Meetup #23: Straatnieuws

Straatnieuws allows homeless people to earn money and build up a network. Frank is part of Straatnieuws since 1994. His question tonight for the audience is: 'Can you help us to bring Straatnieuws to the next level?' 

Financial continuity
'Gemeente Utrecht supports us financially, readers donate money and we have released three poetry collections of which the proceeds go towards Straatnieuws. Before Covid-19 we were already in conversation with a couple of partners about setting up a sustainable business model. We are currently dependent on municipalities and funds. These decrease every year, whilst we want to grow. We would like to establish a partnership with our donateurs as 'Friends of Straatnieuws', to make it more of a two-way street.' 

Hidden talents
'Next to the sales of the newspaper we also look at the hidden talents of our salespeople: for example, one of our participants is a poet who shared one poem and now makes 40 euros a week by selling the newspaper online. Our people are real storytellers. We stimulate that: tell your story 'live', and write up a new story every once in a while. We also support them by offering writing training.'

'Straatnieuws' aim is to make these stories visible. We give people a voice. It is a first step that offers them a little more perspective. For them it is good to do something different. We show: these are people with talents'. 

On- en offline
‘Since December 2020 we sell Straatnieuws online: our salesperson has a QR-code and receives the income weekly from our office. And that works. Now we are ready to expand and that is why we need Friends. Friends are people who donate a fixed amount anually and receive our newspaper online. We noticed that these Friends are usually attached to one specific person: the one who you talk to at the entrance of your supermarket, for example. That is what we want to focus on in our new campaigns.'

Our teams got to work, thinking about how Straatnieuws could take their organisation to the next level and attract new sponsors.

Team Green
'We would like to help Straatnieuws by straightening out their story through a Business Model Canvas. As soon as this model is done, we will further explore Straatnieuws' platform by positioning each salesperson through their talents: painting or writing. We will market those talents. And we'd love to work together with the other teams!'

Team Blue
‘Straatnieuws' essence is the individual. That is what triggers people and makes them join your movement. We suggest that every salesperson has their own personal page including a buddy or creative coach, to create a network around each individual. How amazing would it be if accordingly there is a place where is all comes together and you can create content together. That is why we also thought of placemaking and including corporates like Bever Outdoor. Everything with the platform in mind.'

Team Red
'We talked a lot about the connection with potential Friends and sponsors, and about online or offline communication. We believe that Straatnieuws should be brought back to offline in the streets: for example through poetry on walls, and Utrecht Street Walks led by your people. Pubs could even help by printing this on their beer pads, so that people are triggered and can sign up easily. There is a lot of online noise - meeting each other in the city, in the streets, that is the important connection. That is where we should be present!'

Team Yellow
'The wonderful personal stories and poetry are what you should tell: that is how you give them a face. You can only do that by keeping it personal. Think of a poetry route through the city, or an evening of poetry readings. We want to stimulate the sales of Straatnieuws from loose sales to structural payments. That is why the content of the paper should be adapted to a wider audience. Establish long term partnerships with schools and local media to spread your content everywhere.' 

And the winner is...
After a tough judgment the jury came to the following conclusion: 'Team Green put their finger on our weak spot, which is pretty tough to hear, but good! Team Blue was a bit more vage in their plans. Team Red was very clear: bring it back to the streets through streetart. Very concrete, on walls and on the streets. That is how we can connect storytellers to the city. The presentation was also very clear and simple through its use of a drawing. Yellow had a similar idea but the execution was a bit less clear. That is why the winners of today are Team Red! 

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