The My Business 2.0 project was concluded on 3 April 2013. The mission of the project was to ‘stimulate growth and continuity in SMEs in the province of Utrecht through social innovation’ and it has been successful in this mission. My Business 2.0 involved 400 companies and brought them into contact with each other. That is a considerable amount of added value, especially during this period of economic difficulty. The research carried out within My Business 2.0 shows that the capacity of these companies to innovate has actually increased. Social innovation has become a concept that really means something to businesspeople in the province of Utrecht and they have used this to strengthen their businesses. On 3 April, the final report for My Business 2.0 was published, entitled 'A Treasure Trove of Experiences’.
Consortium of four parties
My Business 2.0 was a joint initiative undertaken by HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, TNO, Syntens and Taskforce Innovation Utrecht Region (TFI). During the period 2007 - 2008, HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht brought together the consortium and the project proposal was submitted to Kansen voor West by the secretary of TFI, together with a request for a grant from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). In early 2009, the project was approved and the grant was awarded. HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht took the lead in implementing the project, initially working from the Research Centre for Social Innovation and, more recently, from the Research Centre for Innovation and Business.
There is a growing awareness that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) increasingly need to build their innovative and competitive strengths by cooperating within the so-called 'golden triangle’ that is formed by the business community, knowledge institutes and the government. My Business 2.0 is a fine example of extensive, long-term cooperation within this golden triangle. The complexity and scale of the project has challenged the parties involved to the very limit.
My Business 2.0 in a nutshell
The project was launched in late 2009 in Utrecht. You can see photos and videos of the ‘kick-off’ launch event here.
The recruitment of businesses began in 2010. This was done by the consultants Syntens and Twynstra Gudde / The Bridge, Deloitte, and a consortium of small consultants working under the name De Geluksfabriek. HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht organized a recruitment meeting to ‘bring in new work’, which resulted in more than 80 entrepreneurs signing up for the project.
At the Annual Conference in September 2010, entrepreneurs came together to discuss aspects of social innovation related to their businesses. There was also a presentation of the first workshops that entrepreneurs could register for, such as ‘Smarter Cooperation’, ‘Lean Manufacturing’, ‘A Close-up Look at Leadership’ and ‘My Processes 2.0’. You can see photos and videos of the Annual Conference here.
In 2011, more and more entrepreneurs moved into the implementation phase and the first of the six partnerships for social innovation began.
In May 2012, at an interactive meeting between the participating entrepreneurs, government project consortium and knowledge institutes, the book ‘Smarter Working in SMEs' was presented by Remco van Lunteren to the eight companies that had agreed to help work on it.
In October 2012, the My Business 2.0 project took part in the ‘Innovation Day 2012’, organizing two well-attended workshops on the advantages of social innovation for businesses.
In April 2013, the final report for the My Business 2.0 project was published, entitled 'A Treasure Trove of Experiences’ (Een Schatkist aan Ervaringen). The project report provides an excellent picture of what the My Business 2.0 project had achieved over the previous three and a half years.
My Business 3.0
The sequel to My Business 2.0 is in the pipeline, and is entitled My Business 3.0. This project will focus on external cooperation in the creative industry and healthcare. Exploration is currently on-going within Knowledge and Innovation Cooperation about the formation of partnerships as a form of cooperation for small businesses in the creative sectors. This is being done in close collaboration with the HU Creative Industry Centre of Expertise. In healthcare, support will include an exploration of new smart forms of cooperation that promote self-management.
Former Executive Board member of HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, Huib de Jong
'Innovation in the SME sector is the motor of the Dutch economy. Programmes like My Business 2.0 are therefore highly significant, both for SMEs and for higher education. We were able to provide a large number of entrepreneurs with a forum where they could be in the driving seat while at the same time have a range of custom-built facilities at their fingertips. And that proved to be a very successful format.’