In The Netherlands, social enterprises are deeply rooted in a relevant tradition of cooperatives as well as in the Dutch culture.
The National Report describes the economic and social context in which social entrepreneurship emerged and developed, providing a broad overview on the role of institutions and educational system:
Social enterprising received a big boost because of the economic crisis. The government increasingly became aware that the welfare society became too expensive. The strategic council of high officers in the public administration stated that society needed a paradigm shift: civilians should not see themselves any more as anonymous consumers of the welfare state but as responsible do-it-yourself persons. Many appeals were sent out for the so called Do-Democracy. As a result one can observe a fast growth of social enterprises. A 2011 McKinsey study estimated that there would be between four and five thousand enterprises active in the Netherlands (this estimation is based on a sample of Chamber of Commerce registrations and a benchmark with the UK)
Thus, analysing the existing constraints and positive inputs, the Report aims to understand the possible paths that should be pursued in order to sustain the emergence of social entrepreneurship in the country:
If one would like to support this sector you have to define the basic question to what extent a social enterprise differs from a regular enterprise. But this implies the problem of creating a distinctive status and unfair play within the economic arena. This can rise quite difficult dilemmas in public policy making.
Social Enterprise, Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship in The Netherlands: A National Report
Roel During, Pat van der Jagt and Natasha de Sena
Alterra Wageningen UR