The Hague, epicentre for startups that tackle global challenges
Today, we are interviewing Anna Menenti, programme manager for The Hague’s startup programme ‘Impact Economy’ at the town hall in The Hague. On the 25th and 26th of September, The Hague will reaffirm its position as a successful business hotspot for startups by hosting the second edition of the Impact Startup Fest. As the International City of Peace and Justice, The Hague is especially important for startups that want to bring about positive change. The city is home to startups, scaleups, transnational businesses, knowledge centres and various NGOs. This not only makes for interesting and eclectic networks, but it also provides a fruitful business base for innovative companies that want to make a difference. When different networks exist, and are encouraged to come together, genuine potential is effectively unleashed.
What is Impact Startup Fest and how can foreign companies looking to get established in Europe benefit?
“During the Impact Startup Fest on 25th and 26th of September, The Hague will be the epicentre for all startups and scale-ups that want to make the world a better place. The Hague is renowned for its long history of addressing global challenges. The programme is packed with inspiring keynotes, workshops and one-on-one meetings with top-tier investors. Everything is set up to provide a major boost for startups by connecting founders, investors, corporates, experts and many other enablers.
“Impact Startup Fest has a number of interesting and prolific international speakers lined up, such as Steve Ellis from The Rise Fund, Prince Constantijn, special envoy at Startup Delta, and Nisha Dutt, CEO of Intellecap, as well as famous philanthropists like Peter Holmes à Court and Severn Cullis-Suzuki. There will also be 35 different workshops, including an international programme on doing business in emerging markets and, of course, upscaling within Europe.”
‘Economic success goes hand in hand with positive social impact, or it can anyway – and it should! We call it ‘Impact Economy’
What is impact on the beach on the 25th all about?
“A company cannot grow without raising capital. You would assume that in an increasingly interconnected world and with rising levels of wealth it should be fairly easy for investors, angels, foundations and banks to invest and for startups to raise capital. The potential offerings appear staggering; however, investors and startups encounter quite a few barriers, not least in understanding each other in terms of calculated risk and probable return. This second edition of Impact Startup Fest therefore features an extended capital programme solely designed to foster one-on-one deals via curated matches. The line-up of top-tier investors is incredible: Doen foundation, FMO, The Rise Fund, Acument Fund and Pymwymic will be there, just to mention a few. With the beach a mere stone’s throw from The Hague city centre, it was natural that we would opt for this fine location for such an important event.”
What is the link between Sankalp Forum from India and Impact Startup Fest?
“In collaboration with the City of The Hague, India-based international impact organisation Intellecap has been developing a ‘corridor programme’ to help startups explore new markets. Impact Startup Fest is the initial result of the partnership between The Hague’s startup programme and Intellecap. The corridor programme has forged an international collaboration between The Hague, India and Kenya and offers a springboard for Dutch impact startups to explore the Indian market and vice versa. Sankalp Forum is the network division of Intellecap and aims to influence global inclusive development discourse through its work with entrepreneurs, impact investors and businesses in developing markets.
“Sankalp Forum was initiated in India in 2009 by Intellecap to create a thriving ecosystem for business-led inclusive development. Over the past seven years, Sankalp has built one of the world’s largest impact enterprise-focused platforms, which has supported over 900 social enterprises with connections to more than 400 investors, mentors and business support providers. Over 40 Sankalp-recognised social enterprises have gone on to raise in excess of USD 120 million in funding. Sankalp engages governments, corporations, influential groups like the G8 and G20, media and civil society to drive a paradigm shift in approaches to inclusive development. It’s knowledge and expertise will provide invaluable input to the Gateway to Emerging Markets programme at the Impact Startup Fest on 26th September.”
‘The resourcefulness and versatility that startups bring pave the way for increased employment and productivity’
What can you tell us about the startup Ecosystem in The Hague?
“The past decades have indicated that it is small enterprises in particular that are able to bring real innovation to existing and altogether new business domains. The resourcefulness and versatility that these companies bring pave the way for increased employment and productivity. Through their products and services, such enterprises are tackling complex societal issues, including those related to healthcare and an aging population.”
So, are you encouraging out-of-the-box ideas?
“Yes. That’s why the City of The Hague invests firmly in its ‘Impact Economy’ startup programme. Economic success goes hand in hand with positive social impact, or it can anyway – and it should! We call it the ‘impact economy’, something that has enormous potential to grow and create beautiful things that benefit all of us. That’s why the City of The Hague is investing in people, places, experiments and ideas. The Impact Startup Fest programme aims to optimise the city’s business environment for startups and pays special attention to helping new businesses gain access to talent, expertise and space. Through our Impact Economy programme, we continue to build on this by doing business while doing good, both locally and globally.”
Like to visit Impact Startup Fest? Check out the website impactstartupfest.com/