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Area Cooperative Westerkwartier: A Practitioner’s Overview

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Foorthuis, Willem
Conference: Practicing the Commons: Self-Governance, Cooperation and Institutional Change
Location: Utrecht, the Netherlands
Conf. Date: 10-14 July
Date: 2017
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/10349
Sector: Social Organization
Subject(s): cooperatives
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."

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