Restart after dismissal at API Emmen
2009 – Applied Polymer Innovations BV in Emmen, the Netherlands is specialized in research into polymers and spinning of unique polymer yarns.
When the former company Diolen went bankrupt and there were four hundred layoffs in Emmen, 12 employees of the research center decided to start a company themselves.
It is not so special to start a new enterprise after you were resigned. But it is special when you get your old colleagues so crazy to start a new company together. This is what happened and was successful at API (Applied Polymer Innovations).
Why this is workplace innovation
API is a good example of self-organizing work.
When Diolen went bankrupt another major employer in the region went bankrupt as well. Therefore the UWV (the public office that care for the resigned employees), the municipality of Emmen and the province of Drenthe did everything to help the unemployed back to work. That was cheaper than providing them with a benefit for many years.
Therefore the new entrepreneurs got any assistance they needed in their restart. They were allowed to work while retaining benefits. Taking over old customers and relationships was no problem. And the trustee had connived they used the machines and buildings from the bankruptcy estate. In this way, there were minimal cost and they could begin soon.
The Mobility Center also participated in making the plan for the restart. The 12 were allowed to work on a business plan maintaining their benefits for four months. And so they managed to set up a new company with a part of the machinery and laboratory equipment of the former Diolen: the current API.
In 2009 API Emmen had recruited forty new customers. They profited from the market situation: “Many companies are realizing that if they want to come out of the crisis, they have to put new, high quality products in the market."
More information about API can be read in the article Filiaal: het oog van de naald (Branch: the eye of the needle) (2009) and can be found in the appendices.
And read: ‘Dan doen we het zelf wel’ (Let’s do it ourselves) in Volkskrant Banen; March 17th 2009. https://www.vkbanen.nl/actueel/739975/Dan-doen-we-het-zelf-wel.html