Area Cooperative Westerkwartier: a practitioner’s overview

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Abstract

The goal of this paper is to present the emergence of a new cooperative model for sustainable regional development through social enterprise, rooted in a historical context of societal change in the Netherlands. Our case study is the Gebiedscoöperatie Westerkwartier (GCW), a large-scale area and integrated cooperative with more than 600 organizational and institutional members within the scope of the Dutch northern rural region Westerkwartier. The paper focuses on the mechanisms by which the cooperative facilitates new connections between actors in the quadruple helix of government, entrepreneurs, education and civil society, with the goal of generating both economic and social returns. Based on empirical evidence, possibilities are explored for new business models that combine economic thinking with innovative ways of utilising regional qualities for shared, value-driven governance and enterprise.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017

Keywords

  • regional cooperatives
  • social innovation
  • business models

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