The corona crisis has shown how badly we’re in need of surgical masks in the Netherlands. In order to be independent from manufacturers on the other side of the globe, we kickstarted the production of the very first Dutch surgical mask factory. Utilizing the
Refugee Company’s network, entrepreneurs Jaap Stelwagen, Fleur Bakker, Johan Blom, Naz Kawan established the Mondmaskerfabriek (‘The Face Mask Factory’) in March of 2020. Our mission is to change the entire supply chain of critical and protective healthcare equipment. Through courage, decisiveness and a good network, we’ve already managed to achieve a lot in an unusual short amount of time.
The trick is to do the right things well. Giving people with refugee status a basis in Dutch society is one such thing. Local production of face masks in this corona time is one such thing. I was happy to contribute to the creation of the Mouth Mask Factory.
Menno Bol, COO Bolton Adhesives
How it works
As you can imagine, setting up a surgical mask facility has its challenges. We managed to procure two fully automatic mask machines from China and we found a great location in Arnhem where we could set up our factory. We also recruited employees (work experience was not required, but enthusiasm and motivation were much appreciated!). At the moment we are at full production and aspire to produce 1 million masks per week. We are correctly certified and from the 15th of October on we have been producing certified masks which are currently being delivered to various healthcare institutions.
We could not have embarked on this adventure on our own. Friends for Brands developed the corporate identity and website. KLM helped us get the machines and raw materials from China to the Netherlands. The Philips Foundation provided a loan to open the factory and linked us to Philips, who in turn provided us with knowledge and raw material suppliers. We also received support from lender Qredits in the form of a social credit of € 250,000,-. The city of Arnhem supports the apprenticeship program and recruiting workers for the factory. Rabobank Arnhem en Omstreken helped us pre-finance the raw materials. Mondmaskerfabriek is located at the Scalabor building in Arnhem.
Through local production, we can act quickly in crises such as this corona outbreak. Our main goal is to provide adequate masks for the healthcare industry as well as others in the current crisis, but in the longer term, the production of other protective products may be possible. In addition, we would like to improve the entire supply chain by introducing innovative, more eco-conscious, circular products and enhancing supply guarantee goals by building up strategic stocks locally and establishing further vertical integration by taking on a greater part of the supply chain.
Mondmaskerfabriek B.V. is a social enterprise and is affiliated with Stichting
Refugee Company. Refugee Company’s mission is to improve labour market integration of people with refugee backgrounds in the Netherlands. Employment is the best way to integrate into society. ‘Refugee Company raises funds to provide work learn programs, called ‘Re-Start programs’. They last from six months up to a maximum of three years and are carried out by our social enterprises, A Beautiful Mess and the Mondmaskerfabriek. People get moving, gain experience, and build a network. The programs also offers support in the areas of language, integration, personal development, and well-being.
Refugee Company is recognized as a Public Benefit Organization (ANBI), which means that all donations are tax-deductible. Would you like to support Refugee Company? Check the website for more details!