Social Enterprises meet with Dutch Prime Minister

Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of The Netherlands, received seven social entrepreneurs at his official residence in The Hague. Together with Social Enterprise NL, the Amsterdam Shapers organized a dynamic and interactive meeting.

Two-minute impact pitches
The social entrepreneurs were each given two minutes to pitch how their enterprises create social, environmental and economic value. These were followed by a Q&A session. The Prime Minister showed a deep interest in the entrepreneurs’ personal and entrepreneurial stories. Among the attending social entrepreneurs were Roetz-Bikes (recycled city bikes), SnappCar (an innovative car sharing company), AutiTalent (creating jobs for the autistic) and Tony’s Chocolonely (producing “slave-free” chocolate). World Economic Forum Young Global Leader Hajo van Beijma also participated on behalf of his social enterprise, Text to Change, which brings about social change in emerging countries through pioneering mobile solutions. WakaWaka’s founder, aspiring to make solar energy accessible to the 1.3 billion people living off-grid, (a cause supported by Global Shapers hubs from all over the world) also participated. The catering was taken care of by the Color Kitchen (which gives on-the-job guidance and professional training to people with limited job opportunities), whose proud founder also had a seat at the table.

Prime Minister: “Great session!”
After the meeting, the Prime Minister stated: “Had a great session with seven social entrepreneurs. Each of them are innovative entrepreneurs who truly help to solve societal challenges.” The session also included a short discussion about the potential role of the Dutch government in stimulating social enterprises. The Prime Minister concluded that social entrepreneurship is an excellent example of how entrepreneurial and innovative people can proactively contribute to society. “It is important that we, as government, pay attention to social entrepreneurship.” Afterwards, his enthusiasm was communicated via his facebook and twitter accounts.

Historical setting
In the fall of 2013, the Amsterdam Global Shapers met with the Prime Minister in his office, which is located in a “little tower” (in Dutch: “het Torentje”) of a government building. Adrian de Groot Ruiz and Paulette van Ommen, former and current curators of the Amsterdam Global Shapers explain. “We proposed to organize a “TEDxTorentje” for the Prime Minster, bringing in social enterprises in order to further familiarize him with social entrepreneurship. He immediately demonstrated his interest. We joined forces with Social Enterprise NL, as this organization connects and represents hundreds of impactful Dutch social enterprises and already had strong connections with a wide variety of stakeholders. As the Prime Minister’s little tower is a bit too small to interact with so many social entrepreneurs, the venue of choice became his official residence; the Catshuis.” This building (which was built in the 17th century) has been in use as the official residence of the Prime Minister since 1963.

The Global Shapers thank the Prime Minister and his team, Social Enterprise NL and of course the seven social enterprises for the great collaboration.