The importance of getting to know the stories of our collaborating entrepreneurs.

ABCitiEs is all about working together in entrepreneurial networks. Entrepreneurs are working together in their area to improve not only their collective businesses, but also to give shape to their social and physical environment. In the project of ABCitiEs, we want to really, deeply understand how this works. Why do they collaborate, who is involved, what is their goal? How are they supported by government or other institutions and what is their relation with residents? What works and what not? How do cases across the regions in Europe differ? That’s why, for the ABCitiEs project, it’s very important to connect with these initiatives and cases of Area Based Collaborative Entrepreneurship and to collect their stories. How do we do that? We hereby bring forth two important tactics and give an impression of the first stakeholders in Amsterdam.

Captivating and giving back

For an entrepreneur or city maker, it’s not easy to find the time to tell their story and to attend extensive stakeholder meetings. That’s why we find it important captivate and support the stakeholders. We do this by limiting the time of events and organizing meetings at the end of the day, and to also make them inspiring and fun. Good food is also a great stimulator.

Another way is by giving back. Giving back can mean: connecting them to other people, helping them learn from each other’s experiences, bring inspiration and best practices and where possible tackling urgent problems that the initiatives face. Another way is by doing action research. In action research, we are not only observing the initiatives, but also participating in their daily activities where relevant. Where needed we support them with our connections, with relevant tools or methods in order to find other ways or new solutions. Finally, we also try to make them shine. So where and when possible, we give them and their stories attention in local newsletters, in media or in events.

First Amsterdam stakeholders

In Amsterdam, we reached out the key figures of four different cases of ABCE and united them with researchers, experts and policy makers, on a first stakeholder meeting. Those first stakeholders all work as a connector in the neighbourhood and in entrepreneurial networks, and were involved in the initiation of the initiatives. Some of them were financially supported by local government. In this first stakeholder meeting, we got a glimpse of their stories. Beginning in bakeries, on the street or the café, connecting entrepreneurs and finding common goals and a way to unite. Now growing and facing varying difficulties and successes. And it was especially inspiring to see their strong networks and broad range of activities!

In the next newsletter, one or two initiatives will shine and tell their story.