or the millennial generation will increasingly be required to define new initiatives grounded in social purpose and decide on business models that deliver sustainable, profitable growth creating positive impact to solve the complex challenges that our planet faces.

The 28 participants from Romania, Lithuania, Spain, Portugal, Italy and the Netherlands learned how to proceed from  a personal passion or personal needs to a realistic business plan or model with social value, knowing what steps to take and expect the unexpected.


Although all came with an open mind, they were far from empty-headed: they shared their expertise, exchanged ideas, debated key issues and built on each other's plans and projects. 


Here are some of the participants' statements:

Of course there are some differences between the countries, but in reality the core values and the motivation that all the people in this room have are the same, the strength and the will to be part of the change and improve our work. In this training course we are learning (and that is very important) to be practical. (Italian participant)

This training course has given me the possibility to see a different point of view, to create a  new method that is useful to become more active in my work. The EU has given me the opportunity to see what there is outside of my own country.(Italian participant)

This TC is bringing me new skills, new contacts and new networks, to develop a stronger core value proposition for our association in Spain so that we can become more sustainable and face the new challenge of reaching Europe within 3 years. This TC has opened so many new doors for me personally and also for my project. I really believe we can do better together. (Spanish participant)

 I had a great experience, learned so much and had a lot of fun with you! This international group has helped me a lot because different people have different ideas. (Dutch participant)

Hi everyone :) I hope all of you are now safe back home and relaxing from this complex and full immersion week! I wanted to thank all of you for voting for Portugal on the final project presentation through choosing my project and personal dream :)  I hope to
able to invite all of you in the future one day. When I will open this centre for the community, I'll have all of you in mind for sure. It was a great pleasure to meet so many interesting people and an inspiration to be with you all this past week. I already miss the walk from Witte de With to go to the Uni in the cold morning =)  Thank you amazing team!
I wish you all great success and new social business to pop up soon :)

(Final message from Portuguese participant)

  Guess what, next Sunday I will facilitate a 2h workshop about social impact of social entrepreneurship. Now ...after my Rotterdam experience I have input!
(after returning home, from a Romanian participant)

For our Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences it was a great experience to host such a dedicated group of youth and social workers from around Europe. That makes me think of something Margaret Mead once said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world.”

Note added about a month later:
here's a message from one of the participants. "Dear people! I just wanted to share with you that a foundation just gave us a grant to develop a social entrepreneurship formation during 6 months in rural areas with design thinking techniques. So I will try my best inspiring new people to "sustain their lives through social entrepreneurship".

28 October, 2016

Training Course to be held in Rotterdam

Here's the poster for the upcoming Training Course in Social and Cultural Entrepreneurship.
We are looking forward to receiving 28 participants here within the School of Social Work at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, location Museumpark.
The trainer will be Marianne Lindhout.

Take a quick look at a small image of the announcements on the poster here

This training course is part of a series of 3 training courses held within the framework of an Erasmus + project under the title of Sustain Your Life through Social Entrepreneurship, a two-year European project co-funded by the Erasmus + programme of the European Union.

Looking forward to meeting you all here at our venue, kind regards from the Rotterdam team.

