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Cordaid NL

Cordaid’s cooperative entrepreneurship program in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, poverty and social exclusion continue to be a problem. Roughly 8% of the Dutch population is living in poverty. Cordaid’s work in the Netherlands aims to empower individuals to lift themselves out of poverty, and to be able to fully participate in society again.

  • 660,000 Dutch people struggle to make ends meet
  • 27 cooperatives reach out to people with a low income, with support from Cordaid
  • in 22  municipalities in the Netherlands

Working with social cooperatives in 3 phases

Cordaid’s Cooperative Entrepreneurship program (Coöperatief Ondernemen in Nederland – COIN) supports local cooperatives across 19 municipalities in the Netherlands with knowledge, coaching, and networking. We work closely alongside social cooperatives in three distinct phases:

In the orientation phase, Cordaid provides information, assesses the business plan of the social cooperative, and discusses the implications of the ‘Participatiewet’ – a Dutch law that aims to bridge the labour gap for people with a distance to the job market – with the relevant municipality.

The start-up phase includes the formal establishment and registration of the social cooperative. Cordaid advises on the related legal, fiscal and financial matters, and drafts statutes, agreements and general conditions.

In the development phase Cordaid provides custom-made support to social cooperatives. This involves training to help them improve key skills, work out a business plan, and develop pricing and marketing strategies. We also assist the board with day-to-day business.

Once strong enough, we keep track of the cooperative’s individual members and operate as a sounding board.

“This project is ideal for people who want to do business but don’t have the means. The training in empowerment, marketing and finance helped me a lot.”

Glenda van Duivenvoorde, catering company Toespijs, social cooperative Zoete Kruimels, Zoetermeer

The benefits of our work in the Netherlands

By strengthening social cooperatives, Cordaid equips people to get out of social isolation, create networks and participate in society more actively. This in turn helps to increase self-confidence and self-esteem. In this way, social cooperatives offer a possible solution to poverty, carried by people themselves, with a long-lasting effect.

By promoting participation and self-reliance – combined with the fact that people rely less on social services – Cordaid’s entrepreneurship program in the Netherlands has benefits for individuals, for the participating municipalities and for the wider society.

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(featured image: Jude Catering, one of the social enterprises supported by Cordaid. © Jet Helsloot)