Rik Konings is a passionate person. Most people would frown at the idea of helping about five thousand people get a job through a bike taxi plan, but not Konings; instead his enthusiasm is growing by the day. Konings and his partners at Creative Impact Solutions won the audience award at the iCityTender on Strijp-S with their idea. And now he really wants to get going with The Green Butterfly (De Groene Vlinder).
But what is it really, this Green Butterfly? Konings: “We have something incredibly interesting to offer to make the city more social, healthier and smarter. In this region, there are about 40.000 people outside the labour market, of which each individual has his own story and for whom the reintegration processes don’t seem to be working. The Green Butterfly is offering a new approach for this group: a 100 days program in which you’re working daily on the job or company of your dreams.” That dream may include many areas, but next to that the participants of the program are also working on the project of the bike taxi for 3 hours a day. “It’s literally a flying start that won’t only give you work, but will also offer your life a very positive impulse.”
Because every person is different, Konings wants to offer a large variety of functions within the company. “The talents, passion, creativity, entrepreneurship, energy, ingenuity and motivations of the participants are leading. There will be several jobs within the company in the field of talent coaching, planning, administration, ICT, marketing, technology, finance, organisation, team coaching and many functions of which we do not yet know the existence.”
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An important issue with this is how to finance all of this. The activities of the company should generate turnover, but until then, bikes will have to be built or bought. Konings thinks the key to that is with the local government: “The project brings paying jobs within our own organisation, paying jobs at companies or their own entrepreneurship to up to 5,000 people from outside the labour market. In all cases, people who completed the 100 days program no longer receive welfare benefits. With 5,000 people that is a social saving of 250 million Euros.”
To reach that result, Konings expects to need 10% of that amount as an investment for a healthy business case: that’s €25 million. “This means that our funding should come from municipality, region, province, country, Europe, funds, Social impact Bonds and the business community.”
Konings sees the value of TDK in the city: Technology, Design and Knowledge. “But we’re adding an extra layer in which people are central: Talent, Diversity and power (Kracht). So TDK².”
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