Bakery Driekant from Zutphen in the Netherlands is a relatively small company, but a great example for other companies and governments. Thanks to a healthy commercial attitude they show how a social business can earn its own money and yet still can be very durable. Tunify spoke with Marijn Smit, director of Driekant craft centre.
“My father - Henk Smit - runs an organic bakery for 40 years now,” explains Marijn. “He’s always been kind of a pioneer. He started quite some companies in his life and grew from a small business to something really big, eventually meaning the ‘human dimension’ was completely gone. At that point, he decided to cut back in size, because he had the feeling that 'certain people also needed to be able to play a role’. And that's how the concept of Driekant was born.” Piet and Marijn Smit are now running Driekant: Piet is the baker and Marijn takes care of the commercial side of Driekant.
For many years now, Driekant shows how things can be different in the social economy. “20 years ago it was very new to start working with people who needed some extra care and attention, especially in a commercial business. Our main reasons for existence are the products and the customers. We’re not a sheltered workshop, in the sense that providing care is not our only focus. We just look at what skills these people have and try to fit them in our work processes in place."
“We often work with apprenticeship programs, with people who need special attention or care. These can be people with a light mental handicap, but also people who are living on benefits for too long and need a reintegration program. It’s not so much our intention to train them as a baker, but we try to give them a place in society. We allow them to establish a working rhythm again, so they can move on to a regular job. The certificate that they get from us, gives them an advantage when looking for a new employer. It shows that they are motivated to work and that they also have certain skills."
Not so long ago, Driekant opened a new business in Zutphen, because the business in the city centre is growing very fast. “We combined a new production hall with a lunchroom,” Marijn explains. “Again, it is an open bakery where we make pastry and chocolate. People can sit in the middle of the bakery, so to speak. You can see where everything is made and by whom it is made. And a nice piece of music complements the overall experience of course."
“Driekant is a rather complex business, with a lot of diversity. For us it’s sometimes difficult to choose the right music. We have searched over the internet for professional music services. Tunify struck us the most, because it has calendars in Tunify Green that offer music associated with certain times of the day and with a huge diversity in songs. For instance, the music that we play in the morning is different than in the late afternoon. We now mostly play music that goes from a quiet to a more cheerful upbeat mood.”
Are you curious about the products Driekant makes or the philosophy behind the company? Then you can get more information on their website: www.driekant.nl.