ONS Label ('Our Brand') – Breda
Personal development through a residents' cooperative
People in an underprivileged situation, who are distanced from the employment market, are often not capable of autonomously finding a job or a work experience traineeship. Geeren-Zuid is a neighbourhood in Breda with a growing number of residents in need of assistance with domestic chores, small jobs in and around the house, and care. Residents have joined forces to prevent the community centre from being closed down due to budget cuts, so that residents can be offered an opportunity to enhance their talents and skills.
ONS Label is a horizontal organisation with a small team, which develops participation jobs, mentoring and business activities. Each year, about 160 residents from the neighbourhood jointly run businesses (hospitality, technical chores, cleaning or sewing), while retaining entitlement to benefits (maximum 2 years). Services of these four divisions are sold to both private and corporate customers. As a member of the cooperative, the participants can gather a budget to invest in their own development and education. The members of the cooperative jointly control and steer their local commercial activities.
By means of cooperative entrepreneurship, the participants develop their personal, social and work skills. The initiative has a tripartite objective: increasing opportunities for sustainable ‘honest’ jobs, increasing social cohesion in the neighbourhood and offering affordable services to residents in need of assistance. The cooperative as a juridical form was consciously chosen to stimulate the self-organising ability of the participants. ‘Offering opportunities to people, so they can take steps toward the ultimate goal: lasting outflow from benefits. In an inspiring environment, where employees learn a profession on the job and have a say in the company.’