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Dear reader,

we are pleased to present you the 1st Newsletter of our Erasmus + KA 2 strategic partnership project with the title „European FairShares Labs for Social and Blue Innovation”.

With this publication, we can look back to the first 6 months of impressive collaboration among this strong partnership of 6 main partners and many associated partners from 5 European countries: Croatia, Germany, Hungary, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Some of us have worked since several years in European projects others are quite new in these activities. In this Newsletter, you will read articles about the 1st transnational project meeting in Erfurt (Germany) from 7th till 9th of December 2016 and a study trip to the platform-project Werft 34 on which more than 10 start-ups have restored an old unused house in Erfurt and started to create their businesses in a collaborative manner.

We inform you about our new project website and the project brochure and can present the partners and the project team. Partners will meet again to the 2nd transnational meeting from 26th till 29th of June in Sheffield (UK) and will take part on big networking event of the FairShares Institute from Sheffield university, you find a short perspective in this newsletter.

We wish you an enjoyable time reading this 1st Newsletter.


Roger Schmidtchen, coordinator



About the project

FairSharesLabs are following the main principles of the Living Lab movement, which are multi-stakeholder co-creation, active user involvement, real life settings and multi-method approach.

In the complex of the adaption of these three social, working, environmental and economical instruments to “FairSharesLabs” we must consider a huge demand for new learning concepts and innovative adult learning approaches.

They are linked to competence development and skills training to support and encourage the developing blue (sustainable) and social entrepreneurship, social licenses and fair-share models that benefits segregated people and people what are not regularly involved in adult training programs and experiences.

Following the described principles above, one of the main innovations of this Living Lab concept is, that the development and training/learning process are done together with the potential users in their social context. It is also intended to involve disadvantaged people – immigrants, minorities or people with special needs, as testing users, innovators and as entrepreneurs themselves. Especially the integral and inclusive learning approach is new and quite unusual but there is an obvious potential for human resources and innovation in this target group.

The second innovation is the learning and testing of new business-beneficiary and contracting models like FairShares- and Social Licenses to gain new cooperative businesses.

The third innovation is the FairSharesLab Exchange and Cooperation platform. Throughout this platform people can put their ideas and challenges on the virtual table, inviting others to participate in finding solutions or creating social innovation/business together on European level. The Living Lab idea uses virtual communities for real life situations.

During the lifetime of the project six FairSharesLabs will be set in real life in Erfurt (Germany), Sheffield (United Kingdom), Berlin (Germany), Deventer (The Netherlands), Pécs (Hungary) and Osijek (Croatia).

A total of 30 blue/social economy business ideas will be developed (5 in each Lab and 5 of them virtually through the FairSharesLabs Learning and Exchange Platfom); and 12 of the business ideas should be ready to put in action or have already started.

The six partners will organise six transnational meetings and study tours, one transnational training for trainers and they will provide together a minimum of 12 blended pilot training’s for potential blue/social entrepreneurs in local labs and hubs as well as a train the trainer training concerning the FairSharesLabs methodology.

Stakeholders and the Lifelong Learning Community will be informed by the website and six newsletters. All of them are welcomed to comment the project on our Facebook website.

The core outputs of FairSharesLabs will be:

1.  A FairSharesLabs methodology how to develop and implement social and blue projects/enterprises;

2. A Guideline and Self- and blended learning tool for FairShares hubs, Living Labs and virtual learning groups;

3. A FairSharesLabs Exchange and a E-Learning platform;

4. A FairSharesLabs train the trainers tool for coaches and mentors;

5. A Summarizing report of national implementation activities.


Project partner organizations

Partner meeting

First transnational Project partner meeting

During the first transnational project meeting in Erfurt, Germany all six project partners from five countries (United Kingdom, Germany, Hungary, Croatia and The Netherlands) with a total of ten participants have taken part on the three days agenda.

Core topics of the agenda were the self presentation and coming together of the project team, the discussion and decisions making about the management and coordination of the project, the time plan for the project realization and finally the discussion about the common understanding of the core issues and the collaboration on the five intellectual outputs.

The six partner presentations showed a wide variety of expertise in local/regional and international networks the partners are working with, e.g. the Fair Shares Association in Sheffield or the Blue Economy Cluster in Pécs.

Dr. Rory Ridley-Duff, Reader in Co-operative and Social Enterprise Sheffield Business School, Sheffield Hallam University as well as Cliff Southcombe both Social Enterprise Europe Ltd. gave a brief introduction to FairShares definitions, backgrounds, basic issues and the influence to the FairSharesLabs project. (This presentation and all others are available on the Download Sector of the FairSharesLabs Website).

