The Hague: the place to be for social entrepreneurs?

Is The Hague the best place to be for European social entrepreneurs right now?

The city’s mayor, Pauline Krikke (below), gives a persuasive argument. “The Hague connects many creative entrepreneurs, old and young - and they want to make a difference,” she says. “They are dreamers and do-ers, hard workers and thinkers.”

She adds: “Economic success can go hand in hand with social impact, and it should go hand in hand with it. We call that the impact economy - doing good and doing business.”

Pauline Krikke Mayor The Hague

Ms Krikke was giving the opening address at the Euclid Summit 2018 which is being held this week in The Hague.

The event has brought together policy makers, support bodies, third sector representatives, academics and social entrepreneurs from countries across Europe, including Albania, Croatia, France, Turkey and the Russian Federation, to discuss the theme of “growing ecosystems for social impact”.

The Hague is a playground for new initiatives

During the first day, delegates heard how the European Commission supports social entrepreneurship, considered how they work together to create positive social change and road tested a new online tool from the OECD designed to help regions analyse and develop their support for social entrepreneurs.

Amongst all this, one theme that stood out was The Hague’s enthusiasm for social enterprise. The city is currently calling itself the ‘Impact City’, providing support to “startups, creative entrepreneurs, techies, artists, hackers, makers and overall innovators”.

“The Hague is a playground for new initiatives,” said Gert-Willem van Mourik, the municipality’s programme manager for innovation and social entrepreneurship. He said over the past couple of years part of his job has been to “seduce” social enterprises to start a franchise in the city.

Examples of social enterprises operating in the city include The New Farm, which boasts the largest rooftop farm in Europe, “slow fashion” movement i-did, and Seepje which makes cleaning products.

“These are people who are addressing the challenges of the 21st century with innovation and passion,” said Ms Krikke. “And The Hague is delighted to welcome them as a testing ground and a driver of new developments.”

The Euclid Network itself, currently based in London, will be moving to The Hague later this year in order to “assure its European identity” following Brexit.



Photograph of Pauline Krikke by Springroll Media.

Pioneers Post is media partner to the Euclid Summit 2018.