Foto: Peter Schmidt

Rotterdam entrepreneurs come together in challenging times

Get creative and work together

The coronavirus situation has been evolving over the past weeks, forcing everyone – from individuals to small business owners and corporates to change the way they go about their day-to-day lives. Rotterdam-based businesses have been no exception.

Those are challenging times but they are also times that call on entrepreneurs to get creative and work together. Collaboration is at the core of what Voor Goed does every day. As an agency that connects social entrepreneurs, corporates, the municipality and investors, this is the time to show how they can all work together towards mutual goals.

“What we see is that a lot of social entrepreneurs are being hit by the crisis,” says Precilla Schrier, responsible for Communications at Voor Goed. “We help them by giving the right advice on how to proceed and to promote their products and services even more than usual. Our role as a connector is more crucial than ever.”

One of the main changes over the past weeks is that bars and restaurants have all closed, and (social) entrepreneurs have had to look for new ways to sell their products. Take Rechtstreex as an example.

“Rechtstreex is an online platform, already breaking the regular food chain by selling only products from local farmers and producers within the Rotterdam area,” says Precilla. “The demand for products on the platform is higher than ever, so the team opened a special tab to showcase and sell products from social entrepreneurs such as: Coffee from Heilige Boontjes, Burgers from De Krekerij and products from Freggies. It’s amazing that in times like these we see that entrepreneurs are willing to help each other out.”

Voor Goed, too, has dedicated a page where (Rotterdam) social entrepreneurs are being showcased with their products. Joining the list of business owners can be done via this form.

There is no doubt that entrepreneurs that rely on communities to drive their business forward will be the most impacted in this crisis. On the upside, however, they are also the ones that find new and creative ways to engage with those communities.

Mike van Gaasbeek is the founder of Stager, an event management and ticketing solution used by venues, theaters, clubs, festivals and event organizers. Like many other fields, the event scene has also been heavily affected by the Corona crisis. “We have seen a huge drop in ticket sales volumes and many event organizers have invested big amounts in advance but have to refund money to ticket buyers because of cancellations,” says Mike.

In order to keep the scene alive, the company is developing a Refund or Donate tool where ticket buyers can ask for a partial refund of the money paid for a ticket, or donate the full amount to the event organizer.

“We hope ticket buyers are willing to support the organizers who have provided them in the pre-Corona times with joy, fun, entertainment, so they can survive these harsh times,” he says. Stager is taking the lead in a difficult situation that they hope to make at least a little bit easier for everyone in the event scene. It is yet another example of a company taking collaboration to the next level.

If you ask Precilla what advice she and her team have for entrepreneurs in these challenging times, it would be to stay active and build the right partnerships. “Try to look for opportunities to collaborate with other entrepreneurs and with the initiatives that are being started during this crisis.”