Making a difference in Amsterdam  

As winners of the Amsterdam City Fellowship – an accelerator the City of Amsterdam co-developed with Impact Hub Amsterdam – VraagApp, Start met Happen and Rain(a)way got the chance to collaborate with the municipality to try and solve urban health challenges, such as:

  • Independence for people with lower IQs – with an app and network of volunteers  providing answers to daily questions (VraagApp).
  • Healthier and happier residents of care institutions – with nutritious meals and fun cooking habits (Start met Happen).
  • A climate resilient city – with beautifully designed tiles that help get rain seep directly into the ground (Rain(a)Way).

“Impact entrepreneurs strive to solve the same challenges we, the municipality, are also working on. So what could be better than joining forces?”, says Ellen Oetelmans, who leads the City of Amsterdam’s Social Entrepreneurship Programme. In the case of VraagApp, teaming up with the City resulted in a pilot that will include people who receive support under the municipality’s Social Support Act, as well as clients of the Work, Participation and Income department. “We got introduced to civil servants such as Healthcare Policy Advisor Johan de Vries, who became one of our ambassadors. Johan really helped us navigate different municipality departments and explore opportunities for the pilot we recently secured”, explains Frank Schalken of VraagApp.

Watch this video to see how the City of Amsterdam and Impact Hub helped VraagApp grow:

“The best thing about the programme was that the content matched the stage I was at, as a starting entrepreneur”, explains Pien ter Hoeven of Start met Happen. “You receive very concrete tools to get going, such as sales training”, adds Fien Dekker of Rain(a)way.

Here’s how Start met Happen and Rain(a)way benefitted from the Amsterdam City Fellowship:

More about the Amsterdam City Fellowship

The Amsterdam City Fellowship acceleration programme, which is part of the municipality’s Social Entrepreneurship Programme, facilitates collaboration between impact entrepreneurs and the municipality on solving Amsterdam’s most pressing health challenges. In addition to co-creating innovative solutions for the city’s urban health issues, the Amsterdam City Fellowship also aims to support visionary entrepreneurs in growing their business and making a difference.

What happened during the Amsterdam City Fellowship

The accelerator ran between May and December 2017 and saw nine impact entrepreneurs develop their products or services with expert guidance and mentoring from the City of Amsterdam and Impact Hub Amsterdam’s extensive networks. The Amsterdam City Fellowship began with a business model focused phase, during which we helped the participants explore potential sales avenues and adapt their products or services to client needs. Following this phase, VraagApp, Start met Happen and Rain(a)way were selected as the winning fellows after pitching to a jury of health policy advisors, impact entrepreneurs and business experts.