Arno Saasen
Employer speaks

'As entrepreneurs we can also do something about accessibility ourselves'

Published on November 7, 2022

You will find the Saasen Group. Not an 'own' building, but together with the bedge weather in An house. A very thoughtful choice with a view to the future. That wouldentrepreneurs do something more often mogen doing, says Arno Saasen. 

At Saasen they often do things slightly differently. Is there an application from Enschede? Then a partner from the network takes on the job. Is someone from Amsterdam applying? Then they pass on the good candidate. 'And ten years ago we decided to move in with the volunteer fire brigade. They only use this building once a week, so there is no need for another building, right? This saves space and promotes collaboration. Small steps perhaps in the big picture, but I think everyone should do something. Because the way things are going now, we cannot continue," says Arno Saasen. 

'Everything is under pressure' 

Arno is the founder of the Saasen Group. His company offers everything in the field of security for companies and institutions. 'Not only training, but also all kinds of services in the field of occupational health and safety.' Saasen Group works throughout the Netherlands, but looks carefully at what they do and do not do. 'We have to, because if we continue like this, it won't just be farmers who will be on the side of the road. Accessibility is under pressure, just like the labor market and there is hardly any available business space. I see it happening around me. Contractors who will build in Amsterdam from Brabant. Large companies establishing themselves in small villages. What does that do to our environment and our well-being? All three of my daughters are active in this company. Will they be able to continue later? As entrepreneurs, we really need to take collective action for a healthy and sustainable future.' 

'Back to step 1'

How? Arno has his own view on this. 'In the safety sector we work according to the four occupational hygiene steps. Take, for example, a machine that makes too much noise. Step 1 is to prevent that noisy machine from making noise, for example with innovations. Step 2 is the use of collective measures, such as placing a cabinet around the sound. In step 3 you take an individual measure, for example as a person staying away from the noise. Only finally do you choose step 4: protection, in this case with earmuffs. Far too often in society we start at step 4. Also when it comes to mobility. Is it too busy on the road? Then we build new roads. But we have to go back further. We can prevent people or goods from having to be transported. We can reduce the number of traffic and transport movements by clustering. We can ensure that employees have to travel fewer distances. I think it is our job as entrepreneurs to see what we can do as the first three steps. ' 

'Do we want to continue like this?'

That is necessary, Arno is convinced of that. 'I have great respect for what has been achieved here in the region. The loss of Philips and Daf as major employers has been compensated by courage and innovation. But isn't it time to ask ourselves whether we want to continue like this? The region has enormous attraction, many production facilities and people want to come here every day. Should we still want to add factories? Is expansion in locations always necessary? How do we keep living, working and the environment in balance? In short: shouldn't we check whether the limits of growth have been reached?'  

Grow differently

They also think about this carefully at Saasen Group. 'We have been around for 25 years, employ 30 employees and work with 60 freelancers. As far as we are concerned, growth is not over yet. But: where we do think carefully about how we want to grow. Does that have to be done physically? What can we do through virtual channels? What partnerships can we enter into? Our advice, implementation by locally operating colleagues. We are already deploying some of these solutions. This is how we started BHV Okay, with which we organize emergency response courses with fellow entrepreneurs. So that people can always take a course in their own neighborhood.' 

It has to be done

Of course, entrepreneurs cannot solve everything alone, Arno also knows. 'The challenges in society are so great that it is trending towards a completely different economic model. But what I keep saying: you can always do something. Based on the realization that what is good for society is increasingly related to what is good for your company. The economic model that focuses on prosperity is stalling. And well-being is much more important. So look at what could be improved in your own business operations. Push yourself to improve something every year. Look for collaboration with parties such as Brainport Bereikbaar. Sometimes I feel like a missionary, but I think that's itOet. Looking for solutions together, looking differently and ensuring a healthy, sustainable future. That also starts with you. And with me. That starts with us.' 

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