Rotterdam is home to many social entrepreneurs for whom an honest and sustainable society is the core of their business. To them, making a profit is not the goal but rather a means to tackling the major challenges of our society, from combating loneliness among the elderly to counteracting the effects of climate change. These entrepreneurs will be the focus of The Impact Days, when you can learn how they each contribute in their own special way to the smart, circular and inclusive city that Rotterdam aspires to be.

This year sees the 3rd edition of The Impact Days, an event initiated by the G4 city network, which includes the municipalities of Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Utrecht and The Hague. The 3rd edition has been restyled to take into account what activities are possible at the moment. Entrepreneurs will be highlighted by means of inspiring videos and images showing their products and services, as well as their impact in terms of generating employment participation and ensuring circularity and inclusivity. In short, The impact Days give these entrepreneurs their moment in the spotlight. Below is a short description of six Rotterdam-based entrepreneurs.

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BlueCity
BlueCity is a benchmark city for the circular economy, in which enterprising people meet up and get down to business, whether that’s about increasing your impact, a zero-waste lifestyle or the development of a future-proof material. More than 35 entrepreneurs have already developed innovative ideas ranging from niche to large-scale; from circular soap to cricket burgers, and from fresh spirulina to paving made from dredged-up mud. The first circular bio lab in the world, situated in the former changing rooms of the Tropicana swimming pool, plays a key role in all this. Visitors and business people from all over the world come to the lab to witness the new economy taking shape; ideas and tools for change are presented to interested parties by means of online and offline events. And all of this is very necessary; now is the time for serious action. It is only through joint effort that we will succeed in establishing the new economy.

Floating Farm
Floating Farm is a dairy business floating in Rotterdam’s Merwehaven, where healthy local food is being produced using animal-friendly, sustainable and circular methods. This is achieved in ways that are both high tech and transparent. For example, power comes from floating solar panels, rain water is collected for the cows, and they are fed on residual flows from industries in the city (brewers grains, grass from football fields and golf courses, bran from mills, maize pulp from an ethanol producer operating in the port and orange peel supplied by a retailer). The aim of using residues in this way is to keep the footprint of the city to a minimum. The Floating Farm also acquaints city dwellers with food production and the practices of a dairy farm by means of the farm shop. A large group of volunteers play an active part, helping in the shop or on the farm, or making deliveries. All of this has already established a social heart in M4H, a former port area due to be transformed into a residential and working area in the years to come.

Bakkie Trots
Bakkie Trots is a company making ceramic cups from local clay. The very ground on which we stand is crammed with stories – old memories and memories yet to be made – sometimes personal and sometimes collective. The cups produced by Bakkie Trots are made using local clay, so each cup is unique and tells its own story. The pattern on each cup shows the layers of soil from the location in question. Together, these cups tell a proud story about connections. Founder Iris Veentjer produces the cups in collaboration with a number of local social workshops. In this way, Bakkie Trots gives people excluded from the labour market the opportunity to work on a traditional product with pleasure and pride.

Honest and Delicious Martini espresso – ‘The Rumah x Heilige Boontjes
Making an impact is not the exclusive preserve of social entrepreneurs; many mainstream local entrepreneurs are also committed to sustainability and the local community. This goes for Daryl from the Rumah cocktail bar. Since the Corona lockdown, he and his partner Eddie have been driving the #supportyourlocals movement, collaborating intensively with other local entrepreneurs. Some weeks ago, Daryl hit upon the story of Heilige Boontjes coffee, a cup of strong coffee made by ex-offenders and other young people with limited opportunities. This story reminded him of Santa Teresa rum, a brand from Venezuela; their Project Alcatraz supports prisoners and ex-offenders, as well as former and current gang members, helping them to resume their place in society. And that is how the most delicious and honest Martini espresso came about. A powerful story from both a local and a social perspective.

Rechtstreex
Rechtstreex is an online supermarket offering a wide range of products from local farmers and makers. The mission of Rechtstreex is clear; making the local food chain as short and as possible and accessible to everyone. This is a perfect example of of #supportyourlocals and outstanding sustainability combined.

iKaptein
iKapitein gives day trippers the opportunity to sail the inland waters of Rotterdam in boats that epitomise fun, innovation, awareness and recycling all at the same time. This is because the boats are equipped with waste collectors that remove rubbish from the river. Talk about next level entrepreneurship!

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