ArtEZ alumni create a more inclusive labour market with Scootbezorgd
Myrthe Rosema and Frouke Engel graduated in Product Design in Arnhem in 2020. The alumni felt it was time to make the labour market more inclusive and came up with the idea of Scootbezorgd: the social, inclusive, sustainable delivery service. Unlike what you normally see, Scootbezorgd deliveries are made by drivers on a mobility scooter. This means that people who might not normally find work are given a place in society. Ditisarnhem interviewed the pair.
Myrthe and Frouke both came to Arnhem for their studies. "I was accepted by several schools," says Frouke. "I went to have a look at the cities and Arnhem appealed to me most. A city, but not as busy as Rotterdam, for example. Friendly - and with a river. For me, it's a real bonus to be by the water."
Learning to look in a different way
For her graduation project in Product Design, Myrthe focused on old age and immobility: how can you continue to engage elderly people who are no longer so mobile in society? "I started looking at immobility and considering what else we can do with (mobility) aids apart from using them when you can no longer do something. How can we give them a positive twist? And one of the things that emerged was the delivery service with mobility scooters."
How nice is it then when you share your idea with a fellow student who immediately visualises it? "When I was young, I once saw a mobility scooter on the road, and behind it was a road sweeper. I see things in pictures, so I immediately put the sweeper on the mobility scooter. Now years later, we are really expanding how we use normal aids," says Frouke.
Myrthe: "During my graduation, Scootbezorgd was in an exhibition setting, but to make impact in society, we need to implement it!"
Myrthe and Frouke got together to brainstorm and the idea for Scootbezorgd started to take shape. But setting up a sustainable social business is easier said than done. "There's a lot of legislation to contend with. People usually get a mobility scooter via the Social Support Act (Wmo). But that means they can't use it to transport goods. And they wouldn't be covered by insurance either. So, we need to buy or rent our own mobility scooters. The delivery drivers can't use their own mobility scooters," says Myrthe.
Our aim is to tackle loneliness, stop labelling people so much, and give people who might otherwise be sidelined a place in the heart of society. Scootbezorgd is the social, inclusive, sustainable delivery service and unlike what you normally see, our drivers ride on a mobility scooter.
With all the roles the two entrepreneurs need to play, it's nice to have some help. One of the places they found support was at the Startclub Arnhem. "Michiel van Drunen gave us a lot of help. Someone to spar with, but also with his huge, valuable network. The nice thing about Startclub is that were very active towards us too. So, we always felt supported. And still do."
Towards an inclusive labour market
Frouke: "We believe in an inclusive labour market and society. Nearly everyone is welcome to come and deliver for us. Because of our means of transport, people with a (slight) physical impairment are also very welcome. We offer activities, support and focus on personal and professional development. There are more vacancies than unemployed people. This is usually not because of the willingness of people to work. We need more suitable jobs."
Myrthe: "In short, we like to support people and set up a nice social organisation in which everyone can hopefully find a place that suits them. We are extremely motivated to get started, and together with the municipality and healthcare organisations, we are exploring the opportunities for various ways to place and support delivery drivers. We are already hearing from people who are keen to start."
Locally from A to B
Scootbezorgd won't be delivering parcels for Zalando or other big companies. Frouke explains: "We aren't competing with PostNL or DHL. Now, there are so many vans driving into the city. Bad for the environment and the drivers experience a high workload. Our services are radically different. We facilitate local and electric deliveries by people who might not always be considered for work. In this way, we offer a sustainable and people-friendly alternative. What we do is deliver bread from the baker to the local restaurant, for example, or Christmas hampers from the school to local employees. Very local, so anything that needs to go from A to B."
Myrthe: "So long as it fits on our mobility scooter and doesn't weigh more than 120 kg, we can deliver it to you at 45 km an hour. We're looking for companies and organisations that would like to work with us. The more customers, parcels and post we have, the easier it will be to launch the service. So, if anyone is interested, please contact us!"
Eventually, Myrthe and Frouke don't want the delivery drivers to work for them, but for their own enjoyment and success. "We want to empower them. And if we can't, we'll be totally honest and will have to stop. But we believe this will be a success!"