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As the dust now settles on the momentous Euclid Network Impact Summit, it gives us a moment to reflect and take stock of what we collectively experienced and achieved. The goal – to Build Bridges – from Intention to Action, meaning to create meaningful change from a meeting of minds. Many times we go to wonderful events, meet other incredible people working hard to make an impact. At the Summit, hosted at the Titaan ( The Impact Innovation Hub) in The Hague, The Netherlands, we focused on taking action and making change together. So was that achieved? 

Perhaps a good place to start to answer this question is to look at the program. What did we talk about? The Summit commenced with an uplifting opening session moderated by Euclid Network CEO, Wieteke Dupain. Deputy Mayor and Alderman of the City of The Hague Saskia Bruines welcomed all participants, highlighting the significance of uniting innovators dedicated to the Sustainable Development Goals. Her words reflected The Hague’s commitment to fostering a socially inclusive and sustainable economy through collaborative endeavors.

Keynote speakers followed led by Ruth Paserman Director of the European Commission DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Regita Zejla from Social Enterprise Association Latvia and a rousing  speech by Michel Scholte from True Price and Impact Institute. 

Ruth highlighted the progress made by  the European Commission with regards to the council recommendations for developing Social Economy Framework Conditions  which plan to develop Social Enterprise growth in the member states. She also discussed the Mutual Learning Program which is part of the Social Economy Action Plan, encouraging amongst other key topics access to finance and youth entrepreneurship as well as supporting the green transition. Ruth was also keen to mention the Social Economy Gateway, an online portal giving access to resources, policies, data and best practices. The European Commission, she said, are keen for the Gateway to be utilised as a learning instrument for all. Ruth concluded that she felt events such as the Euclid Network Summit were not only important for exchanging knowledge and best practice but also how it is also a vehicle for the European Commission to gain inspiration first hand from the work the network and partners are doing.

Picture: Ruth Paserman Director of the European Commission DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion.

Michel Scholte gave a stirring speech highlighting five key areas:

  1. Pricing – How business cannot continue with products being produced in often an unsustainable and inhumane fashion to then being sold faster and cheaper than those created sustainably. 
  2. Subsidies – There are 7 trillion dollars worth of subsidies available for fossil fuels. It is impossible for renewable fuels to compete. The subsidies need to be repurposed.
  3. Public Procurement –  Buying power is a driving force for change and needs to be redirected towards environmental and social impact making organisations and businesses. 
  4. Grassroots Movements –  such as People, Planet First need to be supported to help educate, raise awareness and drive change.
  5. Friendpreurship Movement – Events such as the Euclid Network Impact Summit help to build the support network and collectively we can continue to push the momentum of change. 
Picture: Michel Scholte from True Price and Impact Institute.

Regita touched upon the importance of learning from each other. Also how working with the public and private sectors can sometimes lead to setbacks therefore perseverance and resilience is needed to keep telling the story and moving forward. Regita made it clear that she felt supported by the network and how we are stronger together.

Picture: Regita Zejla from Social Enterprise
Association Latvia

The opening panel discussed the value of multi-stakeholder partnerships to drive change. The panel included Alexandra van der Ploeg, Global Head of Corporate Social Responsibility SAP, Daniel Nowack, Head of Global Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship, Roberta Bosurgi CEO Impact Europe as well as Gerry Higgins, CEO from Social Enterprise World Forum and Euclid Network’s President Neven Marinovic Director Smart Kolektiv.

“ There is enormous potential not only for scaling social enterprises but also for transforming the economy, serving as a powerful reminder that we are here, united in our efforts to shape a European ecosystem where enterprises harmonise doing good with doing business, flourishing in an environment ripe for meaningful change”.  Alexandra van der Ploeg, SAP.

Picture: (from left to right) Alexandra van der Ploeg, SAP, Daniel Nowack, Global Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship, World Economic Forum, Gerry Higgins, Social Enterprise World Forum

The opening set the precedent for the rest of the event with lively discussion from all areas of the social enterprise and social finance sphere, representing the European Commission and policy maker, as well as corporate and impact investor perspective, as well as the voice of the social enterprise support organisations and social enterprises.

This insightful debate was a great way to kick start what followed next. The rest of the day included policy roundtables, innovation workshops with investors, discussions around the role of private Capital for Good, workshops on Doughnut Economics, Impact Measurement as well as social enterprise data through the European Social Enterprise Monitor together with a lively panel discussion on Diversity Equity and inclusion. 

Day one finished with a breath of fresh air in the bright spring sunshine of The Hague on the outdoor terrace of the Titaan giving a unique moment to network, relax, unwind and reflect ready for day two!

Day two brought along a truly historic moment. Euclid Network was delighted to partner with the Sustainable Procurement Pledge (SPP) during their celebration of the WorldSustainable Procurement Day on 21 March, to offer part of this 24-hour virtual event in-person and hybrid, as part of the Buy Social B2B Europe project co-funded by the European Union and SAP.

