The second meeting of the Dutch Living Lab was held on 22nd September, organised by Wageningen University and LTO Noord. The 8 women innovators have met again to share their progress since the first meeting. Some had made practical steps in realising their projects such as launching a social media platform, hosting open days on their farms and making valuable contacts. Others had spent time considering their position within existing businesses and finding a space for themselves to move forward. All of these actions – big or small – were great to hear about. These are such personal journeys that the women are undertaking that sharing their experiences with the group is clearly an important part of this process and one that was welcomed by everyone. The latter part of the meeting focused on constructing their ideal ‘customer’ with an empathy map and getting feedback or exchanging ideas. We were also lucky to have Yolanda de Prado from Escaperoom Hof te Langelo who told her inspiring story as an entrepreneurial women and gave us some hints on how to get through this journey. All in all, it was a positive day and all participants are excited about what the next Living Lab meeting will bring.
The men’s focus group was held on 28th October to discuss the role of entrepreneurs in rural enterprises. Specifically, they spoke of motivation, barriers and support for rural entrepreneurs and whether they perceived any differences between male and female innovators within this sector. The Dutch Living Lab is grateful to have been joined by 5 skilled men who shared their open, and at times reflective, experiences. The findings from the focus groups (men and women separately) will be used alongside interviews that Sophie Kolewijn-Hopkins has been conducting over the last few months. All this research is part of the analysis about gender equality in rural and agricultural innovation systems within the EU.