The Fietsbazaar project challenges entrepreneurs to make a plan to promote bicycle use among residents of Nieuw-West and simultaneously train youth as bicycle menders. The project seems to be part of a small boom in social bicycle projects.
The entrepreneur with the winning plan will receive 10,000 euro in seed money, plus coaching and affordable shop premises for one year. Kim Marees of Bureau Beehive, who is a spokesperson for the project, explains in an email that the idea is not to pamper the entrepreneur:
“The award is meant to give the entrepreneur an opportunity to develop under favourable conditions during the first year. However, candidates will eventually be judged by their expertise and sound plan, but of course also by their original plans for the (new) role of cycling within the district. The entrepreneur will have to manage on his own, and we’ll judge him on that.”
The main objective is to get more people on bicycles in the district, where bicycle use is much lower than in the more centrally located districts. In addition, the entrepreneurs are expected to achieve social goals. Marees:
“It’s pretty much up to the entrepreneur to decide on the social objectives. In any case, the idea is to create trainee posts for youth from Nieuw-West to learn the profession. […] Further, there are ample opportunities in the social field, for example, work with nearby schools, an AA for cyclists, cycle routes or cycling tours from the centre or nearby hotels. There’s no shortage of opportunities and I have the idea that many people already have very many ideas.”
The Fietsbazaar is not the only project that wants to combine bicycle services to social objectives. For example, recently Fietsforce was launched, a mobile repair service for cyclists. This regards a pilot, the first results of which are expected later this month.
In addition, GroenLinks recently launched the plan for a bicycle coach who is to deal with parking problems near the Central Station. The idea is to use job seekers who have difficulty finding a job. Initiator Fjodor Molenaar hopes that supermarkets, movie theatres, bars and restaurants will in the future also hire bicycle coaches.
Entrepreneurs who are interested in the Nieuw-West project can file a plan until 22 May. Marees:
“There have been responses from people who are interested, people who think it’s a good initiative and who are curious what it’s about; but I’m sure that there’s also a number of people who are already writing serious business plans. Of course, we’re very pleased with that!”