Looking back at Impact Startup Fest 2017:

"Together, we can make a dent in the universe"

It’s a wrap! We gave our best to pull Impact Startup Fest together. Connections and deals were made, insights were shared, and ideas came to life. We are grateful to all of you that were a part of it. Thank you for turning Impact Startup Fest 2017 into a success. You are an inspiration.

Many impact networks came together to pull this off. Being witness to what happens when we put you all together is our proof-of-concept to keep going. We will continue working hard towards cultivating the City of The Hague as the first ImpactCity in the world. “Together, we can make a dent in the universe,” festival organizer Mariken Gaanderse adequately puts our collective sentiment into words.  

Here’s some numbers: We are proud to have matched 35 impact investors with over 70 impact entrepreneurs in an informal setting on the beach and grateful to have welcomed 18 keynote speakers, to have hosted 40 workshops, 45 pitches, 3 meet-ups, 2 side events, and a brilliant Get in the Ring pitching competition to finish it all off.

Are you ready for Impact Startup Fest? It’s about to begin!! Finding your way to the festival? We’ll guide you along the road. See you in a bit! Let’s make some impact!!

Posted by Impact City – The Hague Innovators on Tuesday, 26 September 2017

“Our challenges are also our opportunities. If we identify what our problems are, they can potentially be business opportunities” – Severn Cullis-Suzuki, advocate for intergenerational justice

Launch of Startup Solutions for Sint Maarten

StartupDelta special envoy, Constantijn Van Oranje, kicked off the festival by launching Startup Solutions for Sint Maarten. Together with Vice-Chief of Defence Martin Wijnen, he called on startups to contribute to accelerated recovery of the island of Sint Maarten after the disastrous effects of Hurricane Irma earlier this month. It’s the first initiative of its scale worldwide. “I know you will come up with great solutions,” Karsten Klein, Deputy Mayor at the City of The Hague, encouraged festivalgoers to share their ideas in the Startup Solutions for Sint Maarten initiative.

“Frankly, there is a lot of skepticism. What we’re doing is very bold. We’ve got a lot of work to do to show that we can be catalytic” – Steve Ellis, senior partner at The Rise Fund

Social entrepreneurship: it’s a revolution

“The social enterprise sector in the Netherlands is growing. We’ve seen an explosive growth in social enterprises. We see a lot of talent and expertise joining this revolution,” Willemijn Verloop, founder at Social Enterprise NL, shared her perspective during her keynote. Rather than speaking to the audience herself, she decided to bring along two flagship social enterprises and offer them the stage. And they gladly took it.

Joost De Kluijver, founder at Closing the Loop, shared the rationale behind his social enterprise. “It’s difficult for us to tackle the problems associated with mobile phones individually. That’s why we try to change the problem into something that people can actually solve. It’s a paradigm shift from problem to perceiving a sense of agency,” he said.

Wendelien Hébly, founder at female hygiene business Yoni, chipped in, “We are aiming to change the female hygiene industry. That’s why awareness is an indicator of growth to us. When the demand for more transparency is starting to come from within the market, it means we’ve done well”.

“The term ‘social enterprise’ has actually become a selling point, as it were,” she added. “The term has become something aspirational, for the consumer as well as the reseller.”

“We bring together different stakeholders with different perspectives around global challenges. It’s all about collaboration from a shared purpose. It’s not about scaling that one perfect solution, but about the context in which different solutions must scale” – Sonja Van Meerbeek, founder at Ideas from Europe

A different take on measuring success 

Indian startup AgroStar is drastically impacting Indian agri-business. In his keynote, AgroStar founder Shardul Sheth shared, “In India, being invited to a wedding means you’re part of the family. We have received 300 wedding invitations to date. Mind you, these are all coming from farmers we have never met in person. To us, the number of wedding invitations we receive is the perfect way to measure our success”.

We are the change

“The global challenges that are facing us today are beyond human understanding. We have to bring back relationships. We have to bring back values into our global economy. I want to congratulate you, as you are all embodying this change here today,” keynote speaker Severn Cullis-Suzuki addressed the crowd at Impact Startup Fest.

Taking pitching to the next level

“We want to connect these startups with these amazing dreams to you, investors. In the ring, they can do whatever they want to convince you,” Hendrik Halbe explained the rules of Get in the Ring to the participating startups and investors.

Get in the Ring at Impact Startup Fest 2017. Photo credit: Gemeente Den Haag/Henriette Guest


Thanks again to all of our wonderful peers that are on this journey with us. Keep up the good work and keep joining the conversation. Stay up-to-date on the ImpactCity community via Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and by signing up for our newsletter. So long! And let’s talk soon.