Mondial poverty and the Dutch tax climate

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Mondial poverty and the Dutch tax climate

Written by Maaike de Hon

‘We are aware that Africa is losing more money from tax avoidance by foreign companies every year than its is getting from aid of the countries from which these people come,’ Zambian vice president Guy Scott captures the essence of the problem with this quote in the documentary Stealing Africa (2012).

Although nobody knows exactly how much money the developing world is missing out on as a result of rich countries offering multinationals the opportunity to avoid paying tax, the Washington based non profit organisation Global Financial Integrity (GFI) speaks of an estimated 1 trillion a year. To put things in perspective: the total amount of developing aid hardly ever reaches a level of 135 billion a year.

Reason enough for the Bee Network  to put fair taxation on the Wicked Problem-list for the 20th of November. ‘We are problem owner of ‘global poverty,’ explains Judith Veenkamp, coordinator of the Bee Network steering group, ‘a field so overwhelming and big that we decided to concentrate on an aspect close to ourselves and the Dutch citizens that at the same time has an enormous impact: the Dutch taxation system.’

Judith Veenkamp. Source: Emma Communicatie

Judith Veenkamp. Source: Emma Communicatie

The Netherlands are famous for their friendly tax climate for large international companies, as the European Union recently confirmed in the Starbucks case . ‘I think more and more people are convinced that the unfair tax system is one of the root causes of global poverty,’ Veenkamp says. ‘Taxation is a very important instrument for a country to develop: the money collected is needed for infrastructure, hospitals, education and so on. Offering multinationals the opportunity to avoid paying tax is harming the development of poor countries.’

Due to the many layers and constructions that are involved, creating a fair international tax system is a complex problem, even when one focuses only on the Netherlands. The so-called rulings in which the Dutch tax authority records the deals with big companies are for instance probably in majority legal, but nevertheless harmful. To complicate things further the financial services are an important economic factor for the Netherlands. Changing the system therefore demands offers.

The Bee Collective Wicked Problem Session on fair taxation therefore promises to be an exciting event, Veenkamp accentuates, ‘I think it will be interesting to be in a sort of pressure cooker with stakeholders from all the different backgrounds involved, trying to find at least a starting point of a solution for the problem.’





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Impact Hub, people who differ from the norm

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Impact Hub, people who differ from the norm

It’s funny, all hubs, or co-working spaces I’ve been to, are somewhat hidden. They’re either hiding behind an anonymous door in a trainstation, a stairway in a busy shopping mall, or amidst one of many doorbells to a building with entrances on all four sides.  Not being out in the open is somehow a paradox to these access-to all-feel-free-to-walk-in-spaces.

Found it. Impact Hub Amsterdam is on the first floor of the former local city hall on the right when you enter Westerpark crossing the red rope bridge. Hang on let me show you a picture, so you can find it easily too when you want to visit them.

It’s a long and stretchy hub this one, with light coming from windows and glass walls on both sides. The first part of the co-working space has private rooms in different sizes. Bee Collective held its first Wicked Problem Session here, on the 4th of September. (read about it in this blog, written by Maaike de Hon ). I remember the warmth and the hospitality during that day. As if we were at our own office, or at home even, free to do as we pleased.

Glass doors lead to the next space, a large, open room where you can hear a pin drop. This is the room where people work in silence. Tiptoeing through the room, again glass doors, giving access to the last space, with tables scattered around, a kitchen and a few standing tables. 

Milena Kriek has been working here as a Space and bookings manager for almost two years now. “Entrepreneurship is key,” she says in the kitchen, situated in the centre of the mainspace. “Entrepreneurship is one of the key assets to drive sustainable and scalable solutions to the world’s most pressing issues. We need to fix them somehow to prevent the worst case scenarios, like floodings due to global warming, mass gentrification, or the 1%-99% gap to youth unemployment.”

The Impact Hub Amsterdam is one of 72 Impact Hubs worldwide. It opened its doors in 2008, two years after the first in downtown Londen, and has since gathered around 1500 entrepreneurs. The mission of the Impact Hub is to help and facilitate these entrepreneurs. By connecting their members to investors for example, by offering trainings, inviting people from large companies such as BMW Foundation and Siemens, or by actively connecting them to the 16.000 members of impact hubs worldwide. “We take on an active role in growing the field of social entrepreneurship. The social entrepreneurs are the ones that focus on both impact and profit. They are independent and often lack the basic infrastructure, such as an office, network, specific knowledge easy access to investors to grow their venture.” Members can access these services, network and the facilities by a paid membership, ranging from €25 to €1,175 per month.

