Dutchman realises his dream with microcredit
Arnold Hoek knew that setting up a company renting out motorised Solex bikes would fill a gap in the market.
Nevertheless the 57-year-old on sickness pay could not find a single bank willing to grant him a loan. In spite of this, Hoek has been able to fulfil his dream, because of microcredit.
Before he got microcredit, he didn’t know these kind of loans were available in the Netherlands. But he thinks it is logical that microfinance is not just available to people in developing countries: "The story about a farmer who can buy a cow thanks to microcredit is one I can empathise with, because I’m actually in the same situation."
Until recently, Hoek, who suffers from heart problems, lived on sickness benefit. Now and then he earned a little on the side by giving drawing lessons.
But it didn’t amount to much. He had difficulty with the idea of having to accept handouts. He did not want to be dependent.
So he put together a business plan to rent out Solex bikes and took it to various banks. Although they were often positive about the plan, they would not grant him a loan.
His difficult financial situation and the fact that he had no collateral meant he was not an attractive client for the banks.
An Economic Affairs Ministry organisation, SenterNovem, solved the problem by acting as a guarantor. Now Arnold Hoek has been able to get microcredit from the Rabobank to realise his dream; his own Solex bike rental company.
This video portrait is part of a series about small businesses that have received microcredit. The eight reports have been produced for Radio Netherlands Worldwide’s series “Microfinance – who profits?” that was launched on 25 January 2010 at a conference at the Peace Palace in The Hague.
Marijke van den Berg
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