For many people, work is an important and even defining part of their life. People on the margins of the labour market often struggle with feelings of loneliness, inadequacy, social isolation and shame. However, working in a team, with colleagues who value their particular strengths, provides them with a safe and supportive environment that promotes their social, economic and professional growth.
A fair chance to participate in society in the Netherlands
The value of work
A safe working environment for a better chance to participate in society
Social entrepreneurship – the key to social inclusion
We believe that work helps people gain self-confidence, self-reliance and social skills. People in vulnerable situations therefore deserve a safe and supportive working environment where the focus is on their personal strengths – a place that offers the resources and opportunities they need to develop and provides them with a fair chance to participate in society. If you ask us, social enterprises are the best way to achieve this.
Social and enterprising
We work together with social enterprises that focus on improving employment prospects and actively contribute to creating an inclusive labour market. They don’t see their business as an end in itself, but as a means to accomplish their mission of creating social impact.
By offering apprenticeships, sheltered work environments or supported work activities, social entrepreneurs give their employees the opportunity to learn valuable skills – skills that are essential for participating in society and gaining access to the labour market.
Social entrepreneurs work in a financially sustainable way. This means a business will eventually be able to stand on its own two feet. This is important to us, as financially healthy companies can continue to exist and generate lasting positive impact.
To maximise our positive impact, we enter into long-term partnerships with social enterprises that will outgrow the need for our support over time. We do not mind that it might take your social enterprise a little while to get to that point – we focus on social impact rather than financial gain. Our support comes in the form of a loan, a grant or a combination of the two and is always accompanied by non-financial support.
Healthy organisations with well-established social objectives can achieve greater social impact. That’s why we will also provide your social enterprise with organisational and business support. Our non-financial support may include:
- impact strategy, including baseline assessment, management and support
- leadership and team development
- entrepreneurship, experience, knowledge, expertise and networks
- anchoring social objectives in governance and organisational structures
- market strategy and revenue models
- operational, administrative and financial management
- evaluation and reporting
We will also track the growth and development of your enterprise to help ensure the continuity of your social impact.
Sharing our knowledge and network
If we decide to support your initiative, we will ask you to participate in several training sessions with other social entrepreneurs. You will also gain access to our network of sector associations, private sector companies, care organisations, government agencies, experts, advisers, other charitable organisations and fellow social entrepreneurs. The knowledge we develop and share helps us all improve our ability to reach our ultimate goal: enabling more people in vulnerable situations to participate fully in society.
Our non-financial help is very well received by the social entrepreneurs we support. In a large independent survey several years ago, we asked them the following question: ‘Given the choice, would you have preferred to receive more financial assistance instead of our non-financial support?’ Only 8% would have preferred more money, while 92% preferred our combination of financial and other support.
The IGNITE Award is a programme we created to give enterprising people the opportunity to translate promising business ideas into positive social impact. Social start-ups receive individual coaching, attend business workshops and can win up to €100,000 to invest in their company. It’s an inspiring programme that helps beginning entrepreneurs transform their ideas into solid business plans and lay the foundation for a successful social enterprise.
Are we a match?
Would you like to know if your social enterprise aligns with our vision and goals? Read more about our approach and perform a quick scan to see if we are a potential match.