The social value of SMEs
Panteia recently conducted a survey commissioned by MKB-Nederland on the social value of SMEs in The Netherlands. Over 1100 entrepreneurs with staff participated. The survey was conducted as part of the Day of the Entrepreneur, which was celebrated for the eighth time this year on Friday 17 November.
Entrepreneurs contribute indispensably to local society
Small and medium-sized enterprises contribute over EUR 1.5 billion annually to local associations and social initiatives. Entrepreneurs support their employees in case of financial difficulties and in case they need to provide informal care. They see a bigger role for themselves in society than purely economic.
More than just making money
A large majority (64%) of entrepreneurs indicate that their company plays a bigger role in society than purely economic and has other priorities and activities than just 'making money'. For instance, 69% actively engage in the liveability, safety and social cohesion of the local community and the vast majority (74%) engage in sponsoring community organisations and/or social activities in the region; from sports clubs, cultural organisations, and schools to care institutions, food banks and community centres. In addition to money, entrepreneurs also contribute time and other resources. Added up, this amounts to an average of almost EUR 5,000 per company per year. For all SMEs in total, this amounts to over EUR 1.5 billion annually.
Connection with immediate surroundings
When it comes to reasons for doing so, entrepreneurs particularly mention involvement with their immediate surroundings, liveability and 'wanting to give something back to society'. Their connection with the local community is also shown by the fact that 60% prefer to buy products and services locally as much as possible. This way, entrepreneurs also take care of each other.
Help with financial problems and informal care
The survey shows that SMEs are very important for regional and local employment opportunities. At over half of the companies, more than three quarters of the employees live within a 15-kilometre radius. Not only do entrepreneurs care about and are involved with their immediate surroundings, they also care about the well-being and development of their own people. For instance, almost 70% of entrepreneurs cover the costs of courses and studies for career development of their workers and 63% offer the opportunity to take them during working hours. Some 40% of SMEs offer employees help with financial problems and make working time available for providing informal care.
SMEs also contribute socially by training young people and providing opportunities for people at a labour market disadvantage. Especially popular is providing young people with internship opportunities. Last year, on average, all SMEs had an internship or apprenticeship for young people. Additionally, over 1 in 5 entrepreneurs currently employs people with a labour market disadvantage.
Read the report of this survey here (in Dutch).