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The Hague Innovators challenge 2022: this is the jury

September 1, 2022

Registrations for the 2022 edition of ImpactCity’s The Hague Innovators challenge closed last week. A big pile of submitted plans from pre-startups and startups is waiting for the jury to be reviewed. We’ve asked six professionals from the impact ecosystem in The Hague to evaluate the entries and select the eight best innovative ideas before September 9. In this article, you’ll get to meet the jury members.

The jury will evaluate the entries of the challenge based on the following criteria:

  • Is it a solution for an international social issue?
  • Does it have a detailed and profitable earnings model?
  • How innovative is the idea, product, or service?
  • Is it feasible and scalable?
  • What value does this idea, product, or service bring for The Hague as ImpactCity?

This year’s jury to review the entries of the challenge consists of six professionals working in the impact ecosystem of The Hague. 

Niels Schoonen | Investment Manager at UNIIQ

Niels Schoonen works as an Investment Manager at UNIIQ. UNIIQ is an investment fund (EUR 29 million) focused on the proof-of-concept phase. The fund provides seed capital to innovative startups to overcome the riskiest phase from concept to promising company. We invest in disruptive technologies that makes the world more sustainable, smarter and healthier. Niels: “I love brainstorming with startups about their innovative ideas. The importance of the The Hague Innovators challenge from ImpactCity is therefore very clear. I believe that only through innovation and cooperation we can solve today’s challenges.”

Noortje van Heijst | Investment Manager at Unknown Group

Noortje van Heijst is Investment Manager at Unknown Group, an international VC and open innovation firm headquartered in The Hague. In her role, she invests in founders with bold ideas to innovate industries and supports them with relevant connections and network. “There are big transitions in the world and we believe that founders are the ones that have the potential to contribute significantly and make an impact. By investing in these companies, we get the opportunity to be part of their journeys.”, she says. “It is great to be part of the The Hague Innovators Challenge 2022 and contribute to the startup ecosystem in The Hague”, says Noortje. In early 2023, Unknown will open their innovation hub ‘Titaan’ in the Binckhorst, dedicated to startups and scale-ups that are contributing to a better world. We will welcome the impact entrepreneurs at our campus and support them to scale their solutions.”

David de Heus | Analyst at 4impact

David de Heus works as an Analyst for 4impact, the investment fund from The Hague that invests in tech4good startups. As 4impact invests in companies that make a positive impact within the pillars of Inclusion, Health & Wellbeing, and Environment, they contribute to 10 of the SDG’s. As an Analyst, David’s work involves scouting impact companies that fit 4impact’s mandate, and assessing whether they’re worth an investment. Also, 4impact is based in Apollo14, one of ImpactCity’s impact hubs. 

Dyon Veenboer | Account Manager SME – Startups & Scale-ups at Rabobank

Dyon Veenboer works as an Account Manager SME at Rabobank and focuses his work on startups and scale-ups. “As a startup & scale-up banker you encounter the most tremendous ideas. All of it driven by change, driven to make the world a better place. As an advisor for the Rabobank this is exactly what we try to achieve. By sharing knowledge, network and providing funds, I personally strive to collaborate with new entrepreneurs in order to make the necessary impact.”

Mirjam Niessen | Investment Principle at DOEN Participaties

DOEN Participaties is the social investment company of the DOEN Foundation. Over the past 25 years, DOEN Participaties has grown into the largest impact investor in sustainable and social startups in the Netherlands. Mirjam is an investment professional with more than 15 year international experience in the investment and financial sector. “Having served on various Investment Committees, Boards and Advisory committees, since 2020 I take pride in finding and supporting entrepreneurs/ startups to make a real change; accelerating transitions with money!”

Irene Samwel | Sr. Account Manager at ImpactCity

As sr. accountmanager Irene Samwel talks to many impact entrepreneurs on a day-to-day basis and helps them to further scale their business. Irene is doing this, among other things, by linking them to relevant parties from the ecosystem. “Impact entrepreneurs that are ‘doing good and doing business’ make my heart beat faster! As I am also responsible for partnerships, I constantly search for relevant connections between these entrepreneurs and the partners from the ImpactCity ecosystem”, says Irene.

Announcement of the finalists

The Hague Innovators finalists will be announced on September 9. After the announcement, a 10-week course starts for the selected participants during which they can get started with their ideas and develop them further. They receive training from professionals to eventually pitch their idea and business plan during the finals of the challenge, taking place at ImpactFest.

Want to stay up to date?

Click on the button on the right for more information about the Hague Innovators Challenge and follow us via our social media channels in the coming period. For questions about the challenge, please email