21 September, 2016

Update on social entrepreneurship project

A Social Enterprise combines entrepreneurial activity with a social purpose.
Its main aim is to have a social impact.
Sustain your life through social entrepreneurship” is an Erasmus + KA2 Strategic partnership project managed by PRISM and funded with the support of the European Union. It aims at equipping young people with the necessary knowledge and tools to activate a social enterprise
Officially the project started in January 2016 with the kick off meeting of the partners in Palermo. During the meeting they focused on contents and upcoming steps for implementation.
The month of July 2016 has been a crucial moment for the implementation of the project, two important steps of the above-mentioned project have been implemented:
- The first Training Course - an international training held in Caltanissetta, from the 6th to the 10th, where 28 young people from Italy, Portugal, Spain, Romania, Lithuania, and Netherlands worked side by side. The training whose title is "Turning needs into social start ups" was implemented by PRISM. It equipped participants with project management competencies and tools necessary to build a sustainable social enterprise. It focused on all phases of the Project Cycle Management linked to a holistic approach for nonviolent community development. Through a non-formal, intercultural and creative learning process, the combination of study visits of local social enterprises, the testimony of local entrepreneurs operating in the social field and group work (both practical and theoretical) it has been possible to transfer to participants the knowledge and practical tools to start up a social business, offering innovative solutions to identified local community’s needs.
- The Second transnational meeting in Las Palmas, Canary Islands (Spain) from the 14th to the 15th of July. The main focus of the transnational meeting was about the TC in Caltanissetta, the assessment tools to better evaluate the feedbacks of the participants, the organization of the next Training Courses and the preparation of the project outputs according to the TCs feedbacks. Moreover, the partnership had the opportunity to evaluate the work implemented so far and to set the next important steps of the project, also through a discussion on the internal evaluation and quality assurance of the project, on the results of the communication strategy and on the financial aspects of the project.
The next training in Rotterdam from the 30th of October to the 5th of November 2016.
Keep up to date via our FB page - Sustain your life through Social Entrepreneurship


Here are some quotes from the participants of the TC in Caltanisetta, Italy:

We all tried to collaborate and had the chance to share our experiences and knowledge about the social entrepreneurship phenomenon and its potential in the youth field and non-formal education in our own countries and also in Europe.”

“This project aims at the creation of a favourable environment to encourage and enable young people to pursue social entrepreneurship in their local communities. Entrepreneurship and self-employment could help young people to develop new key competences, respond to the emerging social needs and fully participate in society.”

“What I've learned from the Training Course in Caltanisetta is that with creativity you can find new ways for your entrepreneurship. What I've learned the most is that international contact can give you new ideas. In every country the will handle social needs in a different way. They gave me inspiration for starting new activities and to try to start a social centre in Surinam”.

21 April, 2016

Talking about social entrepreneurship

We can let our experiences define us, or choose to define our experiences,” says Luke Rodgers, founder of Foster Focus, an organization that challenges the stigmas and labels assigned to children in care in the UK. 
As a care-leaver from the UK foster system, Luke understood a lot from a young age about a broken system. "I pledged to myself that I would dedicate my career to finding ways to give young people more positive outcomes.”
By founding Foster Focus, Luke transformed his experiences into valuable insights for foster care providers and children. Foster Focus challenges the stigmas and labels assigned to children in care that often prevent them from thriving in foster settings. The venture’s peer-to-peer program equips youth with tools to understand their experiences in a positive way. Through the programme, participants develop facilitation and speaking skills, eventually designing their own workshops to share what they’ve learned with their peers.
To address systems-level change, Foster Focus combined theory, policy, and the personal experiences of care-leavers to conduct trainings that help youth-serving institutions better advocate for children’s legal rights and more proactively include children’s voices in decision-making processes. The impact so far: increased awareness of children’s rights among foster agencies as well as over 1,000 youth in care reached through peer-led leadership trainings.
Luke Rodgers’ journey from foster care statistic to champion of systems change was filmed during Generation Now, an event hosted by IYF, Laureate International Universities, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). During the event, young social entrepreneurs from around the globe had the opportunity to share their innovative solutions addressing education, gender equality, youth engagement, and more.
In his story, Luke shared a staggering statistic. "Fifty percent of the UK’s homeless population are people who have left the foster care system." At age 15, Luke was part of that statistic. He slept on trains at night and went to school during the day. Today, he is a 2015 Laureate Global Fellow and recently named Entrepreneur of Excellence by the National Diversity Awards.
Before that, in 2013, he had already been awarded the Children's Achievement Award for his work developing ways to engage with young people in the UK and Europe, as well being awarded Young Social Entrepreneur of the year 2014 by Unltd.
Watch this video to hear Luke talk about Reframing the Narrative of Foster Children in the UK.
Interestingly, he observes : "the more I talked to social workers the less and less I wanted to be one".
To round off with the cherry on the cake: the juxtaposition of social worker's statements on a referral form  next to the real voice and perspective of the young person involved: an eye opener !