The social development bank in Europe

Through its partnership with Rabobank in the Netherlands, the CEB is providing financial incentives for businesses that do social good.

Social impact loan launch in the Netherlands
The CEB and Rabobank teams at the launch of the social impact loan
For over a decade now, the health care and education systems in the Netherlands have been decentralised and ‘open’. The state sets the basic policy, regulatory framework and operational conditions, but the individual is left free to choose the service provider that best suits their personal needs.  

The reforms in 2006 that brought this about created a shift away from the provision of centralised and institutionalised care, and allowed the development of a market for small, mostly private, social enterprises able to provide innovative and customised care, including community services for the old, the young, people with disabilities or on low incomes. 

The challenge for social enterprise

A recent study showed there was a deficit in funding for growth capital for these businesses, as some institutions that provide regular financing for MSMEs are more reluctant to support social enterprises. Meanwhile, the demand in the Netherlands for healthcare, and for these types of services, is only increasing, due to the country’s ageing population.  

“The Netherlands is a champion of healthcare costs,” explains Marleen Jansen, Sector Manager for Healthcare at Rabobank. “The country’s healthcare expenses are among the highest in Europe.” This is of concern to Rabobank, the Netherlands’ major cooperative bank and funder of social entrepreneurs.  

“Our goal is to support sufficient health care in all parts of the Netherlands, which is important for the livability of those areas. 

To achieve quality, accessibility and affordability we have to fundamentally change the system – and the drivers of this transformation are entrepreneurship and innovation.”  

Rewarding sustainability

Rabobank developed a social impact loan (SIL), which financially rewards clients for their sustainable behaviour. The SIL is aimed at helping emerging social sector providers to develop their activities by offering them incentives to adopt environmental and social best practices. However, currently only 10% of all eligible Rabobank clients fulfil the loan’s criteria.

So, this year, with €100 million in funding from the CEB, Rabobank launched its new Rabo Impact Loan for Healthcare and Education, focusing on two sectors that have great social value in the Netherlands. 

“Thanks to our partnership with the CEB, we are going to strengthen organisations with a social impact in primary care and primary and secondary education,” says Bas Rüter, Director of Sustainability at Rabobank.  

Beneficiaries of the programme will be entrepreneurs, family businesses and MSMEs that operate in the social sector, that generate social added value and have been certified to one of the different eligible certification schemes. The main focus areas will be social care providers, education providers, and the integration of disabled people. Those involved may range from GPs and dentists, to mental health and addiction centres, domiciliary care providers, and care services for older people and people with special needs.  

The loan to Rabobank is the CEB’s first ever operation in the Netherlands, a member country of the Bank since 1978.  

“Entrepreneurship is a crucial driver for economic growth and job creation in the Netherlands. In addition, it can be a very efficient vehicle for providing social services that are tailored to local needs. We are entering into cooperation with Rabobank to realise concrete improvements at social and sustainable level in healthcare and education,” says Holger Seifert, Country Manager for Netherlands at the CEB. 

In figures

  • €100 million

    support for social enterprises in the Netherlands

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