Triggering Social Entrepreneurship Initiatives

Investigating the role of Dutch national government policy in triggering social entrepreneurship initiatives focusing on delivering affordable owner-occupied housing

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The Netherlands is currently facing a shortage of affordable housing, specifically for middle-income households. These households with too much income to qualify for social housing but not enough to buy a home tend to squeeze into the free rental market increasingly. Housing specifically targeted at this group is known as intermediate housing, which is provided at a cost above social rent but below market rates. In previous years, very few houses for this target group were developed due to the reluctance of the market to develop these homes due to lower profitability and strict regulations that made it difficult for local governments and social housing associations to build and distribute intermediate housing.

This study's primary goal is to reduce the inequality gap in the Dutch housing market by designing a national government housing policy. As a response to the shortage of affordable housing among middle-income households, it has been proposed that more social enterprises should become active in the housing sector as well as in other industries which solve societal problems by combining economic mission and societal impact. Social housing enterprises can explicitly address the shortage of affordable housing for middle-income households, unlike commercial ones that are solely concerned with profits. Furthermore, these newly developed Social Housing Enterprises are not subject to strict rules regarding the distribution of housing to middle-income households. As a result, they might be able to address the housing shortage.

The research question is "How can national government policy trigger social entrepreneurship initiatives focusing on delivering affordable owner-occupied housing?". For this research, a qualitative approach has been taken, in which primary and secondary data are used. The primary data came from ten semi-structured in-depth interviews, and the secondary data came from the literature review. In general, the national government's involvement increases the likelihood of individuals engaging in Social Entrepreneurship and its formation. The result showed that government support for removing barriers to social enterprise creation was the most important factor driving social entrepreneurship. Governments can lower barriers to social enterprises in the provision of intermediate housing by giving formal recognition, improving access to markets and finances, providing in-kind resources, and strengthening skills to trigger social entrepreneurship initiatives focusing on delivering affordable owner-occupied housing.