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07 November saw the eighth ImpactFest in The Hague, The Netherlands. Organised by ImpactCity startups, scale-ups, investors, knowledge institutes, corporates, policymakers, and passionate individuals from all over the world were invited to the gathering to unleash the power of collaboration. 

As part of the Meetups, #Euclid Network(EN)’s Gerlinde Schmidt moderated a session focused on increasing opportunities for underrepresented founders. With many social entrepreneurs still experiencing systemic barriers in equitable access to resources and funding due to their background,  Gerlinde, together with Louis Kleemeyer (Unique United), Maame Adwoa Dentaa Amoo (African Mums in Deutschland) and Asma Naimi (Social Enterprise NL) discussed with the group the role of support organisations in building a healthier social enterprise ecosystem, emphasising collaboration and co-creation. Jamy Goewie (Shaping Impact Group), an impact investor, underscored the importance of diversity and inclusion for a more inclusive social enterprise ecosystem.

They all agreed that removing these barriers is key to driving social innovation forward and creating an inclusive social enterprise movement.

Meanwhile #Wieteke Dupain, #EN’s CEO hosted a session on the search for the “magic ingredient of thriving entrepreneurial ecosystems”. The session explored the many barriers in starting and scaling impact driven businesses and an enabling ecosystem for success. Joined by Gerrit Jan Van t’Veen (World Start-Up), Pedro Eikelenboom (EN), Mark Hillen (Social Enterprise Netherlands), Anne Leila Batel (PULSE), together with the participants they discussed the ‘perfect combination’ of Social Entrepreneurs, corporate organisations and policy makers. 

Leendert de Bell  from Utrecht University also took participants through creating Entrepreneurial Ecosystems and how interdependent factors can enable entrepreneurship.

Presentations were followed by an interactive workshop where participants could discuss their own experiences and raise questions to their peers. The outcomes were a better understanding of how to collaborate to assist and enable the development of your ecosystem.

Another pivotal session explored the buzz word ‘ ecosystems’. EN’s Toby Gazeley hosted a room full of ecosystem builders and leaders to share experiences and discover new opportunities to develop vibrant and thriving ecosystems. The main question of “what would energize your ecosystem (even more)?” was discussed in a lively debate with  guest speakers Egon Van Wees (Amsterdam Impact) and Reinder Douma (Gemeente Den Haag). The key takeaways highlighted the dynamic collaboration between social entrepreneurs and committed policymakers, the essential role of local governments in addressing barriers, the challenge of limited data on social enterprises (addressed by ESEM), and the key role of collaboration in shaping impactful ecosystems.

According to Impact City’s review from participants, ImpactFest’s program hit a new high, and we couldn’t agree more. A huge thank you to the organising team for not only yet again putting on an interesting and valuable event, but also allowing EN to be part of the discussion and being able to represent our members. Let’s keep the conversation going and we are already looking forward to next year.

Experience the unforgettable moments at ImpactFest all over again! Watch the official event after movie here.

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