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Navigating the Future: Insights from WebSummit and Startup Guide Summit

November 21, 2023

How can we use artificial intelligence to accelerate the transition to a sustainable society?

Last week, Lisbon was buzzing. 70,000 people from the tech world met at WebSummit. Startups – including the founders of Apollo14 residents Quantify and Uglobally -, policymakers, investors, specialists, CEOs, and journalists collectively searched for the answer to the question: where to next? The answer remains uncertain, but marketing trends (personalisation, personalisation, personalisation), the changing role of journalism (slow and inclusive), talent (where to find and how to keep happy), and lots of other topics were discussed, and one thing really stood out. The role of artificial intelligence came up in every single conversation.

During this mega event, there was also a small – but certainly no less interesting – side event: Startup Guide Summit. It took place at the beautiful 400-year-old co-working and event venue Casa do Impacto. The Startup Guide Summit also brought together startups, investors, public sector representatives, community builders, and other stakeholders from 60 startup ecosystems, but focused on a different topic. The 300 participants from around the world talked to each other about how to bridge our biggest challenges by working together and making space for innovation.

Our ImpactCity colleague Asceline Groot and WorldStartup’s Gerrit-Jan van ‘t Veen – who are working on an incubator for and by female entrepreneurs in The Hague South-West – were invited by BMW Foundation to talk about the opportunities and challenges of a public-private partnership. Read more about this initiative below the images.

We think it is safe to say that everyone – from both events – went home with a bucket of inspiration, lots of new contacts, overtired feet from all the walking, and lots of questions about the future of our planet, which we need to answer together. And more specifically, we went home with the question of how to use artificial intelligence to accelerate the transition to a sustainable society. If you have any ideas about that or contacts that could play a valuable role in this transition, please share them with us.

About ImpactDistrict The Hague

ImpactDistrict initiates a community-based impact incubator to empower ten talented female-founded food-related startups to support entrepreneurial action in the SouthWest district of The Hague. The Hague is the most segregated city in the Netherlands and social and sustainability issues are on the rise. Especially in the South-West District poverty, exclusion, and segregation are major issues. Based on many conversations with stakeholders in such neighborhoods lack of local embedded ownership was identified as one of the main reasons for this. The ability to create an empowering entity that is cooperative and run by local community leaders could be replicable in other communities, including the train-the-trainer programs and other typical mechanisms to ensure scalability through replication.