This week our State Secretary for Social Affairs and Employment, Tamara van Ark, paid a working visit to a real impact entrepreneur: GreenFox Social Return. It was a very nice experience for Renzo Deurloo, director of GreenFox. A short insight into a social company, located in the startup hub of The Hague, De Binckhaven.
How was the visit?
On her own initiative, State Secretary Van Ark paid a visit to GreenFox Social Return on Monday. A number of employees of GreenFox Social Return are employed at Strukton, where the working visit of Tamara van Ark took place. Van Ark: “For some people, life does not always go as it should. And I’ve seen what happens when you look at what they can do instead of what they can not do. I have met employees here who have been working for a few years now, while a few years ago many people would not give them much chance. And now they are going very well. I think that is a fun and inspiring example of how you can look at people.”.
What does GreenFox Social Return do?
GreenFox Social Return has the primary objective of getting people who do not have a job for whatever reason, back to work in a sustainable way. Sometimes a human life just does not go as planned, you miss the right diplomas, but you do have the right mentality and capacity to do a good job. With a little help you can get back to work and out of a benefit situation. But how can a company fulfill this traditionally public function?
This is precisely the work of a social firm, for which not the profit, but making impact is the most important theme. But in what way does a social firm work? “People are employed by us, and under supervision they follow the training they miss. These are regular courses but also customized. This can even be a driving license if necessary to get a job. These courses are paid by GreenFox Social Return, including the necessary books and the bus to go there. After a year they do not work at clients. Here they do the necessary work experience and then get paid to get started. ”
Renzo Deurloo: “The specialists who work with us are just very good people, many of them had some bad luck at a time so they did not end up at the place where they could ‘normally’ be. They are people aged 18 to 67 with a very diverse level of education. By training them, coaching them and guiding them to a job, we have succeeded in helping many people finding jobs. There are now more than 50 employees at GreenFox Social Return, and dozens of them have gone to permanent contracts with, for example, Strukton. , Croonwolter & Dros, BAM and Heijmans.”
The role of the government
Despite the functioning of the market, the government has an important boost in social return. The government is often the overarching client, who places a contract requirement in a tender that part of the assignment has to be filled in with social return. This means that a percentage must be implemented with people who return back in the labor process. And GreenFox Social Return guides this process from A to Z. The great thing is that goals are often exceeded, and ultimately more people are deployed with social return than the original requirement. GreenFox Social Return has invested for years in this model, and this investment is starting to pay off.
Social return in The Hague
The Hague may not be the only leader in the field of social return in the Netherlands, the cities of Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Eindhoven and Groningen are also doing very well. But the change in the right direction is faster here. More and more impact organizations within The Hague are adopting this model, and more and more larger companies incorporate social return in their objectives. The Hague, for example, is developing at an accelerated pace from a conservative to a progressively enterprising city.
For new startups it is sometimes quite difficult to start a business. Yet there is a huge network in The Hague. “There is a lot of contact between the various social entrepreneurs and we share and help each other.” Renzo Deurloo also regularly helps entrepreneurs with knowledge and experience. And from ImpactCity The Hague there is a whole program with services to support impact entrepreneurs where necessary. From assistance with financing, housing to finding new talent. Read more about this on the ImpactCity website.
The place to work: startup hub Binckhaven
GreenFox Social Return is located in the startup hub of The Hague, the Binckhaven, a rapidly developing area situated in the Binckhorst. “For us the Binckhaven is a brilliant place. We started renting here seven years ago, when this area was still pretty bad. Now Binckhaven is developing enormously with the many startups, Apollo 14, Caballero Fabriek, Kompaan, Secrid and MaMa Kelly. It has just become much more fun. The neighborhood is developing at a rapid pace and I hope we can stay here. Given our growth, we have to start thinking about the new way of working, with flex and home workplaces.”
Read more about GreenFox Social Return