Which need/challenge are you addressing with your solution?
The ultimate goal is to include people in society. Immigrants find it difficult to connect with local people. It’s a problem of many faces: a language-barrier, a new culture, a difficulty in finding a job, no friends. At KIT, the goal is to find a solution to that, i.e. to create diversity among people.
How does your solution aim to satisfy that need in practical terms?
We believe that giving a person a meaningful job is a key factor in including them in a society. That is our goal, to include people from abroad into the Dutch society. Giving a job to us means giving financial freedom and increasing self-worth. We share common experience that if people work together, it will bring them higher job satisfaction. And what’s better than providing a communication bridge between people in a form of a coffee bar?
Coffee is a non-political and most popular drug on planet Earth. It unifies people cross-culturally. It is used during breaks between work and cafes are places where people socialize. From a perspective of coffee, we are all global citizens.
What are the implications of implementing your solution? Which actors need to be involved? Are there any competitors? If yes, why are you different?
The implication from running a coffee bar is that we will include people in the society and we will give them joy. We need to involve spaces which already collaborate with immigrants and startup companies which implement circular economy, which focus on using local resources and are anti-growth-oriented, i.e. their goal is to make products out of byproducts such and sell them to other companies.
We would not call similar businesses, competition. They are our alias and their main practice is to cooperate locally and connect with other business rather than eliminate them.
Has the solution been tested and deployed in another context (geographical or sectorial)? If so, what are the strengths and weaknesses you identify that could help you in scaling it into a new context?
Not in the exact same context. We want to focus on bringing people together and to empower immigrants, to give them the freedom of expression, i.e. to create a platform where immigrants write about their experiences in the building and themselves work to include other immigrants into the culture.
The advantages are colossal. Coffee is omnipresent among cultures it’s a connecting factor which overcomes even language barriers. Imagine a scenario: immigrants run a coffee bar inside KIT, Dutch people, known for their opportunistic souls, find a/an (almost) free coffee to be a great deal. They become regular customers. In the meantime, a connection between persons behind the bar and the customers develops. Immigrants get to know Dutch people and they start spreading a word around about their experience. In addition, they are given an opportunity to share their experience online. Some of them, with creative souls can for instance, establish an online platform for other immigrants, where they share their thoughts. Additionally, the bar can be the bridge for some of employees to find a job in some startups that are already part of KIT depending on the demand and the experience.
It is going to work because a coffee bar is a hangout place during breaks between work. We also know that people are social animals, so we only need to create an environment suitable for interaction.