Enza Zaden is one of the very few independent family businesses active at the top of the vegetable-breeding industry. What makes a family business so different from other companies? Jaap Mazereeuw, Enza Zaden’s Managing Director and the third generation in command, explains: “Family businesses focus on the long term, they’re innovative, with a high awareness of costs, and play an important role in providing employment. Our great strength is that we’re not only a family business, but also a family as a business.”
"Our great strength is that we’re not only a family business, but also a family as a business."
Jaap Mazereeuw continues: “With the same entrepreneurial spirit, focus and passion with which my grandfather Jacob Mazereeuw set up Enza Zaden in 1938, we now introduce around a hundred new vegetable varieties a year to the global market.” In three generations Enza Zaden has evolved from a seed shop called Enkhuizer Zaadwinkel into the global market leader in vegetable breeding that it is today. “In actual fact, it’s not just our company’s management that’s represented by several generations. Among our employees are also various families of which several generations work for us.”
Enza Zaden believes that operating as an independent family business is the best way of securing a company’s continuity. And justifiably so: our company has been healthily growing by 9% a year for many years now. “Being and remaining independent enables us to follow our own course, make sustainable choices, respond quickly to market developments and continue to invest in innovation, people and sustainability,” explains Jaap Mazereeuw.
“Our employees are our organisation’s beating heart,” Jaap Mazereeuw emphasises. Enza Zaden has developed a social, sustainable personnel policy for its workforce of 1700. We invest in our people and offer them every opportunity to develop themselves.” Worldwide, our company has more than a hundred vacancies a year. More information? Take a look at Careers and Learning.
Enza Zaden continuously invests large sums of money. We invest thirty percent of our turnover in research and development so as to be able to offer people all over the world access to healthy, varied vegetables. These year-long investments in innovation generate a constant flow of concepts and products. On average, Enza Zaden introduces two new vegetable varieties a week to the global market.
As a family business, Enza Zaden has a long-term vision and cherishes long-term relations. Jaap Mazereeuw: “Family businesses tend to think in generations rather than in quarterly figures. You see this reflected in our corporate vision and our investments, and also in our personnel policy and our cooperation with partners. Breeding calls for a lot of patience. It may take seven to twelve years to develop a new vegetable variety, depending on the crop concerned and the available technology.”
Cooperation is one of Enza Zaden’s key objectives – cooperation both within our company and with our relations outside the company. “Our employees work closely together in international teams so they can respond quickly and flexibly to market developments. Good coordination between our employees and our chain partners is essential for successfully marketing a new vegetable variety or concept,” says Jaap Mazereeuw. Besides our close contacts with growers, retailers and trade partners we also work closely with universities and institutes all over the world.