Gay Care, the company specialized in care services for LGBTQI people, has been liquidated after attempts for a restart. Thirteen jobs have been lost. A rival company called Sara now takes care of Gay Care clients. The company started three years ago to take advantage of the liberalized care market in The Netherlands. The aim was to offer LGBTQI friendly care services by specifically selecting care workers with knowledge of the LGBTQI community.
Gay Care had a promising start
The founders were motivated by the lack of specific care services for LGBTQI people. In many cases the social support network of LGBTQI people is smaller. On top of that they have different life experiences and care needs, which are often overlooked by the big care companies. Many LGBTQI organizations like the COC praised this new initiative in 2014.
Many well-known Dutch LGBTQI celebrities gave their support to Gay Care. With a growing elderly LGBTQI population in Amsterdam Gay Care quickly attained many clients. The company looked like a sure winner. However Gay Care quickly run into trouble and has had several restructuring and restarting attempts over the years. Every time new investors were found, but unfortunately the cut throat market of care services proved too much to let this new company grow fruition.
Market conditions proved to tough
The care market in The Netherlands is decentralized and turned into a free market. That means that local governments put out tenders for companies to make offers to. The local governments have received a limited budget for buying these care services. As a consequence they try to get as many services for their money. That means that they try to buy in bulk and tend to put less attention on specialized services in their tender.
The care market itself is cutthroat. So every company tries to get contracts to prevent going out of business. Since price is the driving force in this market, the downward pressure on prices is great. Therefore big companies, who can spread their overhead over more contracts, undercut the smaller startup companies. Gay Care was one of the victims of these developments.
Still a need for care services focused on LGBTQI people
We are sorry that a well-intended initiative like this one didn’t make it. Gay Care is an example how a market can create specialized services for amongst others LGBTQI people. Its’ demise also shows how a strong emphasis on price can kill off services needed by minority groups. We hope that the needs of LGBTQI people who need care services are taken care of by the remaining suppliers. Maybe with the growing population of (older) LGBTQI people who need care, a new Gay Care initiative will prove more successful in the future.