PRESENTATION OF THE EXCHANGE
The exchange allowed for Stefanie Schuddebeurs, owner of the Listening Academy in The Netherlands, to collaborate with and learn from Margherita Mugnai and her colleagues at Sociolab, Florence, Italy. Both are experts in the field of participatory processes and consensus building. We wished to exchange expertise on participatory processes while working on projects together. In the meantime, it was an opportunity for Stefanie to strengthen her entrepreneurial skills. During the exchange, we worked together on finding European collaborations and grants in the field of participation, collaborated in a social media strategy and during projects of Sociolab executed during the stay of the NE in Tuscany.
DURATION: 6 months, divided in two periods to allow for Stefanie to return to the Netherlands in between the two periods to cater to her clients in that period.
PROFILE OF THE ENTREPRENEURS
Stefanie Schuddebeurs is a social entrepreneur with a thorough academic training in the field of Social Psychology and Anthropology and a Masters in Conflict Studies and Human Rights. In 2015, she set up the first Listening Academy of the Netherlands, in which she facilitates dialogues for multi-stakeholder groups for Dutch local and national government as well as training professionals and students in their listening and empathic capacities.
After two years of working as an entrepreneur, Stefanie sought out a way to reflect on and reorientate her business strategy for the coming years and found EYE to be an excellent opportunity to do so, collaborating with and learning from a more experienced entrepreneur. Next to reflecting and strengthening her entrepreneurial skills, Stefanie hoped to learn more on European grants and collaborations in the field of participation and social research.
Participatory development and community engagement expert with a Degree in History from the University of Florence (IT) and MPhil in Development Studies from the University of Cambridge (UK), is since 2009 an integral part of Sociolab, participating in the planning, design and implementation of all projects. Her focus is on design of participatory processes, strategic planning and the choice of the most appropriate tools for stakeholders’ engagement.
Sociolab is always looking for energetic new persons to collaborate with, but this one with Stefanie was our first European collaboration the framework of the European Young Entrepreneurs programme. We weren’t really sure what to expect but we were hoping to develop an interesting and fruitful collaboration and to develop potential collaboration and mutual interests at the European level.
Working with Sociolab in Florence for six months was of great value to my development as an entrepreneur. While I worked on complex societal questions with the team and formed cooperations in European project proposals, I realized that my business model is ready for a next step. I would like to expand the complexity and timespan of my assignments as well as involve intense teamwork with various partners in the future. I am curious and eager to apply this insight and other entrepreneurial insights from Sociolab to my own context in the Netherlands. Next to that, I found a very welcoming group of excellent professionals at Sociolab, whose expertise and methodological rigour combined with their warmth and sense of humor made my stay a wonderful experience.
Stefanie brought not only invaluable support to our group, but also incredible energy and new ideas. In the course of her stay we managed to work together effectively on European project proposals, EU partnership development, Social media strategy, effective dialogue and participatory practices and business development opportunities.
She worked both in office and on the ground with focus, always open to take up new challenges and engage in new activities and projects. She became an active member of the team under all respects. This is what the EYE programme should be about: bringing together like minded professionals from different countries to help each other grow and enrich each other practices.