A copper bell rings. Time to have – an optional - lunch. An fun and easy way to meet some of the other people in the room, like the Italian intern opposite us, working for AKKA Architects and trying to learn some Dutch on the way whilst working at the Impact Hub until Christmas. Or our neighbour, “pass me the cheese please,” Maarten Osieck from Social Bizzness.

Impact Hub looks for ways to make these independent entrepreneurs grow and increase the positive impact on the issues they work on. Here we see that Bee Collective could also be an interesting way to connect our network and reach to accelerate some of the solutions, according to Milena. “Bee Collective also aims to make them collaborate and form core teams and even companies. They are all a radar by themselves, and together they can be a bigger and stronger radar,” says Kriek.

The Impact Hub in Florianopolis in Brasil will be host of one of the eight Wicked Problem Sessions which are held in on November 20. “I’m really curious to see what’s going to happen, the idea that people with all sorts of expertise and ideas can contribute to a new kind of organisation excites me, it's very much in lign with Impact Hub” says Milena. A challenge however according to Kriek will be the sustainability of these new Pop Up Companies, or DCO’s (Decentralised Collective Organisations) as a business in the long run. Plenty of room for thought. And plenty of solutions too. Which are naturally plenty to find amongst the social entrepreneurs of Impact Hub in Amsterdam, Kriek believes. "Impact Hub plays by the rules of a new game, played by people who see things differently than the norm. Collaboration - from a deeply rooted believe in abundance versus a thought of scarcity - is the way how we pioneer and lead by example towards the future of work. We need to trust, join forces and connect; and make it happen."

Meet Impact Hub at Pakhuis de Zwijger on November 20th where you can have your own mini Impact Hub experience at their Pop-up Hub.

Feel welcome to join the swarm in the Linkedin Group, follow our Facebook, and come to Pakhuis de Zwijger on November 20. Get your tickets now.

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Bzzzz...Get your Bee Collective Festival ticket

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Bzzzz...Get your Bee Collective Festival ticket

BEE COLLECTIVE FESTIVAL - NOVEMBER 20 - PAKHUIS DE ZWIJGER

Do you want to set up a new type of organization based on Wicked World Problems like the refugee crisis, renewable energy or food security? Or become part of one? Do you believe in shared ownership? Want to experience swarm intelligence? Are you interested in crypto currency and want to know more about the blockchain? And hey, whilst at it, share in the abundance too? 

November 20th 13:00 – 21:00                                   
Pakhuis de Zwijger, Amsterdam                                   
Piet Heinkade 179

 

13:00 - 14:00 Doors are open
14:00 - 16:00 Action time - take a ToDo which suits you
16:00 - 17:00 ToDos from Wicked Problem Sessions come in
16:00 - 18:00 Action time - take more ToDo's or start a DCO
18:00 - 19:00 Let's eat!
19:00 - 21:00 Action time - take more ToDo's or work on your DCO
21:00 - 00:00 Let's Drink!
 

What? 

  1. Creative design tasks
  2. Software development requests
  3. Marketing campaign bids
  4. Community building appeals
  5. Storytelling applications
  6. 3D requests and more!

How?

  1. Choose a ToDO which suits you
  2. Form a team with others from the swarm – 3 is a crowd!
  3. Use swarm intelligence to make decisions easier
  4. Use experts to turn your and your team’s project into a Pop Up Company with DCO game rules (Decentralised Collective Organisation)

On the 20th of November a Swarm of professionals, stakeholders, out of the box thinkers, usual and unusual suspects are going to organise themselves around 8 Wicked Problems. The combination of the present collective intelligence and the Wicked Problem methodology will help them define the first Next Steps. In Pakhuis de Zwijger we are going to make a start with these Next Steps. We invite you to organise yourselves as a Decentralised Collective Organisation. 


