Woman making a wooden lamp

Social enterprises for an inclusive labor market

Finally getting a job can make the difference between languishing or thriving. Between feeling useless or fully participating in society. That’s why we’re assisting people in the Netherlands who have trouble finding suitable work. We are doing this by helping to strengthen social enterprises. Because the more successful these enterprises are, the more people they will be able to employ.

What is the problem?

No fewer than 1.5 million people in the Netherlands find themselves marginalized by the labor market. They are desperate for an opportunity to work and to deploy their talents. But the job opportunities for them are few and far between, due to a disability, long-term unemployment or lack of qualifications. Yet these people have so much to offer society.

What is the solution?

Social enterprises play the leading role in helping these people participate fully once more. Using creative methods, these enterprises eliminate obstacles and help people into jobs that suit them. And that makes a world of difference. A regular income, a sense of value, development opportunities and daily social contact are the building blocks for a happy life.

How is Rabo Foundation helping?

Our mission is essentially about offering fair chances to achieve economic self-reliance. These opportunities are created by social enterprises, who recognize this social challenge and want to help tackle it. They are making our society more inclusive and strengthening our (aging) labor market. That’s why we believe social enterprises are setting a new standard and inspiring companies everywhere. This is how we share this inspiration.

Funding for social enterprises

The priority for social enterprises is impact, not financial returns. Regular banks therefore see them as posing a greater risk and are not inclined to lend them money. Rabo Foundation offers financial support to promising social enterprises. It may take the form of a loan or a grant. This gives them the opportunity for a successful launch or further growth. Often we will be the first party to provide them with funding, acting as a driver for their success.

Stronger organizations

Social enterprises need a good business model to turn their ideals into reality. Only then will there be a financially healthy business with good prospects for the future. We offer a range of training and courses for this purpose. We support the people behind these initiatives by providing business advice, coaching and knowledge to strengthen their entrepreneurial skills.

Smart connections and more market access

The more products that a social enterprise can sell, the more people it can employ. That’s why we bring our partners into contact with the major parties in our network, such as Bijenkorf, Ikea and Heineken. This delivers new partnerships, more market access and greater social impact.

Greater social impact

Like these social enterprises, we’re most concerned with impact. In our case, that means the outcomes we achieve for society. When a project application arrives, we start by looking at what the enterprise can achieve. Then we measure its results throughout the year. This helps us establish how social enterprises can achieve even greater impact and success. We also share these lessons with other enterprises, helping each other to make progress.

Start making an impact

As a social entrepreneur, do you contribute to an inclusive labor market in the Netherlands? See if we can do something for each other.

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