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Crisis Coaches in the Netherlands Guide Young Entrepreneurs Through Challenging Times

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The COVID-19 pandemic has led many small businesses in the Netherlands to shut their doors abruptly, suffering enormous financial losses. Most have little liquidity and are dependent on daily income. 

Qredits, YBI’s member in the Netherlands, is a non-profit foundation supporting over 8,000 entrepreneurs with financing up to Euro 250,000. They quickly responded to the crisis by temporarily postponing repayments, offering bridging loans and lowering interest rates for their customers. They also set up a new crisis helpline offering coaching support.

During the first week that the crisis helpline launched, the 85 coaches took 30-50 calls a day. Gerard Heuvelman, an experienced finance manager, is one of these coaches. He became a mentor for Qredits in 2019 after retiring and was keen to use his expertise to support entrepreneurs during the current crisis.

As he notes, “I have already spoken to several entrepreneurs. All a bit desperate actually. Some more than others, but you notice that the uncertainty affects everyone.” This includes a young entrepreneur running a ski slope, which had to close. Gerard helped her to identify government emergency aid measures and gave her tips on how to apply.

He has also spoken to a videographer who lost all his bookings due to cancellations of events. Gerard helped him to identify new clients and together they agreed he should approach schools and municipalities which might need videographers to create information materials about the crisis. Gerard was pleased that the entrepreneur left the conversation with renewed enthusiasm.

His experience demonstrates the valuable way that coaching can support small businesses during this difficult time. Sometimes, having someone who listens, asks the right questions and provides a new perspective is all it takes to prompt new ideas and ease the worry that comes with the current uncertainty. As Gerard says,

“I try to put myself in their shoes, understand them and guide the process of how they want to tackle the issues.”

In addition to the crisis hotline, Qredits is delivering a range of other emergency support services to small business owners as part of our new COVID-19 Rapid Response and Recovery Programme with Google.org. Find out more here.

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