Yesterday (22nd January) was the first ever WH? meeting, and I was impressed that so many people came along. I think there were about 12 of us in total from Indonesia, Spain, Japan, France, UK and of course Germany.
The meeting showed that there are enough of us to move on to bigger things, and now we’ve got to know each other we can think about other formats and topics that we want to address.
From the conversations I had, the topics we talked about were:
- Attracting highly-skilled people that work in technical professions is important, but what about the rest? (In my opinion, this is a topic we need to discuss more)
- How Hamburg Marketing can engage the community of international people in Hamburg to help convey a positive image of Hamburg abroad
- Visa restrictions for people coming from outside Europe – there’s a lot of bureaucracy which makes it difficult for companies to recruit
- Non-Europeans have different issues from Europeans. E.g. they can’t move around Europe as easily.
- Related to the previous point, people coming in from abroad have lots of different issues meaning that they may need advice from a range of people – so as well as European / non-Europan, issues like whether they speak German already, or whether they are looking for full-time employment, freelance, or setting up a business make a difference.
- What common interests/problems do we have? How can we make progress on these? How can we have a stronger voice within Hamburg? How can we convince the city that they need us?
- On the previous point: how can we reach out and help projects and organisations within Hamburg? Just one example would be to encourage international applications for dpa’s new media accelerator. We could also encourage friends and connections from abroad with specialist skills to work for Hamburg companies that need them.
- … and much more.
Showing the world that Hamburg is where international people can succeed
I want us to become a strong community who can help each other be successful, and thus show the world that Hamburg is a place where people from all over the world can succeed and enjoy life.
Specifically, a big priority should be helping Alex make Shhared a success because this is a huge example of someone rocking up in Hamburg, setting up a business and making a big contribution to our city. I think Shhared is also an important resource for our community – as a meeting place, a place to share ideas and make Hamburg the place we want it to be. No, Alex isn’t paying me to say this 😉
Feedback and next steps
Feedback from yesterday was that the next event should be somewhere a bit quieter where the drinks are cheaper and we can also get some planning done. As Brian said, we should bring our notebooks next time!
So what did you think of the meeting, and what should we do next? Answers on a postcard, or in the comments on this post.
After publishing this article, I got this response from Sabela on Twitter:
— Sabela Garcia (@HHSabela) 23. Januar 2015