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 and Naz Kawan established Mondmaskerfabriek (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.
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!). We hope to be able to produce the first production line of masks in mid-May, and once we’re in full production, we expect to be able to produce at least 100,000 masks per day!
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 Municipality of Arnhem supports the apprenticeship program and recruiting status holders for the factory. Rabobank Arnhem en Omstreken helped us pre-finance the raw materials. Mondmaskerfabriek is located in 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 environmentally conscious, circular products and by strengthening the supply guarantee with strategic stock (local) and vertical integration.
Mondmaskerfabriek B.V. is a social enterprise and is affiliated with Stichting
Refugee Company. Refugee Company’s mission is to support people who have a refugee background. Employment is the best way to integrate into society. Refugee Company raises funds to provide learning programs for the refugees. These re-start programs last from six months to a maximum of three years and are carried out by our social enterprises, A Beautiful Mess and from now on, also 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!