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UP Collective Netherlands: 2023 Impact Report

Updated: Mar 12


Delitelabs successfully conducted two programs, involving a total of 43 participants in 2023. We see at as achievement that 100% of our participants recommend our program.

We actively involved alumni in program delivery. At the Autumn Kick-off, Alina and Yana, former participants from the Spring cohort, shared their entrepreneurial journeys. Yana also treated attendees to a delicious Ukrainian lunch, featuring her developed business concept. Maksym, a previous cohort alumnus, joined as a co-facilitator, contributing insights in participants' native languages during prototyping sessions.

Prototyping events offered valuable mentor and guest feedback to our entrepreneurs. Four guest workshops, including a masterclass on sustainability and a Social Entrepreneurship workshop, enhanced participants' learning experiences.

Graduation in Autumn featured an introduction to Sunny Honey Home ice cream and its inspiring mission.

Delitelabs expanded its mentor network, engaging over 50 mentors from diverse backgrounds, including entrepreneurs, Unilever, INSEAD Alumni Association the Netherlands, and its network. This reinforces a strong support system for entrepreneurs with a wide range of expertise and experience. We see at as achievement that 90% of our mentors recommend our program.

"I was full of ideas before I started the program but I didn't know where to start. I am very satisfied with my experience at Delitelabs. The team is helpful, kind, and friendly with down-to-earth training materials. We did some field work which opened my eyes and reoriented everything I needed to do in practice. Things took off really fast and I feel now very confident about my business idea; I have already started building up my portfolio and writing my business plan."

2023 Graduate of UP Collective Netherlands.

Highlights & Key Learnings

Memorable milestones, learnings and reflections from this year's UP Collective program in the Netherlands.

Test Events

One of our key achievements was the successful organization of three prototyping events, with the first held at the Unilever office in Rotterdam in collaboration with the Ben & Jerry’s team. We engaged employees from various Unilever brands, creating a space for them to share valuable feedback on newcomers' business ideas.

Our second event was a public prototyping event held during Refugee Week in collaboration with Impact Hub Amsterdam. By fostering partnerships with organizations like Impact Hub, we extended our reach and impact within the local community.

For the autumn program, we organized another successful public prototyping event. Prior to the event, we arranged an online session focused on preparing participants for the testing phase. We gladly welcomed support from spring alumnus Maksym who co-facilitated the session, assisting participants in refining their prototypes. His ability to communicate with Ukrainian participants in their language by our alumni added a valuable layer of connection.

We aimed to provide each participant with the opportunity to test their business idea with at least 10 people during our prototyping events. This approach ensured participants received diverse feedback, helping them refine their concepts and better prepare for the showcase event.

Prototyping events are key moments in our program, offering participants their first opportunity to present ideas and gather feedback. Beyond individual development, these events serve as valuable opportunities for their mentors and local audiences to make connections and increase the overall visibility of our program within the community.

Autumn cohort at testing event.

Pitch & Graduation Showcase

Our program saw a total of 43 participants, each representing a wide spectrum of business ideas. From innovative food entrepreneurs to those developing AI applications in education and work safety.

Our showcase events held approximately 80 attendees who were able to witness firsthand the journeys of our participants. These events served as platforms for our entrepreneurs to showcase their ideas and receive feedback, fostering valuable connections.

One notable observation has been the need for participants to better refine their "ask" during these events. Our local audience has demonstrated a willingness to open up their networks, presenting a valuable opportunity for participants to establish connections that can contribute to their business success.

An identified challenge, particularly for our Ukrainian participants, is the difficulty in moving forward due to current legal burdens in the Netherlands. Recognizing this, we are committed to exploring ways to address these challenges, ensuring that our entrepreneurs have the necessary support.

The graduation ceremony in autumn took on a particularly sweet note with the introduction of Sunny Honey Home ice cream and its inspiring mission. This unique addition added a special touch to our graduation event, emphasizing the positive impact of entrepreneurship on both individuals and the community.

As we celebrate the accomplishments of this year, we remain dedicated to fostering an environment that nurtures innovation, connections, and growth for our entrepreneurs in future programs.

Autumn cohort with mentors at the Showcase & Graduation event.

Spring cohort with mentors at the Showcase & Graduation event.

Innovations & Opportunities

Based on our experiences this year, we recommend integrating guest workshops with external professionals into entrepreneurship programs. The expertise shared by industry professionals ads a layer of real-world relevance, increasing the overall learning experience for participants.

In the spring, we introduced two guest workshops. The workshop on Social Entrepreneurship offered a fresh perspective on the intersection of business and societal impact. Additionally, we organized the workshop guiding participants from idea to Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

In the autumn we had workshops, focusing on sustainability and effective pitching. Our sustainability masterclass focused on environmental topics such as biodiversity, climate change, and circularity. Recognising the importance of effective communication in entrepreneurship, the pitch workshop empowered participants to share their stories more confidently.

Cagri, a participant in the Autumn cohort, at the pitch event.

Looking forward

In 2024, Delitelabs aims to strategically expand reach, strengthen support networks, foster corporate collaborations, and build on successful partnerships. Focus will also be on further exploring internship opportunities for program participants within Unilever through our partnership with Ben & Jerry's.

If interested to partner with us, send your e-mail to:

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