To allow The Hague to grow and flourish as the ImpactCity, an international view is required. Worldwide, making impact is increasingly being executed through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. It is therefore important for The Hague to join the SDG networks of the United Nations. How to link the SDGs to innovation and technology was discussed and elaborated on the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) forum of the UN. ImpactCity was there.
The trade mission to New York had three clear goals. The first was to gather knowledge from various international parties in the field of Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals. In addition, a long-term cooperation was initiated between the UN and The Hague on the theme of impact. And finally, the impact network in New York was further expanded, for example with companies that want to do business in The Hague.
A strong network of impact cities
From The Hague, a strong network is built of cities with initiatives and ecosystems that connect with “Impact City The Hague”. The focus is on the best startup cities worldwide, and of course with an impact profile. That is why the international network of ImpactCity is concentrated on a few hubs per continent: in Europe it is Berlin, in Asia Mumbai, and in North America the focus is on San Francisco and New York.
New York is extra important in this context, because it is the city of the UN, where the key debates on how institutions and SDGs relate to innovation and business take place. And that’s exactly the field in which The Hague acts as ImpactCity.
And the ties with New York are important for several reasons; this city also has a strong start-up economy, with well-known start-up hubs and accelerators. In addition, due to the presence of the United Nations, New York attracts relevant influential parties that can mean a lot to the economy in The Hague. As the third UN city, The Hague must be clearly visible within these networks. The way in which The Hague links policy to ‘doing good & doing business’ is a textbook example that we can be proud of. A textbook example that was also highly praised at the UN.
Milestone for The Hague
Participation in the annual forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals has proved to be a strategically good move. Participants in this forum are decision makers, experts, users and policy makers who apply innovation and technology in practice.
The Hague had not been present in the UN before, which is why it was, next to a milestone, a valuable experience. This gave us a better view of the different divisions of the UN, the relationships between them and how they interact. It is valuable to know what is customary within the UN and that this is accompanied by a different dynamic and speed. In addition, the forum was a suitable place to gain insight into which international experts are being questioned for the realization of the SDGs.
Making impact in New York and The Hague
New York has a high density of startups and scale-ups that work on innovations for a better world. In addition to the contacts that have been made with the United Nations, various companies have been visited that are expanding their activities to The Hague. Opportunities are explored for supporting impact innovation projects in and with The Hague. For example, the launch of the company LXMI, the second company of impact impact entrepreneur Leila Janah. with the mission to change people and the planet for the better, through better wages for growers in Africa and at the same time investing in the community.
Bootcamp: blockchain for social good
Also, the cooperation with the Dutch Consulate General in New York was further intensified. Together with Halve Maen and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), the Dutch Consulate has developed the “Blockchain for Social Good” program. This bootcamp program is aimed at Blockchain startups and scale-ups that want to take the step to the American market and to investigate the cooperation with UN organizations, focusing on the impact theme ‘humanitarian innovation’. From ImpactCity The Hague we support this initiative, and invite all blockchain entrepreneurs to participate.
Opportunities for the future
The goal oriented approach of this trip has delivered an number of results. All three goals were met and follow-up appointments were made during the meetings. Several partners wanted to learn more from ImpactCity, with its practical approach and existing infrastructure in The Hague, which will be taken up in the follow-up process. To maintain credibility and persuasiveness, it is essential that The Hague continues to tell the same purposeful story: The Hague, as the international city of peace and justice is the place for ‘doing good & doing business’ where innovations for a better world are part of our daily business. It turned out that this story has a high appeal to the UN and therefore The Hague will continue to tell this story.