How Cordaid transformed from NGO to social enterprise

Henri van Eeghen, chief operating officer at Cordaid. How did Cordaid go from a foreign aid-focused organization to a social enterprise? Photo by: Samenwerkende Hulporganisaties / CC BY-NC-SA

In pursuit of a more sustainable and diversified funding base, more accountable division managers and better results for their programs, an increasing number of development and aid organizations are talking about the benefits of operating as social enterprises in the sector.

But how does this conversion actually work? Few understand what it means to operate on a social enterprise model and even fewer have actually done it.

Cordaid, headquartered in the Netherlands, is a notable exception, having recently undergone a transformation from a nongovernmental organization focused on foreign aid to an international development agency operating as a social enterprise.

Chris Meyer zu Natrup, founder of MzN International, sat down with Cordaid’s Chief Operating Officer Henri van Eeghen to discuss his experience of transition. Here are some highlights from that conversation:

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About the author

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    Chris Meyer zu Natrup

    Chris Meyer zu Natrup is the founder and director of MzN International, a development consulting firm that provides innovative advice and business support to NGOs and international organizations. Together with his team, he researches how innovation and business principles can move the sector to become more sustainable, efficient and effective. He trained as a chartered accountant and holds a master’s degree in international relations. Chris regularly writes about innovations in global development and aid on his blog, www.mzn.ac