Community Driven Innovators

Do you see yourself as an innovator, believe in the power of communities for economic and social inclusion and perhaps strive for a career in community driven innovation? In this programme you will work on real cases with professionals and contribute to the United Nations Social Development goals.

Welcome to HU

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In spite of cultural differences, the value of having strong communities is universal. Stronger communities enable emotional support, access to the resources and networks of other community members, exchange of knowledge and skills that leads to personal and professional development, friendships that add joy to life. On top of that, communities can co-own a company or organisation they are connected to, which could provide economic stability for both the community and the company or organisation. A growing number of organisations, small and large, are open to this new approach. The world is looking for that next league of innovators who can make the economy (more) crisis-proof. This minor will prepare you for building a resilient, sustainable, future-proof, community driven business within the ecosystem it serves.

Useful to know

Start date September
Number of ECTS 30 Dutch Education System
Programme level Minor
Programme code JM- CDI-21
Language of instruction English
Year of study Year 3 or 4
Practical Matters Housing and Immigration
Location Heidelberglaan 15 Utrecht

Course content

What do you need to enter this programme? And what can you expect when you apply? In this section you'll find all you need to know!

Community Driven Innovators can create impact in corporates or small businesses. For 20 weeks, you will join a league of dedicated Community Driven Innovators from the industry and work on real, community driven innovations for companies and organisations who want to change the world for the better, without losing their business perspective.

You can also follow this exchange programme online via livestream.

Would you like to know more about this programme or do you have a specific question? Please contact the programme coordinator Ms. Nathalie Brähler

The 3 courses in this minor bind together: 

  • Communities & Impact
    Get to know your company and ecosystem. Define a community and create a community outline.

  • Community-driven business concept.
    Make the community co-owner and incentivise members and company/organization to do the right thing.

  • Validate your concept & role
    Ideate an innovative, community driven business concept. Interview potential/existing community members (validate) & your personal career aspiration for internship or after graduation.

    The assessment of this minor is one big project and consists of three parts: a community outline, a community driven business concept and a community validation. The validation includes your personal career aspiration in the project (as an internship, or when you graduate) or in the community-driven innovation field as a whole.


Course code

Course Unit Title


A JM-CDCI-21  Communities & Impact   15
A + B  JM-CDCDBC-21  Community-driven business concept   10
JM-CDVYCR-21  Validate your concept & role    5

In our Course Guide you can find all relevant information about the programme in one practical document. Download it here for your convenience.

You will be able to bring skills, knowledge and experience in community driven models to the professional practice. Students who successfully complete the minor Community Driven Innovators will be able to:

  • design a business concept that is less short-term profit focused, giving more power to the community;
  • create an innovative solution to a real business case: leverage the ecosystem and community, by creating a value exchange;
  • validate your concept with the involved community/communities;
  • select the most suitable community driven business model for a professional practice case;
  • reflect on the power of internal and external community and how it can successfully drive a business to be future-proof.

There are no specific entry requirements for this course.

You need to have finished your second year of studies and to have attained English language skills at CEFR level B2. If you are unsure about your level, you can do a free assessment online, or contact the coordinator for a quick oral test. 

If you would like more information, please check: and/or contact the course coordinator Nathalie Brahler.

This minor is co-developed by hands on experts working in the field. They make sure you will have the skills, knowledge and experience in ecosystem innovation and community driven models within a (non)profit business environment you would need in the professional practice. This holds a lot of value for future workplaces with an innovation strategy who are looking for concrete solutions and collaborations to maximize impact. 

You will learn from a collective of smaller companies that work together in a cooperative sharing funds, labor and other resources (through Cooperative Platforms or Steward Ownership). You will learn from (tech) businesses that operate along the lines of 'post-growth economics', as CEO Melanie Riebeck does with Radically Open Security. You will learn from community owned startups like and how applying Exit to Community can save, or build, a company in its early years.

You will also learn from big corporates such as ABN AMRO bank, that is focusing on ecosystem value and API thinking. The Danish beer brand Carlsberg is an example where instead of shareholders, a foundation owns the beer brewer, which invests the profits in making the beer brand more sustainable. Even Rolex, status symbol of the rich because of their designs and the high prices, has no shareholders and returns its dividends through an NGO to various communities for employee training, environmental research, and arts &culture. The foundation annually grants awards to which they link sums of money, for example to Pablo García Borboroglu, founder of the Global Penguin Society. The money received was spent by this biologist to increase the number of penguin nests from 6 to 1.100. The community can, therefore, also go beyond humans and include nature.

This minor combines the latest theories with practice by immediately applying what you have learned. You will be creating your own innovative solution to a real case and build a community around it. You will learn how to build strong ecosystems that are less short-term profit, giving more power to the community: stewardship, cooperatives, cooperative platforms, exit-to-community and decentralized autonomous organisations being the most future proof community driven version of all. 

Practical information

When you move to a different country to study, there are lots of things to arrange. For instance, where will you live, how much are the costs? Visit our practical information page to help you prepare your stay. It is also important to start arranging a living space as soon as possible. Our housing pages will help you on your way. A student living in the Netherlands needs about € 800 - 1000 a month to cover living expenses, such as housing, food and transportation. This includes insurances – health insurance is mandatory.

Find out how to apply

Ready for an international adventure?

Why choose HU?

  • Join our unique minor, Community Driven Innovators

    This brand new minor is listed as a sustainable minor with the corresponding Sustainable Development Goals 8, 11 and 17. Full list of sustainable minors by Green Office.

  • Vibrant university city Utrecht

    Beautiful Utrecht has lots of young people and excellent facilities for student life. It has a mediaeval city centre which is small enough to explore by foot or bicycle. Enjoy a drink next to the quaint canals or dine in one of the converted wharf cellars.

  • Inspiring international setting

    HU supports your ambitions. Our lecturers will tutor and assist you in making the most of this international programme. During your time in Utrecht, you will meet students from all over the world and make connections to last a lifetime.

  • Utrecht Science Park Campus

    Studying at HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht means you get to enjoy all the benefits of our modern campus, Utrecht Science Park (USP). A miniature city with the universities' buildings, student housing, restaurants, cafés, a sports centre, and much more, it enjoys excellent transport links to Utrecht and beyond.

Interested in our Community Driven Innovators programme?

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