Rabobank: A long-term loyal partner of ImpactCity
February 3, 2022
– INTERVIEW –
Rabobank The Hague Region has been a partner of ImpactCity since 2019 and has recently renewed the partnership for another two years. Together we will continue to support entrepreneurs who focus on the new sustainable economy, making the city and region of The Hague the ideal place to establish and grow an impact-driven business. In this short joint interview, Harry Wientjens, Director of Rabobank The Hague Region, and Peter Kievoet, Director of Economic Affairs, Mobility and Spatial Planning at the Municipality of The Hague, explain why Rabobank and ImpactCity cooperate so intensively.
What is your vision of the Hague as an impact and business city?
‘In recent years, The Hague has developed as a city which brings together not only government, big companies, research and academia, and International organisations, but also entrepreneurs and other people who want to make a positive impact on the world. In The Hague, people are actively driving the transitions that the world needs. This is receiving international recognition. The arrival of major international impact organisations such as the Draper Richards Kaplan (DRK) Foundation, with which we also work, is a prominent example of this. Our mission is ‘Growing a better world together’, and the common thread is that you have to collaborate. By working together, you’re literally able to create more impact. This is why we’re partnering with ImpactCity to support entrepreneurs who make social impact and also have a successful business model.’
‘As an international city of peace and justice, The Hague’s focus on a strong ecosystem around a new, sustainable economy is a perfect match with the city’s DNA. We’ve been doing this for several years with ImpactCity, and it’s also clearly reflected in the Municipality of The Hague’s economic vision. The new sustainable economy offers unique economic opportunities for our city, from both a local and international perspective. We can make the most of them if we offer our entrepreneurs the right facilities and support. This is only possible with strong partners in the impact economy, which is why we’re so happy to be continuing our long-term collaboration with Rabobank. We’re really going for this together.’
How does the partnership between Rabobank and ImpactCity aim to benefit impact entrepreneurs?
‘Rabobank wants to help entrepreneurs grow their company sustainably by providing financing, knowledge and a network. We think about every phase of a company’s life. Our startup and scale-up team established specifically for the first phase is a good example. The team can offer access to Rabobank’s large international network, introduce entrepreneurs to relevant investors, establish connections with other businesses and, of course, offer advice on Rabobank’s various financing products. Another good example is our Members’ Council. The members are experienced businesspeople and sector experts who make the time to discuss ideas with entrepreneurs and help them take the next step. Finally, in partnership with ImpactCity, we hold masterclasses for entrepreneurs.’
‘This ties in very well with ImpactCity’s services. The activities focus on the range of matters that are crucial for success, such as providing a valuable network and giving access to financial support – for example, in European funding applications. We understand that it’s important to pay attention to all the different phases that innovative entrepreneurs go through. One might benefit more from a warm introduction to the right investor, the other from a cash prize, like that of The Hague Innovators, to support the early concept or go-to-market phase. But we also see that thanks to the strong ecosystem in The Hague, our close municipal involvement with ImpactCity, and the connection with programmes such as Startup in Residence, we can really make a difference.’
At Rabobank, what major developments do you foresee in the sustainable economy in the coming years and what opportunities are there for entrepreneurs in the Hague region?
‘Based on our mission, we support our customers and regional ecosystems to increase wider prosperity in a way that is future-proof. We focus on transitions and projects in which we can really make an impact in collaboration with our customers and partners. For example, with the municipality of The Hague, we’re running a Food Waste Challenge for the hotel industry, in which several hotels are taking up the challenge to reduce food waste. And we’re working with the Diverzio Foundation to help a number of our large clients in the healthcare sector to access healthy, tasty and sustainable food. These kinds of innovations that can benefit a lot of people in the city are precisely what is important. The bank’s services increasingly go hand in hand with achieving positive social impact. To us, the one is no longer separate from the other.’
This interview was also published in the ImpactCity bookazine.