Cluster Tours

Social Economy Tour

Cluster or IBN Description

During this tour you will get an insight into the social economy landscape in Flanders and what the strengths are of the companies active within this economy.

In Flanders, the social economy and the regular economy go hand in hand and partnerships are created that strengthen the competitiveness of both types of companies. The collaborations arise spontaneously from a business-driven approach and where corporate social responsibility is very importance to more and more companies. Also governments and other organizations play an important role in stimulating and establishing successful partnerships between regular and social economy companies.

During the Social Economy tour in Antwerp you will discover which instruments are used for this and what kind of innovative collaborations arise.


09:00: departure from FMCCA, Antwerp  (by bus or on foot)

09:15: arrival and welcome in Start-Up Village - De Serre

o   Departement Work and Social Economy (WSE), Flemish government: introduction ‘Social Economy in Flanders’

o   Work and Social Economy, Stad Antwerpen:

  • Realization of a collaboration between De kringwinkel, Onbetaalbaar (designers), Kunnig and Levanto (tailor-made companies for furniture development).

  • Focus on cooperation between the various parties: how did it come about, what role can a local government play in facilitating cooperation?

Kringwinkel Antwerpen, Frank Dingemans: progress of cooperation in practice (concept, production, installation) – Kunnig and Levanto are involved.

Visit to the spaces that were set up through the collaboration project.

10:30: walk to ‘De Kringwinkel’ through de Kruidtuin (15 min)

10:45: arrival to ‘De Kringwinkel Antwerpen - Meir

o   Explanation concept and tour with focus on corporate social responsibility through social employment and circular economy and ‘De Kringwinkel’ as a partner for regular companies.

o   Collaborative project ‘De collectie’: ‘De Collectie’ consists of five Antwerp non-profit organizations: De Kringwinkel Antwerpen, Oxfam, Wereld Missie Hulp, Kindervriend and Mensenzorg. They join forces to ensure that used textiles are processed locally as much as possible.

11:30: departure to ‘Pakt’ (Hotspot for creative entrepreneurs and city farmers ) (by bus) – walk through Pakt to ‘Stokers’

o   Stop at ‘HERWIN! - KOMOSIE vzw’: explanation about the project ‘The Foodsavers’ and how the cooperation between the various parties works, why they need each other to come to a good concept.

o   Illustration ‘Sociale Innovatiefabriek’

12:10: arrival at Stokers

o   12:15 - 13:45: lunch

14:00: departure to AROP, a social enterprise in the region of Antwerp, to learn more about the collaboration between regular and social economy companies.

14:30: company visit AROP

16:00: departure to FMCCA

Case of Stad Antwerpen


In Antwerp, startups - promising young companies that develop innovative apps and digital technologies - are given every opportunity to grow and internationalize. The city harbors a tight ecosystem of incubators, knowledge institutions, mentors, investors and now more than 300 startups. With StartupVillage, a historic building that was converted into a hotspot for innovative entrepreneurs, the city now also offers temporary and affordable office space to digital growth companies in the middle of the city center.


And the establishment also has a remarkable story that can be seen as a show example of cooperation with and between social economy companies. The city played an important facilitating role in the creation of the collaborative project through the social procurement tool.

“The ontwerperscollectief ONBETAALBAAR and vzw De Kringwinkel Antwerpen took on the design of the meeting rooms, the lounges and the common areas. These spaces have been stylishly finished, but at the same time have enough humor to stimulate creative thinking. ONBETAALBAAR designed the furniture based on used material, after which they engaged various social workshops such as Levanto and Kunnig. This indicates that social economy companies, working with people who are at a great distance from the labor market, are becoming more and more relevant business partners that deliver high-quality work.”
Through this project, starting entrepreneurs can be inspired by furniture that has been cycled by people from disadvantaged groups.


Companies & platform organisations

De Kringwinkel

‘De Kringwinkel’ is working hard on a sustainable world. By giving used items a second life, they take care of the environment and they create social employment.


All products have a story, just like everyone else who is employed by them. They use the income from the sale to give people who have little or no chance on the normal labor market a suitable job. In this way they gain back experience and get a future perspective. At the same time, they save a lot of things from the mountain of waste. People receive reusable items or collect them for free, sort or repair them and give them a nice place in our stores. What does this yield? Very much. In total, they collect around 78,500 tonnes of goods each year. More than half of them find a new home through ‘De Kringwinkel’. Good for 5.650 jobs.  

De Kringwinkel Antwerp handles its core business with a great deal of entrepreneurial spirit and creativity.

o   In collaboration with the designers' collective ‘Onbetaalbaar’, the custom company left its mark on the design of StartupVillage in collaboration with ‘Onbetaalbaar’, ‘Kunnig’ and ‘Levanto’.

o   In cooperation with Oxfam, Wereld Missie Hulp, Kindervriend en Mensenzorg is ‘de Kringwinkel’ one of the foundations of ‘De Collectie’ to process used textiles locally as much as possible.


Arop is a social enterprise in Wilrijk, which provides work for 219 employees with a work disability. Arop is a tailor-made company in two directions: on the one hand we provide tailor-made work for the capacities of our employees, and on the other we provide services tailored to the needs of the customer.  Our location in Wilrijk has 8,500 m² of modernized workplaces: a machine park, storage locations and 2,000 m² of refrigerated space for storage and packaging.
Arop has a BRC certification and is ISO 9001 certified.


HERWIN! Is an association of entrepreneurs working on change, who resolutely choose for social gains and strive for a labor market where all talents get opportunities. Entrepreneurs who want to do it differently, who are working on a social and circular economy where profit is created for everyone.

HERWIN! connects and strengthens these entrepreneurs: they are open to all initiatives that share the same ambition. Growing to a society without waste (of material, people, food, energy, etc.) and where all  disadvantaged groups form a full part.

HERWIN! inspires and innovates: a network where like-minded people feel at home and can share practices. A safe haven that represents their interests, but that is also agile and proactively responds to changing times. A laboratory for experimenting and pioneering.

HERWIN! moves: they facilitate, develop, ensure more recognition and recognition of the sector of meaningful entrepreneurs and they strive for more jobs. Because more growth means more impact!

Dress code

Easy shoes and with bad weather an umbrella or rain clothing.