FairShares Intro-008
FairShares Intro-011

FairSharesLabs will work on the following principles guaranteeing the four stakeholder groups a common share on the social business and the benefits: Founders Shares – Investors Shares – Labour Shares – User Shares.

The partners discussed the differences and similarities of social enterprises, blue economy and FairShares economy principles. The conclusion was, that unsocial, unethical, undemocratic and unsustainable businesses will not be developed or supported by FairShareLabs because they are against the common principles.

For the preparation of the methodology the partners discussed the drivers, why people will take part or start developing their social or FairShares business in a FairSharesLab.

The partners summed up negative drivers, like inequality and exclusion as users, and positive drivers like sustainability or offering labor force and capital as founders or employees.

Because of the different drivers all four stakeholder groups shall and must join FairSharesLabs in reality or virtually through the Exchange Platform; but one person can also cover different roles such as founders and employers, founders and users etc.

As a conclusion the FairSharesLabs are offering the means and opportunities to create, develop and implement FairShare businesses as outcomes. The impact of the Labs will be the fulfillment of the drivers bringing people into the Labs. The Labs are working with a low access approach to reach and invite social segregated people as players in one or more roles.

Finally the Labs are a kind of a creative playground and co-working area in which all stakeholders are involved as learners, but also as coaches/trainers who will provide to the other groups their own knowledge as founders, employees, investors or users. Staff and trainers are matching these interests and competences to creative social/blue business developers and to start ups.

The FairSharesLab training tools and modules shall reach all these groups in an attractive and easy accessible way following the methodology drivers-means-outcomes-impact. 

To get the information about the drivers as well as existing skills and training needs of the individual participant in the Labs an online-information module with a questionnaire is needed. An online training will be provided by FairSharesLabs completed by blended learning options with real trainers in the Labs, but also by online coaches especially in cases when independent FairSharesLabs are created by different stakeholders or in a case of trans-regional/transnational and virtual working FairSharesLabs.

The plan is to prepare exercises, case studies and piloting a kind of a start-up weekend. The prepared exercises shall be recorded on video for webinars and video tutorials, also an advertising video animation to explain FairSharesLabs working principles and ethical backgrounds shall be produced during transnational meeting in Osijek, Croatia.

Finally, EcoSynergy Kft. presented the draft of the FairSharesLabs Exchange and an E-Learning platform, which will offer different features for information, communication and co-working. It houses a virtual learning environment and dynamic online courses like FairSharesLabs methodology & e-learning approaches, self-, and blended-learning tool for adult learners, webinars and tutorials, online mentoring and coaching.

The first transnational meeting in Erfurt was accompanied by many socializing and networking opportunities and offers a fine start for the FairSharesLabs project.

World Icon

FairSharesLabs project team visited Werft 34 in Erfurt, Germany

During the first transnational project meeting a study trip to an alternative business creation and a start up center in Erfurt, was organised for the participants.

Lead by our colleague Martin Arnold-Schaarschmidt the group could meet with some of the entrepreneurs or businesses already developed in the Werft 34. Martin Arnold-Schaarschmidt, president of Plattform e.V. and the founder of the Werft 34 explained the history and development of this center; the name was coming from the street name and the house number.

The house, situated in an outside area of Erfurt, is owned by the city of Erfurt and should have been deconstructed however with the intervention of the Plattform e.V. the house was given away for the consumption costs with an condition to create a business creating and a start up center in a self governance model.

Building Image 1
Building Image

Plattform e.V. could win a grant from the German ESF program BIWAQ (which brings training and economy together with urban development in socially disadvantaged areas of the city) for main renovation and to make the house basically ready to use.

Actually, users/business developer are active in the house and the aim of Plattform e.V. is to give away the leadership into the hands of the user of the house which have founded an own association with the name Werft 34.

It was very impressive study trip to very engaged founders. They seem to be very close to FairShareLabs and cooperative business ideas and they could save and develop an old building to a creative and busy center.


FairSharesLabs project team visited Werft 34 in Erfurt, Germany

More information on the project web site

-Next project partner meeting is on June 26 – June 29, 2017 in United Kingdom

-Brochure on all project partner languages  is available to download on the web page

Programme: Erasmus+

Key action: Cooperation for Innovation and the exchange of good practices
Action: Strategic partnership
Main objective of the project: Development of innovation
Project start date: 01/11/2016
Project end date: 31/03/2019



The sole responsibility for the content of this newsletter lies with the authors. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Union. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein

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