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Bookazine launch “Welcome to ImpactCity The Hague”:We built this city on rock and roll

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We’re excited to share a series of articles from the bookazine Welcome to ImpactCity The Hague. It positions the City of The Hague as first impactful city of its scale in the world by showcasing a variety of The Hague-based impact startups, knowledge institutions, local government, and investors. We’ve summarized some of their impact stories for you below. What’s yours?

“Making an impact. This is an ambition that can and may be boldly expressed in The Hague,” the booklet reads. “Economic success goes hand in hand with social impact. Or it can anyway – and it should. We call it the ‘impact economy’.”

Although ‘impact entrepreneurs’ increasingly settle in the City of The Hague, their gathering is by no means self-evident. “It’s because a lot of hard work is being done behind the scenes to push these developments forward and to continuously provide new momentum,” the publication summarizes the effects of the municipal ‘Impact Economy’ startup program. The program’s primary goal is to create a favorable environment for ‘impact makers’ to tackle social issues with meaningful innovations. And tackling global social issues they do.

Huge changes

“Impact celebrity” Leila Janah, founder of San Francisco-based anti-poverty non-profit Samasource, has in recent years succeeded in improving the living standards of over 33,000 people worldwide. “In big parts of Africa, there is no middle class. People live on two dollars a day, which greatly limits their opportunities,” Leila explains.

She founded Samasource to change this. The key to Samasource’s approach was found in the huge demand for ‘data labor’. “It might be strange to see people in Africa tagging pictures of Beyoncé for a Getty Images database. But our approach works and helps set huge changes in motion,” she says.

“Perhaps The Hague may seem a surprising choice,” Leila elaborates on Samasource’s move to The Hague. However, “Because it is a city with many international companies and organizations, and has a specific policy program focused on stimulating impact companies, it is a city that really suits us,” she says.

Taking decisions differently

Delft Technical University (TU Delft) has landed in The Hague with its new Master’s program in Engineering and Policy Analysis. The program connects public administration to information technology in an altogether new way. “We use a scientific approach and make use of data and models. In this way, we try to solve global issues in the areas of climate, migration, and infrastructure,” attending student Erin Bartholemew explains.

“My hope is that, with more fact-based information, it will become more difficult to ignore the facts,” she adds. “It’s impossible to be experts ourselves. We are here to ensure that decisions are taken differently, that the right model is used together with the right information.”

A better story

“We have put a long-term strategy in motion that aims to make ‘impact’ more corporate. With our focus on ‘impact’, we have chosen a niche in which we as a city have a better story to tell than other cities,” The Hague Deputy Mayor and initiator of the ‘Impact Economy’ policy program, Karsten Klein, explains.

“The Hague has a lot to offer to companies, more than just institutions in the areas of peace and law. We are an extremely multicultural city, have beaches with a lively surfing scene, good catering, and in addition, with the new Education and Culture Center, we are working to lift cultural entertainment to an international level,” he says. Karsten is looking forward to see what the program will continue to unleash in the city in the years to come.

The right reasons

Cash is essential for startups with great ambitions. But where do they get the resources to grow? The Hague-based investment fund UNIIQ aims to support promising startups by providing ‘angel funding’. It sees opportunities for European startups to mature with the help of external financing.

“Since the establishment of the revolving fund, which boasts a portfolio of €22 million, it received more than 200 applications in 2016,” Welcome to ImpactCity The Hague reads. “We are using public funds,” fund manager Liduina Hammer says. “That’s why, we are being careful even though we are prepared to take more risks than other parties. (…) I’d like to finance as much as possible, but only for the right reasons. Among other things, we want to see a good business case, a good team, and growth potential.”

Read more in Welcome to ImpactCity The Hague. The publication exposes our beautiful city’s flourishing impact ecosystem. It showcases a variety of local impact startups, change makers and social entrepreneurs, as well as innovative collaborations and initiatives. The Hague represents the first impact community of its scale in the world – and it’s ready to inspire others to follow suit. The bookazine is hot off the press. Order your personal copy today, free of charge.