Welcome to the website of Social Enterprise NL.
What is social entrepreneurship and why is it important?
As a national membership body, Social Enterprise NL represents, connects and supports the growing community of social enterprises in The Netherlands. A social enterprise is an operator in the social economy whose main objective is to have a social impact rather than to make a profit for their owners or shareholders. This is important because these social enterprises are the pioneers towards a new economy. An economy that works for all people: circular, inclusive and poverty free.
Structure of social entrepreneurship
A social enterprise operates by providing goods and services for the market in an entrepreneurial and innovative manner and uses its profits primarily to achieve its social objectives. Also, the enterprise is transparent in its activities and involves employees, consumers and stakeholders affected by its commercial activities (Social Business Initiative, European Commission). In addition, Social Enterprise NL will qualify enterprises as social enterprises when an enterprise is financially independent for at least 50%.
Impact first, but how do you measure that?
The social mission of social entrepreneurs is primarily to solve a social problem first and foremost. But how can they see that their impact is successful or needs to be adjusted? Measuring social impact is crucial for this. Social Enterprise NL stimulates the development of available tools for entrepreneurs to measure impact in an easier and cheaper way.
Creating social added value is crucial for social entrepreneurs, and is therefore at the heart of her business strategy. It is first and foremost own responsibility to check whether this added value is actually created and actually contributes to solving the social problem they have placed at the heart of their business strategy. For many social enterprises it is still too expensive and complex to measure impact systematically and thoroughly. Social Enterprise NL therefore offers the Impactpad, an online and open source manual that helps entrepreneurs to measure impact.
Social Enterprise NL – what do we do and how do we achieve this?
In 2012, Social Enterprise NL started the social enterprise movement in the Netherlands to work towards a better ecosystem. Social Enterprise NL aims to increase the visibility of social enterprises by:
1) Providing support to its members: business support programs, accelerators and network events;
2) Facilitating a favourable business environment: influence government, public bodies, corporations, and investors to break down barriers for success of social enterprises;
3) Inspiring social and entrepreneurial action: encourage more research and education on the topic of social entrepreneurship, and by endorsing social entrepreneurs and their enterprises.
Providing support to its members
Currently, Social Enterprise NL has a community consisting of more than 390 members. These members are active in 16 business sectors, such as catering, IT solutions, manufacturing, etcetera. Additionally, these social enterprises have diverse impact areas. For example, circular economy, renewable energy, economic development, etcetera.
Together with its partners and a network full of experts and coaches, Social Enterprise NL offers its members direct support services in specific areas such as access to finance, impact measurement, positioning and marketing, sales and acquisition, and legal support.
Facilitating a favourable business environment
In order to improve the business environment for social enterprises, Social Enterprise NL focuses on local governmental institutions and the national government. Contrary to many countries, the Netherlands has no separate legal structure for social enterprises. Therefore, Social Enterprise NL has published a paper on a new legal structure, in order for the government to acknowledge and enable this. Correspondingly, Social Enterprise NL instigated the drafting of a Code of Conduct for social enterprises, which is better known as Code Social Enterprises. Buy Social is another way for Social Enterprise NL to facilitate a more favourable business environment for social enterprises in the Netherlands, as it is aimed at promoting sustainable procurement by large corporations and governments.
Inspiring social and entrepreneurial action
In order to provide an insight into and an overview of social entrepreneurship in the Netherlands, Social Enterprise NL conducted a yearly survey since 2013 among social entrepreneurs in 2019. The publication can be found here. In addition, Social Enterprise NL connects and strengthens these entrepreneurs and wants to inspire everybody to contribute to this community of social enterprises. This is done by providing a stage for the social enterprises in (social) media and PR.
More about Social Enterprise NL
In 2012, Social Enterprise NL was founded by Willemijn Verloop and Mark Hillen. They wrote The Social Enterprise Unraveled. Social Enterprise NL’s founding partners are PwC, ABN Amro, CMS, and Stichting DOEN.
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