Rabobank and ImpactCity want to continue supporting entrepreneurs who work towards the new economy, especially now.
In conversation with Richard van Maurik, director of companies Rabobank The Hague region and Saskia Bruines, deputy mayor of The Hague.
Wat is your vision of The Hague as city for impact- and entrepreneurs?
“We know that The Hague has a large concentration and composition of governments, international organizations, companies, financial institutions and knowledge institutions. This offers interesting opportunities for startups and companies that focus on social and technological innovations. If the main stakeholders continue to join forces, an economy will emerge in The Hague that, in addition to stimulating economic returns, can also have an international social impact and thus contribute to a better world in an innovative and entrepreneurial way. That is precisely why we work closely with ImpactCity.
Deputy mayor Bruines:
“In the economic vision Den Haag +2030, we opt for a clear positioning of The Hague in the field of innovation and technology: in The Hague, we work on innovations for a safe, better and more just world. With ImpactCity, we have been building a strong ecosystem around the new economy for several years, in which economic success and social return go hand in hand. This concerns all those companies and organizations that utilize their innovations to and offer solutions for the so-called “global challenges”; the major social issues of our time. This theme fits very well with the DNA of The Hague as an international city of Peace and Justice. And this new economy offers the necessary economic opportunities for our city. We can take advantage of this if we offer our companies the right facilities and support. This is only possible with strong partners in the economy, which is why we are so pleased that we are now extending and deepening our cooperation with Rabobank.”
What does the partnership between Rabobank and ImpactCity aim to contribute to impact entrepreneurs?
“The mission ‘Growing a better world together’ of Rabobank and ‘Doing good & doing business’ of ImpactCity The Hague are a good match. That is why we have expressed and anchored our ambitions as partners. This will lead to a valuable collaboration that is of added value for the entrepreneurs in ImpactCity’s growing ecosystem.
What do we do as a partner? As a great example, we bring individual Member Council members from the Member Council of Rabobank in contact with startups because of their personal knowledge and experience. These members are willing to invest time from their personal capacity to help young companies find their way. After the summer, we also want to organize a master class together with ImpactCity on how to find an impact investor as an entrepreneur. We will also hold office hours for entrepreneurs at Apollo 14.”
Deputy mayor Bruines:
“This ties in nicely with ImpactCity’s services. Many activities are aimed at providing entrepreneurs with a network and access to financial support. For example, during Support XL at Apollo 14 which is organized a few times a year, entrepreneurs are linked to the right organizations that can help them with their acute issues. In addition, Impact City offers support in applying for European funding, and we stimulate innovation by organizing programs such as Startup in Residence. Every year, we offer entrepreneurs who have innovative ideas for social issues a stage and financial support with the Hague Innovators competition. The winners can use the prize money to further develop their product in the difficult early phase. This year, we are organizing ImpactFest for the fifth time, on October 27-28-29. It will be in an adapted form, largely online, but with ImpactFest we will once again create valuable national and international connections for entrepreneurs and impact makers that lead to new customers, investments and knowledge sharing.”
Rabobank has a special start-up and scale-up team. Can you tell us how and why this team and the services came about?
“Start-ups and scale-ups are of crucial importance for the future of the Netherlands and therefore also for the Hague region. These – often – young companies contribute to renewal and innovation, which in turn leads to new products, services and knowledge. The applied successful implementation of these innovations at other companies is good for our economy. For this reason, startups and scale-ups have a high priority with us and are part of our strategy. That is why ImpactCity connects so well with us. Rabobank Region The Hague wants to be the startup and scale-up bank in the region of The Hague.”
Deputy mayor Bruines:
“We have also seen that startups and scale-ups require a different kind of approach. These are young companies with an innovative product that can ‘scale’ internationally within a short period of time, or in other words continue to grow. In order to achieve that goal, a startup needs different forms of financing and investment than usual. In addition, or precisely for that reason, these young companies often also require other forms of networks, housing (hubs) and matchmaking with investors. To better facilitate this group of innovative entrepreneurs, we started a special program 5 years ago from which we set up ImpactCity. Collaboration with parties that also want to make an active contribution to this is essential in order to be able to offer good support to these entrepreneurs. Parties such as Yes! Delft and The Hague Tech have now also joined, and we are working together on a strong start-up and scale-up ecosystem in the city.”
“As a start-up or scale-up you want to do business successfully and achieve your business goals. This is in line with the ambition of our start-up and scale-up team: to help entrepreneurs grow. As an entrepreneur, good guidance is very valuable. Our team has the knowledge and skills to guide these entrepreneurs in particular. We are happy to help you find suitable financing options. We share knowledge so that entrepreneurs can focus on their business. We can help with payments, but also with HR challenges. And lastly, we are happy to share our extensive (international) network to talk to potential customers or partners.”
The Rabobank mission “Growing a better world together” clearly refers to making a positive social impact. What does the corona crisis mean for your mission? How does this translate into your services and what have you been able to do in recent months?
“Rabobank is joining forces with the Dutch government and the other banks to support businesses in these times. We have as much contact with our customers as possible and often consult with employers’ and business associations, municipalities and sector organizations. For example, in addition to advising on financing options and postponement of repayments, we can also advise on and refer you to government regulations.”
Deputy mayor Bruines:
“It is great to see that Rabobank Region The Hague continues its work to support entrepreneurs working in The Hague and the region, so they can keep working on solutions that contribute to a better world. Especially in these times, when entrepreneurs are struggling and sometimes have to reinvent their business. The partnership with ImpactCity The Hague underlines this even more and we are very happy with this.
“As a cooperative Rabobank, we can make the difference based on our mission of ‘Growing a better world together’. In addition to helping our customers, we also do this by tackling or contributing to impactful social projects. Projects that have a positive social impact on local society. In recent months, we have made laptops available to children from disadvantaged families, so that they too can receive home schooling and we have contributed to the delivery of meals to vulnerable elderly people. Our employees often offer a helping hand in this regard.”
What will you remember most from the conversations with entrepreneurs in the The Hague region in recent months?
“The past months have been intense for everyone and have had a lot of impact on everything around us. The measures taken at home and abroad to slow down the further spread of the corona virus have major consequences for the economy. We all feel this. It definitely stays with me that people were in great uncertainty, but also that people find something to hold on to, to each other and that entrepreneurs often appear to have a lot of resilience to respond to what is coming our way. Especially in the first months of the intelligent lockdown, Rabobank employees had intensive and sometimes emotional conversations with entrepreneurs. We have worked extremely hard to help our customers as best we can. Fortunately, many conversations with customers have a positive outcome and we appear to actually be able to help. Assisting entrepreneurs to keep their businesses afloat was and is a major priority. As a bank, but also as a socially conscious organization.”
Want to know more about the different financing possibilities and activities of the Rabobank?
Check out the following links:
Rabobank & region Den Haag
Rabobank for entrepreneurs
Rabobank & corona related questions
Fund-r: for which types of financing do you quality?
Rabobank innovation loan
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