Meet the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation || 'The impact economy is what the world needs right now'

This year, the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation (DRK) is establishing a European base by opening an office in The Hague. We checked in with managing director Lisa Jordan to hear about the foundation’s work and its move to The Hague. She says, ‘We look forward to actively share our knowledge within the ImpactCity ecosystem, starting with ImpactFest 2020.’

Since 2002, DRK has been funding and supporting social entrepreneurs that have the potential to make a difference. ‘Draper Richards Kaplan has worked from the United States so far, and has offices in India and Africa. Starting this year, we are officially entering the European market,’ says managing director Lisa Jordan.
‘Over the past ten years, a new generation of energetic, innovative entrepreneurs has come to the fore,’ Lisa says. ‘They look at social challenges in entirely new ways. We believe that they should get the support they deserve. That’s why we offer them early-stage funding so they can build solid enterprises and scale up.’

‘Attention for people, planet and profit is only viable if commercial entrepreneurship is combined with the mission to impact lives’


Impact first
This makes DRK’s way of working is unique. ‘We offer non-earmarked funding and take a seat within the enterprise’s management for three years,’ Lisa explains. ‘We apply all of the means at our disposal, including our network, to the benefit of the organisation. We open our doors, strengthen enterprises’ organisational structure, and help develop their growth strategies side by side.’
‘At DRK, impact always comes first. Profit’s nice, but we view impact as our most important task. Their success is our success. We measure impact by looking at the number of lives that have been touched by an enterprise. Worldwide, the number amounts to over 150 million to date.’
‘From The Hague, we want to support European entrepreneurs that focus on complex challenges, both here and in the rest of the world. It’s obvious that our current economy isn’t tenable. It encourages inequality and doesn’t spark employment. The Covid-19 pandemic has strengthened this impression. That’s why The Hague’s focus on fostering an impact economy is the way forward. Attention for people, planet and profit is only viable if commercial entrepreneurship is combined with the mission to impact lives.’

‘Profit’s nice, but we view impact to be our most important task’

Towards the future
‘I’m very proud of DRK and the entrepreneurs we work with,’ Lisa says. ‘DRK has given itself permission to truly look towards the future. With my 30 years of professional experience in philanthropy, I can confidently say that the current generation of entrepreneurs is truly looking for solutions within the market. Every day, they’re taking risks to the benefit of society at large.’
‘We’re in the process of developing a new fund that consists of 80 million US Dollar in capital to support even more entrepreneurs. Over the next five years, 105 organisations will be able to profit from it.’

‘The Hague offers the perfect environment for innovative enterprises’

An open mind
DRK thoroughly researched different locations as options for its European base. ‘Ultimately, the Netherlands proved to be the best fit with our vision and mission,’ Lisa says. ‘Within the Netherlands, the openness of the city of The Hague clearly fits us very well.’
‘What’s more, The Hague is home to a multitude of government institutions, organisations, financial institutions, enterprises and knowledge institutions,’ she adds. ‘The Hague offers the perfect environment for innovative enterprises. An active and impact-focused ecosystem is in place that continues to grow. This ecosystem isn’t exclusively economically focused, but emphasises societal impact. That’s very important to our work and to the world.’
‘In The Hague, on a daily basis, over 30,000 people are working to achieve the same goal: a just and peaceful world. Knowledge and expertise about social entrepreneurship comes together here, as well as the relevant networks. We are looking forward to adding our entrepreneurs and network to the mix.’