According to a January 2019 report, the employment rate in The Netherlands is 77,7% which is the 4th highest in Europe. However, not all the members of Dutch society have free access to the job market for a number of reasons — lack of high education, illiteracy in Dutch, physical and/or mental disabilities all contribute to unemployment rates. Oftentimes, certain population groups, like stay-at-home parents or elderly people, also experience marginalization and exclusion. How can we ensure that every individual feels accepted in working society and has opportunities to fulfil their potential?
Please, give a warm welcome to the following five changemakers who each gave an answer to this question in their own way by making sure that certain societal groups are given an opportunity to grow, bringing value for both these people and consumers.
Happy Tosti is a restaurant with the goal of employing as many people with limitations to the job market as possible. Most of their employees — 65% — are young people with physical and/or mental disabilities. At Happy Tosti, employees learn to cook and serve meals — salads, soups, sandwiches, — have the opportunity to take their financial future into their own hands and exchange warmth and positive experiences with their team members and customers. The value provided to the employees is real hands-on job experience and moreover, the feeling of appreciation. Happy Tosti’s are located in The Hague, Hoofddorp, Deventer and Leiden and thanks to their distinctive design, are pretty unmissable!
2) Mijn Buuf
The principal mission of Mijn Buuf is the empowerment of women who experience social isolation, linguistic barriers and a lack of work experience in the Netherlands. At Mijn Buuf, women learn to create sustainable bags, pillows, postcards and other goods from flags or banners used at various Hague events — Volvo Ocean Race, Het Haagse Feest Aan Zee, to name a few! Every product designed at Mijn Buuf is unique and is the fruit of the employees’ imagination and creativity. This way, combining sustainability, social inclusion and good vibes, this company gives a chance to many women to socialize, open up their creativity and slowly integrate into Dutch society.
3) Oma’s Soup
Oma’s soup is an Amsterdam-based initiative aiming to combat loneliness among the senior citizens and unite them around a meaningful and pleasant task — make tasty home-made soup. In addition, the vegetables used for the soups are supposed-to-be-thrown-away ones so Oma’s soup also combats food waste, killing two birds with one stone. The meals can be ordered via phone or email. Otherwise, anyone can join as a volunteer during the Cook Days and enjoy the warm company of the oma’s while learning their cooking tricks and techniques. Win-win!
4) Sea Rangers
Sea Ranger Service is a company with a truly versatile character. Their core business activity is a maritime ranger service which combines building ships for sailing work, training the youth to become Sea Rangers and involving navy veterans in the education process. This thoughtful framework gives an amazing opportunity for at-risk youth and partly unemployed veterans to do something meaningful together. After the training, the Rangers take part in the marine research and conservation programs. Overall, Sea Ranger Service tackles problems such as youth unemployment, reintegration of veterans into the job market and marine areas protection. Smart, inspiring and promoting sustainability — isn’t it amazing?
5) Mama Taxi
Mama Taxi is a taxi company from Rotterdam whose mission is to empower women of various origins with limitations to the labour market to become taxi drivers for busy Rotterdammers. The inspiration of Mama Taxi came to its founder, Zizi Fernandes when her grandmother — Mama — repeatedly refused to use taxi service in Guinea Bissau due to their unreliability and lack of safety. This is why Zizi pledged to help people moving about urban cities deserve to do so in a safe, clean and reliable way. By the way, at Mama Taxi they only use electric vehicles — the stylish Tesla Model S, to be precise. So, if you’ve ever thought of combining an enjoyable ride in a Tesla and doing good, Mama Taxi may be exactly what you are looking for.
These are only 5 companies among numerous others who are working towards the same common goal — social inclusion. Do you know any inspiring Dutch enterprise which tackles the same problem? Let us know and we will write about them!
Do you want to support startups like these in their missions of inclusion and sustainability? Contact us and let us know more about what you do! We Share supports Impact Startups in their aspiration for a better future. We connect them with a wide range of Funding Members and experts. Moreover, we offer them patient capital: i.e. long-term loans with low-interest rates. More information about us and the support you can get from us can be found here.