Sold-out ImpactFest 2019 big success!

1,600 registered impact makers from around the world joined forces on November 5th during the 4th edition of ImpactFest in the Fokker Terminal in The Hague: the biggest impact meetup in Europe. The participants pooled their knowledge and experience in order to raise innovations for a better world to a higher level.

ImpactFest is an annual event set up by the Municipality of The Hague. It provides organizations and entrepreneurs with a platform for presenting solutions, giving pitches for investors, exchanging experiences and joining forces to scale up. ImpactFest was originally initiated by the Municipality of The Hague in collaboration with a close-knit group of impact partners. In this year’s edition, ImpactFest and the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA) collaborated to combine supply and demand by forging links between hundreds of EVPA members and impact entrepreneurs, and connecting them with The Hague’s dynamic impact ecosystem.

Report on ImpactFest
The ImpactFest activities got off to an early start on Monday evening and were attended by a select international group of start-ups and scale-ups. Meetings with key partners enabled them to get acquainted with the ImpactCity ecosystem and the opportunities for establishing offices in The Hague.

ImpactFest officially commenced on Tuesday morning with 16 different Meetup Sessions, where the ImpactFest partners shared their knowledge, experience and networks with participants.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • During the Reversed Pitching session, investors from the EVPA network explained why they are the perfect partners for the 80-odd start-ups participating in the event.
  • Euclid Network and the European Commission hosted an exclusive Meetup (by invitation only) for 30 civil servants from all over the EU to discuss policy on social entrepreneurship and improving local impact ecosystems.
  • B Corporations explained to entrepreneurs how impact can be measured using the B Corp certification system. In addition, it was announced that World Startup Factory has successfully completed the procedure and is now officially a Certified B Corporation.
  • The 9 nominees of The Hague Innovators challenge were announced.
Ali Najafbagy & Pauline Wink-Zaanen van 4impact. © Henriëtte Guest / ImpactCity

4impact fund to receive € 6 million from Ministry of EZK
After a delicious lunch provided by innovative food start-ups, the afternoon programme kicked off with an announcement that the 4impact investment fund has been granted a € 6 million contribution by the Ministry of Economic Affairs under its Climate’s Seed Capital scheme. The fund also announced its intention of relocating to Apollo 14, the impact start-up hub in The Hague.

The first version of the Impact Diagram was presented as well. This diagram gives an analysis of the Dutch impact ecosystem: from investors to knowledge institutes, events and auxiliary partners. It is an evaluated tool continually supplemented on the basis of new developments and input.

© Henriëtte Guest / ImpactCity

The afternoon program comprised a large number of ‘Roundabout’ sessions, during which 4 to 6 participants at each table entered into discussions with each other – under the guidance of an expert – on all kinds of matters they encounter during everyday business operations. These matters range from technology, marketing and investments to legislation and talent development. Participants also exchanged knowledge and experiences, which resulted in some useful connections.

Participant Ineke Ligthart: “What an amazing and inspiring day! My main take aways from today are that collaboration is key for making impact, visualising your ecosystem will help you to connect with the right people and to embrace misunderstanding as it helps you to look at things from a different perspective.”

The Impact Sessions, on six different themes, were held at the same time as the Roundabouts. These sessions focused entirely on matchmaking, in which a number of selected start-ups were linked to investors in the EVPA and ImpactCity networks.

Erik van der Rijt, director Urban Economy, sharing what it means to do good and do busines in The Hague © Henriëtte Guest / ImpactCity

Doing good & doing business

‘Doing good & doing business’ is the motto and the very essence of ImpactCity, The Hague’s initiative with ImpactFest as its annual flagship event. It’s a motto that came to life during ImpactFest, and which ensured that its participants all went home with renewed inspiration and motivation at the end of the day.

In the evening, an exclusive dinner was held for special guests – by invitation only – to round off ImpactFest as well as kicking off the annual EVPA conference on Wednesday 6 and Thursday 7 November. This was a great way for more than 150 top international investors and policymakers to conclude a highly successful day, during which the ImpactCity ecosystem was once again able to demonstrate why it is a key player in the European impact economy.

Rinke Zonneveld – Executive Director InnovationQuarter:
“The Hague is really showing it is thé ImpactCity of Europe!”

Patricia van Someren – District manager Rabobank The Hague:
“What a great day today at ImpactFest! So many international investors, startups and scale-ups came together, creating a really nice and energetic vibe! I’ve made so interesting connections that will certainly be continued.”

Erik van der Rijt, Director Urban Economy, Municipality of The Hague:
“Great to see the impact ecosystem come together during this sold-out 4th edition of ImpactFest! Together with international and local partners who are working on innovations for a better world, The Hague has once again demonstrated why it is the ImpactCity of Europe. ”


Many photo’s have been made at ImpactFest. Please click here for the full gallery.