Case Studies

Amsterdam Impact – A local government initiative to make the impact economy the new norm

Tags: Wellbeing Business

Amsterdam Impact, which recently became a member of the Wellbeing Economy Alliance, is an initiative co-created by the City of Amsterdam with diverse partners to strengthen the impact entrepreneurship ecosystem, create systemic change locally and on an (inter)national level, and thus accelerate the transition to an impact economy.

This new kind of economy focuses on solving societal challenges through innovative entrepreneurship and creating much more than financial value. It’s an economy with inclusion at its core and helps create equal opportunities and wellbeing for all.

Amsterdam Impact’s 2019-2022 programme builds on the foundation of its successful 2015-2018 programme to support and facilitate the development of impact enterprises – social enterprises and socially responsible businesses – and the impact-driven ecosystem, including startups, SMEs, large companies, investors, the government, and knowledge institutes. 

“We still recognise and support the pioneering role of social enterprises because they’re leading the way and inspiring other types of companies. But we need all walks of life and sectors to create systemic change that brings about a different type of society and economy, which places wellbeing at its core,” says Ellen Oetelmans, director of Amsterdam Impact.

Explore the six pillars of Amsterdam Impact’s 2019-2022 programme

1. Transition. This pillar contributes to turning Amsterdam into a global centre of expertise on the role of local governments in the transition to an economy that delivers multiple forms of value. Amsterdam Impact’s transition-focused initiatives include Building Better Business, a programme with B Lab and Economy for the Common Good to help mainstream companies accelerate their social and environmental impact and get certified for their performance.   

2. Market access. This pillar stimulates impact companies’ purpose and continuity to generate more than financial value by solving societal challenges through entrepreneurship. For example, the Buy Social series with Social Enterprise NL connects impact enterprises to potential buyers. And an annual consumer-focused campaign, The Impact Days, gives a nationwide platform to entrepreneurs across the Netherlands

3. Capital. This pillar aims to shift how investors perceive impact enterprises – typically seen as risky – and ensure sufficient capital is available to impact companies at all stages of the business life cycle by encouraging close collaboration and knowledge exchange between diverse investors and funders. It includes initiatives such as Co-Financing our Future, a peer-to-peer network for impact investors, which Amsterdam Impact runs together with ABN AMRO, DOEN Participaties, Invest-NL, Techleap, and many other partners. 

4. Internationalisation. This pillar consolidates Amsterdam’s position as a hotspot for growing and scaling Dutch and foreign impact companies and deepening the collaboration with international governments and ecosystems – whether municipal, regional or national. Amsterdam Impact has launched an Impact Ecosystems Network with many partners, has co-created programmes such as Soft Landing with the Impact Hub network and joined two social and solidarity economy (SSE) consortia initiated by an OECD Global Action funded by the EU. 

5: Impact entrepreneurship in the neighbourhood. This pillar supports entrepreneurial initiatives that contribute to Amsterdam’s neighbourhoods’ economic growth and liveability by focusing on social cohesion, labour participation, health and sustainability. Among the programmes in this pillar is the ‘Boost je Buurt‘ (Dutch for ‘Boost Your Neighbourhood’) challenge. 

6: Ecosystem connections. This pillar is all about strengthening ties between the diverse players of Amsterdam’s impact entrepreneurship ecosystem by helping them know who’s who, share expertise, and do business with each other. For instance, Amsterdam Impact has an impact ecosystem liaison, which enables all actors in the ecosystem to connect, both within the municipality and beyond.

Want to collaborate with Amsterdam Impact? 

“I’m always open to learning from other cities, regions, and countries. My dream would be to connect to all continents and collaborate to make an impact economy, focused on wellbeing, the new norm,” says the initiative’s director, Ellen Oetelmans.

Get in touch with Ellen if you would like to work with Amsterdam Impact on projects that strengthen impact entrepreneurship as a global movement and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Want to find out more about Amsterdam Impact?

Explore the Amsterdam Impact website and read its Cities of Impact series in collaboration with Pioneers Post. Amsterdam Impact is preparing its next programme, so stay tuned and connected by following the initiative on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

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