B Lab EU: Hi! Please tell us why the City of Amsterdam created an impact entrepreneurship programme? Amsterdam Impact: Amsterdam wants to become the number one city for impact entrepreneurship: a place where startups, SMEs and larger companies work side by side to simultaneously create economic and societal value. To this end, the City of Amsterdam devised Amsterdam Impact 2019 - 2022.
Our previous (2015-2018) programme aimed to develop a supportive environment for Amsterdam-based social enterprises to start, grow and thrive. Our new programme builds on this foundation and focuses on strengthening the ecosystem for all companies, from startups to large corporations helping to solve societal challenges.
B Lab EU: What kinds of other organisations do you work with? And what kind of support do you offer? Amsterdam Impact: In addition to impact companies we also work with a diverse range of financiers, knowledge institutes, civil servants and other organisations in Amsterdam’s impact ecosystem.
We offer support in a variety of ways such as through our Buy Social events (together with Social Enterprise NL) where we encourage procurement professionals from large companies and organisations to purchase their products and services from impact enterprises.
Another initiative is our Integrated Capital Network (together with two B Corps: Generous Minds and Impact Hub Amsterdam) a growing group of impact financiers and experts who meet monthly with impact entrepreneurs to offer funding and expertise to grow their business and social impact.
B Lab EU: Do you only work with businesses and organisations in the Netherlands? Is there a special connection with other cities? Amsterdam Impact: We are closely connected to other Dutch cities such as Utrecht, The Hague and Rotterdam and other municipalities in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area. We organise The Impact Days (21 - 23 November), an annual event during which impact companies can showcase their goods and services by hosting open houses, organising workshops or running special offers.
As for cities abroad, we have connections with different European networks and have contributed to conferences such as Global Social economy Forum, Nesi Forum and the Social Enterprise World Forum. Also we have co-organised two successful trade missions to Social Capital Markets in San Francisco.
B Lab EU: What's your connection to the B Corp community? Amsterdam Impact: We strongly embrace what the B Corp community stands for: doing business in a sustainable way. By promoting doing business in a different way we also promote those businesses that align with the societal challenges that we see as a local government. As a city we collaborate with different B Corps like Impact Hub and Generous Minds.
We are very happy to have B Lab Europe's HQ here in Amsterdam and are looking forward to working together on the B Corp Summit again. At last year's Summit we were pleased to interview B Lap Europe’s Executive Director, Nathan Gilbert. This testimonial was part of a series of videos with key players from Amsterdam’s Impact ecosystem, which also included the ABN Amro Social Impact Fund, as well as B Corps from abroad, like Guayaki.
B Lab EU: You're a great supporter of the B Corp Summit. Why do you think it’s important for us all to get together each year? Amsterdam Impact: B Corps are frontrunners in doing good while doing business. We are particularly excited that this year’s event also welcomes companies that are not - or not yet - B Corp certified. There are many enterprises keen on transitioning their business model towards creating more societal value. By attending the B Corp Summit, they can get inspired by the success stories of B Corps and exchange expertise.
Our 2019 - 2022 programme pays special attention to boosting Amsterdam’s position as a hotspot for scaling both Dutch and international impact companies, including B Corps. This makes the summit a perfect opportunity to develop potential collaborations with enterprises who want to expand to the Dutch market and join Amsterdam’s impact ecosystem.
B Lab EU: What are your plans for the future? Any exciting new projects or developments we should know about? Amsterdam Impact: Our new action programme was just approved in July and there are many activities we look forward to. In addition to our partnership with and participation in the B Corp Summit, we will be co-hosting a workshop on tech for good solutions for the SDGs during SDG Action Day (25 September) and our annual Unpack Impact event during Amsterdam Capital House (23 - 25 September), the fifth anniversary edition of Amsterdam Capital House.
To stay in the loop, we invite you all to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn!
B Lab EU: Thank you and look forward to seeing you at the Summit!