Jacob Cornelis (Jacques) van Marken

Successful entrepreneur with an eye for business and people

Jacques van Marken graduated in 1867 from what was then known as the Polytechnic Institute in Delft. He worked briefly at an Amsterdam oil gas factory, and then, with his father’s support, founded N.V. Nederlandsche Gist- & Spiritusfabriek, the later Gist-Brocades. The Delft enterprise, producing yeast and spirit, was a success.

Van Marken had a special concern and care for his employees. As a social entrepreneur avant la lettre, he introduced accident insurance for his staff, schooling for workers’ children, a form of profit distribution and, in 1878, set up the first works council in the Netherlands. He was the founder of the concept of social engineering, which later spread to the United States.

A thoroughbred entrepreneur, Van Marken still managed various factories, either by setting them up himself or by taking them over. Van Marken died in 1906. In Delft, the J.C. Van Markenweg commemorates this exceptional engineer-entrepreneur, and also in various other Dutch towns streets have been named after him.

Ir. Jacques van Marken receives this award for his success as an engineer-entrepreneur and his great social commitment to his staff.