Nervous faces and sweaty palms: a total of 9 participants pitched their entrepreneurial ideas for a varied group of people during the Graduation & Pitch Ceremony on the 30th of October. After an 8-week period of hard work during the Entrepreneurship & Business English course, it was time for the partakers to give their long-awaited pitch to the public. Both residents of Plan Einstein as well as neighbourhood residents from Overvecht joined the new concept. This is what they’ve worked out and the past 8 weeks:

MoveMe Group provides help to those who are assigned to a permanent home, but don’t speak the Dutch language and/or have the means to move. The initiators want to help by assisting with transportation and small projects inside new homes. They’re still looking for support and means of transport! Happy Kindergarten Group wants to look after small children when (single) parents are studying, working or want to have some free time for themselves. This group of four is looking for Dutch volunteers who have experience with children. Another entrepreneur in the making, Gulam, wants to import food products like spices and dry foods from the Middle East and export products from Holland. He needs a network and wholesaler contacts to start his company. Other partakers have plans to start their own traditional Arabic restaurant. Johan would like to help the neighbourhood with small projects in and around the house and Claudia is setting up a business as a health coach. Sandra is looking for pop-up book collectors to see if there’s any animo for her concept. On the 30th during the break, attendees enjoyed Lebanese food made by a starting caterer. Traditional dishes such as fatteh and fattoush were introduced to the public. The evening ended with the issuing of certificates for all participants, provided by Utrecht Center for Entrepreneurship.<br>
After two months of hard work and developing new language skills, participants completed their Entrepreneurship & Business course. The course was offered by Plan Einstein, in association with Utrecht Center for Entrepreneurship and Social Impact Factory Utrecht. Utrecht Center for Entrepreneurship developed a fitting entrepreneurial course that is aimed at personal growth of people by increasing their knowledge. With the aid of this course, economic self-reliance is encouraged and skills are developed to set up their own business. In eight weeks, participants acquainted with (social) entrepreneurs to learn from practice and were introduced into the world of entrepreneurship. After this introductory period, the 9 participants got the chance to work out their entrepreneurial concepts with help of professional coaching during weekly gatherings. After the course, participants can get more guidance of the Social Impact Factory to further develop their concept. Under the direction of Marcellien Breedveld, Erik Stam, Nils de Witte and Leendert de Bell the first E&B course turned out to be successful.

Plan Einstein is an EU innovative project of Gemeente Utrecht and partners in the field of integration and accommodation for asylum seekers. Living and learning together from day one: that’s what Plan Einstein makes innovatory. It got recognition of the European Commission and therefore receives subsidy from the Urban Innovative Actions Programme. According to the European Commission, Plan Einstein sets an example for other cities in Europe. Many organizations and parties are helping to make Plan Einstein to a success, including SOCIUS wonen, UtrechtCE, Volksuniversiteit, Vluchtelingenwerk, Social Impact Factory and much more. At the property in Overvecht, residents of a refugee center live together with 38 students and youngsters. These young Dutch people are housed in a different part of the building – but are encouraged to undertake and organise activities, and meet with the asylum seekers. The Incubator Space on the ground floor serves as meeting and activity space for youngsters, refugees ánd district residents from Overvecht. There’s a wide variety of English language courses, entrepreneurial courses and interactive workshops at the Social Impact Factory available for asylum seekers and district residents. Creative workshops such as painting workshops are provided as well. The courses that are provided ensure faster integration, network expansion and a greater chance of a better life in Utrecht.

Do you want to volunteer for one of the concepts, do you have any helpful contacts or can you help one of the participants with your innovative ideas? Please e-mail to info@plan-einstein to get in contact with one of the partakers.PlanEinstein