In the week of March 12th to March 16th, a total of 60 social entrepreneurs, experts, stakeholders and partners came together in the Seinwezen for the SPARK Social Enterprise Safari.

This Safari was all about innovation, coworking and co-learning, networking and inspiring. The programme took place in the beautiful and social cities Haarlem and Rotterdam, where the social entrepreneurs and others involved got the opportunity to develop themselves and come to valuable insights concerning their businesses.

What did we do?

This first day of the Safari! This day started with a special word of the mayor of Haarlem Jos Wienen, about the social spirit of Haarlem. Then the learning started with a busy programme, including Mission Mapping, Master your Tone of Voice and Authentic Pitching.

The social entrepreneurs learned how to map their mission statement through different roles, they learned how to tell a great (personal) story and how to engage people to it,  and they learned about authentic pitching where the entrepreneurs spoke from their heart instead of their head.

At the end of this day there was a delicious dinner served by De Wereldkeuken. A successful first day of this inspiring Safari!

Day two, a busy day! The day started with an inspirational speech of Ido de Vries, lector at Leiden University of Applied Science. He shared his insights from the research he has done into the relation between social entrepreneurship and meaning. After this speech, there were two workshops streams for the social entrepreneurs, and in parallel there were one-on-one clinics and the Benelux Stakeholder Event.

George Tsekouras from the University of Brighton facilitated the kick-off for the workshops and clinics with his Innovation Model. After that, there was a workshop of Inholland University of Applied Science facilitated by Han van Kleef, which was all about ‘innovating in co-creation with shareholders’. The second workshop was facilitated by Stephanie van den Berg from Dopper, which was about ‘innovate your product’. The first one-on-one clinic was facilitated by Jason Mollring, expert in helping innovators build businesses, design solutions, develop capabilities and growth. The second one-on-one clinic was facilitated by Rebecca Luff, SE generalist supporter and coach in all areas of development for social enterprises.

Then the Benelux Stakeholder Event; the first edition! Policy makers, local governments, researchers,  financial institutions and other stakeholders from Belgium and Holland exchanged expertise to identify successful plans and actions.

After productive morning, everyone went into the city of Haarlem to visit some good examples of social entrepreneurs such as Kennemer Energie and MAAK Haarlem. After these visits, everyone went back to the Seinwezen for drinks and networking. Another successful day!

The last day in the beautiful and social Haarlem.This day started with a valuable speech of Jan van Betten, founder of Nudge. His speech about Nudge and his experience with social entrepreneurship and stakeholders was very inspiring for the social entrepreneurs, a nice start of this third day. It is the day of the Action Learning Sets! This is a unique method, used to identify the root cause of your problem as an entrepreneur. This interactive discussion allowed the social enterprises to reflect on the organization’s position in terms of development and innovation. A lot of connections were made and lessons were learned.

Besides the Action Learning Sets, the social entrepreneurs again visited some great examples in this context in the city of Haarlem, such as The Haarlemmer Kweektuinen, Brownies&Downies, MooiZooi and the DakKas.

This busy day ended with a nice dinner in the Seinwezen, prepared by Spruit en Thuis.

Day four, time for the Game Drive Rotterdam! The day started with an introduction of the game ‘Searching for the Secret Six’, which was made by students of Rotterdam University of Applied Science. The game started and leaded the participants along various social enterprises through Rotterdam, where they needed to search for a QR-code with the mobile app to get more information about the social enterprise. After this unique and inspirational journey through Rotterdam, there was a dinner at restaurant Posse.

The students from Rotterdam University of Applied Science made creative vlogs about this day, curious? Contact 

Last day of the Safari, again in the beautiful Rotterdam. The group gathered at the Excelsior stadium, and the vlogs of yesterday were presented. After that, there was an award ceremony for the student. Curious about the winning vlog? Watch it here.

There was a short tour through the Excelsior stadium and then the social entrepreneurs reflected on the past week and gave input about ‘looking forward’ in terms of the SPARK Social Enterprise program. After this reflection, there was a relaxing workshop where the group could express their tensions.

After a delicious lunch, it was time to say goodbye. Time flies when you are having fun!

Spark Social Enterprise Safari day four in Rotterdam by the Vlogmug


Benelux Stakeholder Event

During the Safari, the first Benelux Stakholder Event took place in the Seinwezen. During this event, policy makers, local governments, researchers, financial institutions and other stakeholders from Belgium and Holland exchanged expertise to identify successful plans and actions for the social Enterprises.

The main issues policy makers, researchers and other social enterprise supporting organisations are facing have to deal with ‘speaking different professional languages’, organizational complexity, mobilizing finance and impact assessment. 

But solutions are being found nevertheless. Good cases exist concentrating on sharing lessons learned, brokering, accelerator events, new financing mechanisms, increasing willingness to look for new arrangements at local governments and regular business 

We can build on these experiences by:  
- Enhance co creation in living labs.  
- Knowledge centers to organize “meet the other sectors and disciplines”  meetings 
- Local governments to take the lead to work in ‘ecosystems’ 
- Business to link up with social enterprise 
- Educational institutes (Schools, Universities) to strengthen the link with social entrepeneurs and set up joint projects 
- Create continuous learning Social Economy at schools and educational institutes 

Follow up 
- De Punt and Seinwezen to take the initiative to organize follow up sessions for Belgian/Netherlands stakeholder exchange in respectively Antwerp and Rotterdam. Frequency: two times a year  

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