 

 


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WPP-sessions: not the primrose path

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WPP-sessions: not the primrose path

A bunch of personal items forms a circle in front of the participants of the Wicked Problem Plaza (WPP)-session. To make sure they would show up as open minded as possible the organisation asked them not to prepare themselves too much, but instead bring something that for them symbolises the topic of the session, ‘living wage’.

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Want to be part of a whole new type of organization?

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Want to be part of a whole new type of organization?

Wicked problems, swarm intelligence, pop up companies, decentralized collective organizations, crypto currency.

We know and realise, it’s a bit of a mindblow, this Bee Collective business. Hey, we are still learning every day ourselves and trying to formulate answers to how this new organization with shared ownership works. We try and talk an understandable language, and hope we do. We know we’re on the right track, because of all of you, your support, advice, questions and answers.

So what are we going to do on November 20?

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Visual artist Edwin Stoop.

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Visual artist Edwin Stoop.

There he was. Out of the blue. Visual artist Edwin Stoop. A bee, don’t know who it was, told him about Bee-Collective. He must have got inspired, because he turned up at the co-creation we organized in August for our communication plan. He put down his bag full of creative stuff, rolled out, 1, 2, 3,4…5! meters of paper, hung it up on the Impact Hub’s wall and started drawing. He drew, and drew, and drew. To visualize what Bee-Collective is all about. What a cool guy this Edwin. To just turn up and start drawing.

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An interview with Bart Lacroix

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An interview with Bart Lacroix

Before crowdfunding was even called crowdfunding, Bart Lacroix was already doing it with his 1%CLUB. Founded in 2008 the do-good platform, partner of Bee Collective, inspires and invites people around the world to spend 1 percent of their time, expertise and money to relatively small do-good projects. Seven years later crowdfunding has established itself as a financial resource which successfully kickstarts new companies around the globe. “we have all the solutions in our hands.”

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Position: Social Media Bee

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Position: Social Media Bee

Are you ready to make a contribution to solving complex world problems and to combine this with your favourite pastime, the effective deployment of social media? Are you literate about Wicked Problems, Swarms, Swarm Intelligence, Livestream, Swarm Tokens, Pop-Up Companies or ready to become acquainted with them? Are you eager to engage with a growing team of professionals who believe that we have to get organised to make the difference as to where we are going in matters of climate, the education system, the political order and other ‘wicked problems’?

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Alide Roerink: "It’s about being more, not having more"

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Alide Roerink: "It’s about being more, not having more"

Bees are one of her great hobbies. So is it not strange that our conversation regarding her engagement with Bee Collective constantly returns to comparisons with them. "A Queen Bee assembles thousands of workers around herself and with them and scouting bees begins the search for a new home".That is what Alide Roerink is going to do for Bee Collective: build a swarm of scouts and workers who together will look for a new home to house a problem and solve it. "We must discover those values and principles that are valid for everyone, wherever you live and however you live. Only thus will you make the turn towards a sustainable, just and peaceful world."

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Talking to Felix Lepoutre. Founder of Seats2meet

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Talking to Felix Lepoutre. Founder of Seats2meet

Talking to Felix Lepoutre is like taking a glimpse into the future. He was part of the founding team of Seats2Meet, when the 2500 square meter co-working space in Utrecht first opened its doors in 2007 and most of its first visitors walked around the place with a question mark above their heads. We can work here, all day, ánd enjoy a free healthy lunch, freshly made by this cool guy here in the open kitchen? And all you guys want in return, is for us to have an open mind? Nowadays Lepoutre is in charge of Meetberlage, a Seats2meet.com in Amsterdam. Serendipity is key to its success, he says. “It’s all about meeting new people and having relevant unexpected encounters.”

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Erasmus University Rotterdam is partner of Bee Collective.

The Partnerships Resource Centre of the Erasmus University Rotterdam is partner of Bee Collective. Their Wicked Problems Plaza (WPP) wants to provide entrepreneurial solutions to societal problems. WPP plays an important role at the event, as it is the first step in the Bee Collective chain of - Wicked Problem – Swarm – PUC – Shared Ownership -  which we aim to create. Rianne van Asperen works for the Partnerships Resource Centre. She’s extremely excited about the event on 20 November: “Tackling multiple Wicked Problems simultaneously at multiple locations was beyond my imagination.”

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