Promoting cross disciplinary interaction
While Irene Rompa is working hard on the practical implementation of Let it Grow’s vision to support entrepreneurship and creativity within the floriculture sector, Joline van Berkestijn is getting ready to launch a platform that joins people working within the world of plants, flowers and innovations. Together they nurture a green community of ambassadors and plant enthusiasts both locally and internationally.
From research to testing, sprint to sprint, failure to success, communication was at the centre of the process of building up Let it Grow. Sharing our experiences and learnings in a unique way really helped us launch Let it Grow faster.
Yes! We documented every step we took. Using a vlog to communicate about the things we were working on really set the tone for our way of working: creative, personal and energetic. We introduced each new team member in our sector newsletter the Harvest which enabled people to become a part of Let it Grow. We grew up together.
The Harvest is a weekly newsletter and vlog created by Let it Grow specifically for the floriculture sector. It reports on news, collaborations and highlights.
It was quite a challenge to build the brand and connect it to the people from the floriculture industry and convince them of our vision. But in the end, I think people working within the sector were attracted by the energy we had.
We went to specific product days to explain what Let it Grow was all about. We spoke with hydrangea growers, rose growers… we were everywhere! This personal approach led to making ourselves known. Bit-by-bit, people saw our added value.
It goes the same for the startup world. We aimed to really establish a presence. Let it Grow posters were in every coworking space in the Netherlands!
We should be happy with the amount of attention we have received, also in the press. There was definitely a PR buzz going on around us.
Totally. Luckily we could make good use of the name of Royal FloraHolland. It’s unique that a corporate sets up something like Let it Grow outside the organisation. And it was the world’s first incubation programme within the floriculture sector, one of the Netherlands’ most important export products. So obviously there was going to be some interest.
We had the opportunity to position Let it Grow as an organisation that brings positive societal value rather than a profit-driven business, which made it easy for a lot of media from the Netherlands and overseas to find the right angle. From the media’s perspective, we’re an interesting example to go by for similar organisations, and we’re a creative movement that appeals to a lot of people from our generation. That paid off. Even though we weren’t aiming for it, we earned back our investment with PR alone. Showing these results to our stakeholders gave them the confidence that Let it Grow was desirable and feasible.
Let it Grow really is a product of this time. But a new world can only stem from an old one. Just as the floriculture sector needs innovations, the startup teams thrive on existing know-how and a good network. So as part of the Incubation Programme, we organise a morning session with an expert from the sector every two weeks, to give people the opportunity to make new connections.
Plus, we try to create an environment in which both newcomers and the people already working in the field can come together. We have done many events where we invite everyone. It’s nice that you can actually see people coming into contact with each other during the events. There’s this amazing synergy between the sector and the startups. I think that is partly due to our open approach; everybody is always welcome.
We also connect the startups and urban idealists with people from the sector, one-on-one. Everybody’s free to chat with whomever they want. We only facilitate the opportunity to build that network. We’ve brought about all kinds of collaborations and I think we’ve been able to link the startups to people in high positions because we are familiar with so many executives.
It works the other way around too. We can help by getting to know the interests of consumers through our startups. It’s vital to know where the world of green is moving towards; what do people want?
We provide people with relevant connections, creating moments in which they can inspire each other and share their knowledge. And we try to allow more entrepreneurs to join the sector. We hope to lower the threshold by organising get-togethers, such as an unconference or a bootcamp next to our Incubation Programme for people who can’t commit to a five-month programme or who are in the earlier phases of their businesses.
An Unconference is a participant driven meeting which tries to avoid aspects of a conventional conference, such as sponsored presentations and top-down organisation.
A Bootcamp is an intense training programme designed to help innovators and early-stage businesses to develop their ideas.
By now, there’s a small community in the making of entrepreneurs who work with plants and flowers in new ways. And I think we have taken the first step for that. That’s where we really make a difference.
We more or less created a market in which innovators and early adopters can find each other. There are so many people embracing an urban green lifestyle, both entrepreneurs and consumers.
Yes, the urban green movement! The content strategy for the digital platform was to claim this international urban green movement from the start. We’ve asked young, talented photographers from many countries to tell stories about the innovators we admire. The beauty of the subject is that it works great in imagery. By publishing the stories on our blog and social channels we immediately built an international audience for Let it Grow.
When the website went live, we mainly focused on entrepreneurship. Many articles were written to specifically reach out to innovators and socially engaged startups. I very much liked that, and all the startups felt honoured that they deserved a spot on our website. But after a while, we decided to broaden our editorial focus.
We documented green initiatives from all around the globe, people developing cutting-edge consumer products and services. They could play a key role in changing the sector, but their ideas could inspire others too. We wanted to create a strong international community to highlight the urban green movement and expose the value of plants and flowers in a variety of contexts in our online Journal. We share our knowledge to inspire, enthuse and connect with our target audience.
The online journal tells stories about innovators working with plants or flowers from cities all over the world
In order for people to create awareness and join our movement.
There’s this amazing synergy between the sector and the startups. I think that is partly due to our open approach; everybody is always welcome.