The Amsterdam City Fellowship: An accelerator for health-focused social enterprises

The health-focused Amsterdam City Fellowship, which is part of the City of Amsterdam’s Social Entrepreneurship Action Programme, is developed in collaboration with Impact Hub Amsterdam. The programme stimulates and facilitates collaboration between social entrepreneurs and the City of Amsterdam, as well as with the City’s partners. For approximately 8 months, social entrepreneurs refine their business models and products / services together with the City of Amsterdam and Impact Hub Amsterdam’s business experts. The aim of this close collaboration is to co-create and implement innovative solutions to health-related urban challenges.

Amsterdam City Fellowship participants

  • All4elevation: Crowd-sourced elevation data to mitigate and prevent floods. 
  • GoBioMiles: A platform that facilitates the choice for biofuel by every traveller, rewarding that traveller with free electric taxi rides to the airport
  • Start met Happen: A fresh and healthy do-it-yourself meal for shared living spaces in care institutions.
  • Access to Health: Improved accessibility of care for expats and migrants.
  • Contagiously Healthy: Providing nutritional advice and supporting people to ‘break up’ with sugar
  • Rain(A)way: Permeable tiles that let rain water circulate directly into ground water and help make water visible in the city to contribute to a climate resistant city.
  • Nettie: Activating a patient’s social network to improve collaboration between professional and informal care.
  • VraagApp: An online service that answers daily questions of people with cognitive disabilities within five minutes by hosting a community of volunteers.
  • Totem Open Health Community: A digital care community that creates affordable and accessible health solutions, based on open source wearable technology.

The selection criteria

Participating enterprises in the Amsterdam City Fellowship were selected based on the following criteria:

  • are registered at the Chamber of Commerce
  • focus on solutions to the urban challenges in the four health-related areas outlined below, namely e-health and care, clean air and mobility, healthy lifestyle 0-100, and urban green
  • are entrepreneurs who:
    - have working prototypes that provide solutions to urban societal challenges relevant to the City of Amsterdam or
    - are looking to develop new products/services for their existing ranges of products/services or
    - are looking to adapt existing products/services for application to a new societal challenge
  • want to refine their products/services in collaboration with the City of Amsterdam
  • want to learn and grow together with fellow impact-driven entrepreneurs
  • are looking for new customers and are interested to sell their product/services to the City of Amsterdam and its partners
  • want to expand their product/service reach and social impact to the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area

Amsterdam City Fellowship programme impact areas

E-health and care:

To ensure that all of Amsterdam’s residents can live independently and fully participate in our society, the City of Amsterdam targets organisations that provide:

  • home care services for seniors that can help them maintain their independence, and remain in their own homes for as long as possible;
  • best practices in fall prevention;
  • solutions that tackle hidden (mental) issues among non-western cultures;
  • ways to mitigate negative consequences of dementia;
  • solutions to loneliness among elderly people, such as social networks, and mobility increase;
  • services/products that tackle financial and social issues - such as debt and lack of social skills, respectively - among mentally disabled people;
  • approaches that strengthen self-reliance and social participation of Amsterdam’s residents.

Clean air and mobility

To improve air quality, the City of Amsterdam is looking for organisations that:

  • have found a way for cleaner transportation through the city;
  • offer cleaner or circular fuel for wood burning stoves;
  •  developed new solutions for limiting the amount of pollutants in the air.

Healthy lifestyle 0-100

To ensure all of Amsterdam’s residents are fit and healthy, the City of Amsterdam is looking for products / services that:

  • stimulate food entrepreneurs to actively offer healthier products
  • prevent and/or tackle obesity

Urban green

To make Amsterdam greener, more attractive to live, and ultimately climate-proof, the City of Amsterdam is looking for smart solutions that:

  • tackle excessive rain water;
  • handle green waste streams;
  • increase and/or protect insect populations.

Participants in the Amsterdam City Fellowship benefit from:

  • individual meetings with policy and procurement officers, who will share their expertise on procurement processes and regulations, as well as pressing health-related urban challenges in need of solutions;
  • introductions to the City of Amsterdam’s partners, crucial insights for developing a better business model for their social enterprises;
  • training modules on topics such as business modelling, marketing and PR, pitching, public procurement, finance, and team development;
  • small-group mentoring and leadership coaching from seasoned entrepreneurs and business experts;
  • peer-to-peer learning and support sessions with like minded social entrepreneurs;
  • individual legal support sessions;
  • access to pitch events, where they can test their pitching skills and potentially secure additional support and investment;
  • An Impact Hub Amsterdam membership, which includes access to the Impact Hub’s vibrant local and global community, inspiring events and beautiful Impact Hub co-working space at the Royal Tropical Institute.

The Business Model Challenge (May 2017 - July 2017)

 During the third selection round, a group of selected entrepreneurs refine and innovate their business model. The aims of this phase are to:

  • strengthen the operational structure of each social enterprise
  • adapt the product/service in such a way that it matches the needs of potential clients’ needs; 
  • explore potential sales opportunities. 

At the end of this phase, the four organisations that have the best innovative solutions for the challenges of the City of Amsterdam’s network will be invited to take part in the Amsterdam City Fellowship. 

The Amsterdam City Fellowship (September 2017 - December 2017)

The four selected organisations will continue to explore collaboration with the City of Amsterdam  and its network in facilitated meetings, further develop their product or service, while also strengthening their personal leadership skills.

Amsterdam City Fellowship selection criteria

A jury of experts will assess applications using the following criteria:

  • innovation and vision, especially with regard to finding solutions to problems rather than fighting their symptoms;
  • potential impact of the product or service and efficiency of the team;
  • collaboration and implementation, meaning the feasibility of planning and business case, scalability and the extent to which the entrepreneur is open to collaboration with the City of Amsterdam.

"The entrepreneur that stands out for me, is someone with just that little bit of extra feistiness and a hint of activism. With some healthy business sense! Someone who creates space for his/her innovation," said Ilse, the Programme Scout of the Amsterdam City Fellowship. 

Amsterdam City Fellowship programme fee

For the programme’s Business Model Challenge, we require a fee of €799, with a maximum of two people allowed for each participating enterprise, including the organisation’s (co-) founder. This commitment fee covers part of the costs of your participation in the programme, while the remaining costs are covered by the City of Amsterdam.