The Hague Innovators Challenge:Innovations for a better world

By way of the The Hague Innovators Challenge, the City of The Hague aims to encourage startups, organizations and students to present new ideas on tackling current global challenges. Concepts that link various disciplines and sectors are preferred. The best ideas can win prizes ranging from € 5,000 to € 30,000. Please note: deadline for applications is 6 November 2017. 

“The world is growing ever more complex,” Deputy Mayor Karsten Klein explains. “Issues related to security, energy, climate and food are becoming increasingly internationalized. At the same time, these issues have an impact on the people that are living in the city.”

That’s why the City of The Hague aims to encourage startups, organizations and students to present new ideas on tackling current global challenges. It does so by organizing the annual The Hague Innovators Challenge. Winning ideas are awarded with prizes ranging from €5,000 to €30,000.

Idea owners are encouraged to invest their prize money in experimentation. “To come up with new solutions, startups and students need room to experiment. In The Hague, we believe in and want to encourage the notion of experimentation,” Karsten Klein stresses. “It all starts with an idea and the willingness to challenge the status quo.”

Wanted: innovative ideas

In The Hague, tens of thousands of people are working towards making the world a better place by doing business and doing good. Every day and in many ways. The City of The Hague aims to connect innovators in the city to companies, knowledge institutions and international organisations in order to solve complex global challenges together. In so doing, it hopes to encourage new innovations. In order to promote these concepts, the city is sponsoring the annual The Hague Innovators contest.

Who is eligible?

Businesses and organisations based in The Hague are eligible. Established and emerging foundations can also take part. Students are also very welcome to join. They can compete for the student prize. Working together with a partner in The Hague gives you an advantage.

How does it work

Deadline for applications is on 6 November 2017. A professional selection committee will then go on to have a look at all proposals. They will select a maximum of nine nominees that will be announced late November 2017.
The nominees are invited to further develop their ideas in the second phase of the contest. At the end of the second phase, an independent jury announces the winners of the challenge. They are awarded prize money and can invest it in executing their plans.

What’s to gain

The maximum of 9 selected nominees in phase 1 all win two workshops, a video clip, and media attention. Ultimately, three prizes are available for the winners of the challenge: €5,000 (public prize), €20,000 (second prize), and €30,000 (first prize). Students can compete for the student prize of €10,000.  


Terms and conditions: Download the phase 1 guidelines here:

Download the application form (Word format) here: in Dutch or in English

Frequently asked questions: Download the frequently asked questions in Dutch and English

Would you like to know what’s next? Download the phase 2 guidelines here: in Dutch or in English.

Important dates

6 November 2017: Deadline for applications
29 November 2017: Workshop 1: How to write a business model (selected applicants only)
6 December 2017: Workshop 2: Optimise your story & pitch training course (selected applicants only)

How to apply

To participate, describe your proposal on a maximum of three A4 sheets (see the Application form The Hague Innovators Challenge in English and the Aanmeldformulier Challenge Haagse Vernieuwers 2018 in Dutch). Submit it in duplicate. One copy should have all the relevant company information (address information and so on), and the other should be completely anonymous. The closing date for the submission of your proposal (the selection phase) is Monday 6 November 2017, at 9 a.m. at the latest. The selected organisations will be announced at the end of November. The selected concepts will be published on ImpactCity’s Facebook page and the Municipality of The Hague website. After the selection committee has made the announcement, the nine selected entrants will be asked to elaborate their proposal and develop a plan of action.

Let’s get to work

All information about the procedure, selection criteria, terms and conditions, points system and the question form can be found in the downloads above. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at Deadline for applications is 6 November 2017 – don’t miss it!

Other resources

25-10-2017: Meet this year’s selection committee and learn about the five criteria your proposal should meet
12-10 2017 : We checked in with last year’s winners to hear how winning the challenge has kickstarted their businesses. Read their latest updates.
04-04-2017: Startup Budgently, winner 2nd prize The Hague Innovators Challenge 2017
30-03-2017: Naif, winner The Hague Innovators Challenge 2016
14-03-2017: Hack the Planet, winner The Hague Innovators Challenge 2017
09-03-2017: Noordzeeboerderij, winner The Hague Innovators Challenge 2016
19-01-2017 :  Announcement of the winners of The Hague Innovators Challenge 2017
13-11-2016: Announcement of the nominees of The Hague Innovators Challenge 2015
Read the feedback of the jury on the proposals of last year’s nine nominees (2017): download the jury report (in Dutch)