When Miranda Broers gave birth to her son thirteen years ago, it turned out that he has Down syndrome. Through him, Miranda learned an important lesson: it is not his syndrome that is the limitation, but the way in which society deals with it. According to Miranda, the emphasis is too much on what this target group cannot do. Therefore, with the help of Qredits she started the Upside cafe: a lunch cafe in The Hague where people with intellectual disabilities work. “I prefer to focus on what these people can and want to do.”

You can find the Upside cafe on the Thomsonlaan. “This is a socially involved neighborhood and a nice shopping area,” says Miranda. She started the cafe here eight years ago with five employees. “A lot more people now work there.” Miranda has always worked in the hospitality industry and comes from an entrepreneurial family. She also studied business administration and always wanted to start her own business. “Everything comes together in this café: social entrepreneurship, catering and business administration.”

‘Just participate’

The motto of the Upside café is: just join in. “That’s what everyone ultimately wants,” says Miranda. Many of the products at the Upside cafe are artisanal and everything is fresh and homemade. “I want our products to be really good. People come here primarily because they think the concept is so special, but they come back for the good food.”

Less incentives

A year after the opening, Miranda opened a second branch on Weissenbruchstraat in The Hague. “We received many requests from the government for catering jobs, among other things,” she says. “Back then we opened a cafe with a vegetable garden, laundry and large space where we prepare catering jobs. The vegetable garden and launderette are ideal places for employees who find the incentives of a full lunchroom too much.”

Sustainable entrepreneurship

In Miranda decided that she wanted to do more sustainable business. That’s why she knocked on Qredits’s door for a social

al credit. “My brother is an accountant and told me about Qredits. He said it is an organization that pays a lot of attention to the person behind the company. Moreover, they really think along with you, especially if you have a social enterprise and profit is not your first priority.”

No number

Miranda immediately clicked with her business advisor Sylvia. “She came to visit the store, which I think is very special. I am not used to that from other financial institutions. I was able to tell her about my plans: new insulated ceilings, smart lighting, making good use of the heat from the open kitchen. She heard my story and thought it was a sensible plan. Precisely because Sylvia did not immediately let me sign all the forms but first had a conversation, I was able to explain what I wanted and why. At Qredits I am not just a number.”

With full dedication

Expanding further Miranda seems beautiful, but she is also very happy with what she has now. “It is very satisfying to give this target group a chance. They can do so much. I want their potential to be seen. Moreover, they work with full dedication and they are always cheerful: here you see no morning moods and they are never late. If they are there, they are really there. I really enjoy that.”

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