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".