Restoring the medical supply chain from below. The role of social entrepreneurship in the production of face masks during the COVID-19 crisis.

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Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic affected societies worldwide, compromising socio-technical systems across geographical, judicial, and administrative borders. It therefore a cross-border, transboundary crisis. It also exposed the global medical supply chain's vulnerability. Authorities' inability to restore it quickly caused serious problems in crisis response, but private initiatives provided unexpected bottom-up solutions. How social entrepreneurs respond to a crisis alongside the formal crisis governance system and generate resources related to product development and logistics deserves more attention. We therefore present a case study about a Dutch social enterprise (Refugee Company) engaged with the cross-border dimension of the COVID-19 crisis. We show it is possible to establish a supply chain and domestically produce personal protection equipment using a bottom-up approach. Policy and crisis governance should not overlook the potential of entrepreneurial activities to strengthen supply chains during crises, as they make supply chains more sustainable and crisis-resilient.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationISCRAM 2021 - Proceedings
Subtitle of host publication18th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management
EditorsAnouck Adrot, Rob Grace, Kathleen Moore, Christopher W. Zobel
Place of PublicationBlacksburg, VA, USA
PublisherInformation Systems for Crisis Response and Management, ISCRAM
Pages260-269
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781949373615
Publication statusPublished - May 2021
Event18th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management, ISCRAM 2021 - Blacksburg, United States
Duration: 23 May 202126 May 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International ISCRAM Conference
Volume2021-May
ISSN (Electronic)2411-3387

Conference

Conference18th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management, ISCRAM 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBlacksburg
Period23/05/2126/05/21

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This article is part of the H2020 project HERoS, Health Emergency Response in Interconnected Systems, which received funding from an EU Horizon 2020 grant (No. 101003606).

Funding Information:
Refugee Company’s social entrepreneurs considered de Mondmaskerfabriek as an initiative to create disruptive innovation through the production of face masks. It was supported by the Philips Foundation2 (financial support) and Qredits (micro financing; financial support). The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy and the Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Sport also played a massive role in providing financial support and in creating the market/distribution. The LCH, responsible for coordinating the distribution of PPE in the Netherlands, guaranteed the purchase of 1 million face masks per week. Another important governmental partner was the Municipality of Arnhem,3 with whom Refugee Company collaborated in creating jobs for refugees/status holders (in combination with language lessons).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management, ISCRAM. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • COVID-19 crisis response
  • Face masks
  • Personal protection equipment
  • Social entrepreneurship
  • Supply chain

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