This story is the first in a series introducing the four impact entrepreneurs taking part in the health-focused Amsterdam City Fellowship accelerator, which is part of Amsterdam Impact, the City of Amsterdam’s Social Entrepreneurship action programme. In this entry, we’ll meet Pien ter Hoeven, founder of Start met Happen.

Start met Happen makes healthy living more accessible

“We believe that the power of good nutritional behaviour can be used to improve the quality of life of residents in shared care facilities and reduce costs for healthcare organisations. Thus, we facilitate transitions to healthier food policies for care providers, and provide coaching and advice throughout this process. To make good nutritional behaviour more accessible, we also develop tools such as fresh DIY (do it yourself) meal boxes. These help people with special needs feel more self-reliant, as well as turn cooking together into something easy and fun for both shared living residents and their carers.”

Start met Happen wins grant and lands a launching customer

“Our business started in May 2016, with an idea that received a € 27,000 grant during the 2016 Sociale Helden West competition, and our current focus is on growing our enterprise. We’re proud to have participated in De Uitdaging accelerator, co-created by Impact Hub, Nyenrode Business School and the City of Amsterdam. Since then, we’ve taken on some new people and got our pilot funded by care provider Cordaan who became our launching customer. We’re proud to be one of the finalists of the health-focused Amsterdam City Fellowship accelerator, chosen to continue collaborating with the municipality on innovative solutions to health-related urban challenges.”

The City of Amsterdam and Impact Hub: an invaluable help

“De Uitdaging programme inspired us to hire our first employee and become a Leerwerkbedrijf  (learn/work company). Our business now officially helps train and guide people with disabilities. During the Amsterdam City Fellowship accelerator, we felt that the specialised expertise of our Impact Hub and municipality mentors fit perfectly with our growth phase and related finance and strategy issues.”

More about the Amsterdam City Fellowship

The Amsterdam City Fellowship, which is part of the City of Amsterdam’s Social Entrepreneurship action programme, facilitates collaboration between impact entrepreneurs and the City of Amsterdam. The aim of this close collaboration is to co-create and implement innovative solutions to health-related urban challenges. In this eight-month accelerator, which runs until December 2017, impact entrepreneurs develop their innovative products or services and receive expert guidance and mentoring from the City of Amsterdam and Impact Hub’s mentors, experts and extensive networks.

The programme started with a Business Model Challenge phase, during which the participants were guided through refining and adapting their products to client needs, and exploring potential sales avenues. After this phase, four companies – Rain(a)way, VraagApp, Start met Happen and Totem – were selected to continue collaboration with the municipality. The companies strive to help Amsterdam become more climate resilient, ensure that people with cognitive disabilities or living in care institutions feel more supported and empowered, and increase the potential of wearable tech to monitor serious health conditions.

To stay updated on the Amsterdam City Fellowship, as well as the City of Amsterdam’s work in connecting all players in Amsterdam’s social entrepreneurship ecosystem, follow Amsterdam Impact on Twitter.