Innovation Within a B2B Bartercard Network

July 28, 2021
by Sérgio Lopo, Managing Director and
Stephen DeMeulenaere, Communications Director
Bartercard Continental Europe

The Bazaar is where it happens. That regular meeting place for business owners and those who want to become business owners meet, talk, trade, share ideas, argue, make friends, copy each other’s ideas and generate new ideas. It’s like a pot where everything gets mixed in and you don’t know what genius is going to come out of it. It’s the place where real innovation happens.

We’re talking about the old idea of the marketplace. Modern marketplaces have become rather dull, quiet sterile places where people come to meet retail customers, rather than to engage with each other. Instead we’re talking about marketplaces where business owners and entrepreneurs meet and trade with each other.

In many towns and cities across Europe, at the local restaurant there was a large table where business owners would meet each day, to eat, drink, discuss business and share ideas. In many places, the tables are still there, but the business owners and entrepreneurs that used to sit at them are not. Where did they go, and how do we bring them back?

The world of business is changing fast, and much of that speed is happening due to digitalization of communications and commerce. The face-to-face conversations of the past, though still important, are being increasingly marginalized by the more rapid communications that take place online.

But they don’t change the basic reality that talk, minus action, equals zero.

Business owners and entrepreneurs need a place where they can come together and discuss business between them. To speak to each other and to listen to each other. To learn new ideas, techniques and skills. To be both competitive and collaborative to find opportunities and gaps in the market, and fill them. To spot a blue sky opportunity and go for it. To use digital technology to adapt quickly to trends and market signals.

In this way, entrepreneurs and innovators learn how to do business. Not just have a great idea and let it die, but to find the fertile ground of encouragement and support that is needed to bring it to reality. What we are talking about here is an entrepreneurial guild, a place where innovators and entrepreneurs come together with more experienced business owners on what businesses are needed and could be successful.

Together they learn to produce, and then to sell what they produce. Their sales strategy not only covers getting new clients for themselves, but helping other companies to get new clients as well. In a supportive environment everyone counts.

There is also the need to innovate towards the future, and towards sustainability by creating new products and services that work to build a circular local economy, reducing waste by using it as an input for a new product, and improving the quality of life and prosperity of the local area.

But this doesn’t happen from nothing, innovation becomes easier when primary needs are satisfied. This is why a B2B Bartercard business network is needed.

A business network supports members to have more sales, to be able to reach breakeven and sustain profitability. It’s a place that gives visibility to companies, to their products and services and is the perfect stage to test products and services in a supportive environment. This is how it was done for hundreds of years, until now where we expect new businesses to somehow survive on their own...and as we see the statistics on failure of new business don’t support the idea that starting new businesses outside of a supportive environment works.

But that’s how many people think innovation happens. That innovation happens in a vacuum, that great ideas just happen naturally without any connection to other people. This is just not true.

Innovative breakthroughs come from seeing what others are doing, and being influenced by, and in turn influencing others. As Picasso said, “lesser artists borrow, but great artists steal”. Through failing fast and learning from failure and being able to get up again to do more testing and failure, is how success is achieved. Just look at SpaceX’s Starship rapid rocket prototype development to see how fast even huge products can be made at speed, in the right production environment. Then see how fast the competitors are rushing to keep up and take their ideas and expand upon them, such as how each of them use the visual launch timeline in their video presentations, which was started by SpaceX.

In fact the most innovative ideas are developed within market networks that provide the opportunity to start a new business and be supported by the members, as well as co-identifying new business opportunities that provide services that other businesses need. Although in the case of the emerging rocket industry it takes place across a country and in public, it can also be done in a much smaller and more private setting.

Then it’s more than just having a good idea and then a good product, but good administration and talent management are needed. A B2B Barter business network helps here, providing the assistance needed to help fledgling businesses get off the ground.

Bartercard provides this market where people can meet. Where business owners and entrepreneurs who need services or goods can post them online or show them in person, and where people who are offering goods and services can post those as well, can help those who are looking to start a new business to identify potential opportunities.

It’s also a place for learning, where new business owners can learn from more experienced business owners. A place where businesses can learn about the laws and regulations that affect their business, and how to identify deductions and incentives that can lower their tax bill and improve the quality of their operations.

By taking some good old ideas, and bringing them together with modern ideas, processes and technologies, we can create a fountain for good ideas that become good businesses. We invite you to learn more about Bartercard and what we can do for your business and community.

If you are living in Europe, you can contact us for more information about Bartercard Continental Europe by email at