Picture; (from left to right) Jaime Henriques Paiva, Zurich Insurance, Colin Downie, WildHearts Group, Alexandra van der Ploeg, SAP, Wieteke DuPain CEO Euclid Network, Charlie Wigglesworth, Social Enterprise UK/ Telos, Karel Vanderpoorten, European Commission – Social Economy

For the first time ever the 24-hour virtual event was complemented by ‘in-person’ speakers and audience for three of the 24 sessions. Those being 1) Embedding Sustainability into Public Sector Procurement, 2) Discovering Value; Navigating the Social Procurement Movement with Buy Social Europe and 3) Circular Supply Chains; What Are the Challenges and Learnings to Far which were hosted on and offline simultaneously. It was a true innovative success as the advanced hybrid technology on location meant that the speakers and audience in The Hague could interact with procurement professionals globally whilst the virtual audience could also interact and benefit from the sessions co-hosted in The Hague. 

Whilst there were over 200 people physically attending the Impact Summit at the Titaan, there were  5,558 online tuning in for the SPP and Euclid Network sessions. It was a turning point for the sector as the world of social enterprise and global procurement were virtually and physically in the same room and discussing meaningful change together. The whole day was a huge achievement in creating meaningful discussions about social procurement between experts and changemakers.

The topics #SustainableProcurement and #BuySocial were discussed intensively, including on World Sustainable Procurement Day on 21 March. Once again, this showed enormous potential not only for scaling social enterprises, but also for transforming the economy. Due to new laws and regulations, but also with a view to #TalentRecruitment and the wishes of many consumers, companies are becoming more and more open here. We therefore discussed the potential but also the challenges of integrating social enterprises into supply chains and the role of the Buy Social movement with key players.” SEND Germany

However, day two was not only about Social Procurement but other important sessions included; AI for Social Impact, Testing Gender Mainstreaming, Business for Good (influencing the mainstream business sector from a social innovation and social enterprise perspective), Frugal Innovation, a discussion on the European Elections, and Scaling Social innovation, Mindful Leadership and EU funding for beginners topped off the day. 

“I came away feeling a sense of reassurance that the sector is continuing to gain momentum and move in the right direction. It gives me hope that in my lifetime, we may see the global economy shift to political and business practices that centre the net good of society and ecologies as the norm rather than the exception” Miriam Sweeny – Changemaker Xchange

The closing ceremony was hosted by Tom Marshall who led an interesting and spiritual ending, enlisting mindfulness at the end of a busy two day schedule allowing time for reflection, thanks and celebration.

I left the summit feeling a lot more inspired thanks to learning about all the incredible initiatives with a shared mission to break the barriers in entrepreneurship (such as these organisations do Empow’Her Reach for Change Equity Architecture, European Investment Fund (EIF) Sustainable Banking CoalitionBlack Light | The blind side of view National Association of Friendship Centres | Association nationale des Centres d’amitié Pioneers Post)”. Katty Hsu  from Inclusive Entrepreneurship Lead at Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship

So what were the main learnings and outcomes from the event? 

This is what Katty Hsu Key takeaways were – 

“Here are some of my key takeaways from 2 days of important conversations:
– there is a wealth of information out there to help entrepreneurs overcome their barriers, but much like the monetary wealth in our world, these resources are not well distributed 
– the stigma around entrepreneurship (centred around a traditional profile of a for-profit entrepreneur) needs to be broken, especially in impact-driven entrepreneurship 
– there is not enough data, especially gender-disaggregated and intersectional insights, to make informed decisions to create an inclusive future in entrepreneurship”

Other thoughts from the closing ceremony were how inspiring the European Social Enterprise network is to those further afield in the US and Canada and how they can take back to their countries the many learnings from the Summit to implement and help move their ecosystem forward. Collectively there was a general feeling that bridges indeed had been built during the course of the two days and now the community needs to act on the plans made at the Summit. Everyone agreed that we don’t want to meet up in two years time and have the same conversations and it is up to everyone to implement their own actions. It was also repeated by several attendees how supportive and friendly the network is as well as offering reassurance that individual organisations are not ‘in it alone’.  Also that everyone feels supported and this generates a level of excitement looking forward to what can be achieved if everyone works together.

Quite simply…

“Collaboration isn’t just an option; it’s the only way forward”. 

Neven Marinovic, President of Euclid Network.

For those interested in the quantitative data, in the evaluation the average score from all of the sessions was 82% with the majority (89%) saying that they would attend a Euclid Network event in the future. Calls were made to bring forward the next Impact Summit planned for  2026 to 2025. This is under discussion, but it is fair to say that we did achieve our goal of Building Bridges. How far have we empowered and inspired action? That we will have to wait to see…

Click here to register to the Euclid Network newsletter and we will keep you posted on the Impact Summit 2026 and other events and opportunities until then.

With thanks to – Saskia Bruines, Ruth Paserman, Regita Zejla, Michel Scholte,  Alexandra van der Ploeg, Daniel Nowack, Roberta Bosurgi, Gerry Higgins, Neven Marinovic, Åsa Skogström Feldt and everyone at IKEA Social Entrepreneurship BV,, Bertelsmann Stiftung, Impact City The Hague, Titaan (Unknown Group), SEND, Katty Hsu, Miriam Sweeny, Pioneers Post, Holland Park Media, and all of our terrific speakers, presenters, sponsors and supporters as well as the Euclid Network Team. 

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