Counting down to matchmaking event Impact Fair:

"Impact Fair bridges the gap between social entrepreneurs and finance"

Impact Fair on March 19th is ImpactCity The Hague’s latest addition to its effort to enable the success of social impact scale-ups that are working from the city. Impact Fair aims to catalyze scale-ups’ business prospects by meaningfully connecting them to investors and their impact capital. We checked in with Mariken Gaanderse, who is charged by the municipality to organize the event, to hear more about Impact Fair and the rationale behind it.

At the The Hague-based Impact Fair on March 19th, scale-ups and impact investors are offered the perfect environment to connect. The event is organized by ImpactCity The Hague, in collaboration with impact investing consultancy Phenix Capital.

Impact Fair is a side event to Impact Summit Europe, which is the leading impact investing conference for institutional investors. This year’s summit takes place on 20-21 March at The Hague’s Peace Palace. Impact investing refers to investments made into companies, organizations and funds, with the intention to generate measurable, beneficial social or environmental impact alongside a financial return – also referred to as “social return on investment”.

“[It is] the fastest growing investment strategy in Europe and a precursor to our belief that investment capital can and should address some of the most pressing social and environmental challenges as defined by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” according to summit organizer Phenix Capital.

“Impact Fair will offer the intimacy in which real bonds can form” – Mariken Gaanderse, Impact Fair organizer

Bridging the gap

Impact Fair organizer Mariken Gaanderse explains, “Impact Summit is an investor-only conference that aims to catalyze private institutional capital to support the financing of the SDGs and the mainstreaming of impact and sustainable development investing.”

“At the summit, the focus for large funds and institutional donors is on connecting to each other to explore co-investment opportunities and to jointly excel specific trends. We felt it wouldn’t be the best idea to add scale-ups to the mix,” Mariken elucidates. “As a result, we were pondering the question of how to close the gap between these investors and SDG-focused scale-ups in the city, how they could gain access to all of those interesting investment funds that will be in town for Impact Summit.”

Impact capital adds value

“That’s why we came up with Impact Fair. Look at it as a side event that enables scale-ups to gain access to the investors that are present at Impact Summit,” she explains. “Alternatively, Impact Fair is of added value to the impact investors and investment funds, too. It offers them an avenue by which to gain easy access to a wide variety of local and international scale-ups.”

She adds, “Impact Fair will be held in a fairly small setting of about fifty participants. We believe the small scale of the event will further encourage effectiveness by offering the intimacy in which meaningful bonds can form.”

“Impact investment represents the unprecedented promise finance holds” – Mariken Gaanderse, Impact Fair organizer

Unprecedented promise

“We’re looking forward to the results of the pilot edition of this promising event,” Mariken says. “Impact investment represents the unprecedented promise of finance, that we’re only starting to explore. Billions of Euros are going around. If more of it is going to be invested in businesses that have social impact in mind, the consequences may well be vast.”

The Hague’s community of scale-ups, techies and overall social impact aficionados is all about using business as a force for good. As such, ImpactCity The Hague is the first impact community in its scale in the world, and it’s ready to inspire others to follow suit. “We’re hoping to, once again, bridge the gap between the vastly different worlds of social entrepreneurship and finance, and will gladly keep you updated on our progress,” Mariken pledges.

Access to Impact Fair is by invitation only. Applications for scale-ups are now closed. If you are an investor and keen to join in, please register here.