Impact Hub: Our policy approach
At Impact Hub, we are committed to accelerating global impact through collaboration, innovation, and inclusivity. Our mission is to build locally rooted and globally connected entrepreneurial communities for impact at scale. Our 110 communities are diverse yet they all need an enabling environment of supportive regulatory frameworks, inclusive economic development initiatives, stronger social and environmental sustainability standards, and a brave impact funding environment. We advocate for policies that support these conditions and encourage cross-sector collaborations to address the complex social and environmental challenges we all face.
Accelerating global change through collaboration and innovation
In the face of ever-disruptive social, economic, technological and environmental developments, the public sector needs to seek fresh and innovative approaches to drive positive change and engage citizens. Impact Hub, with its access to over 25,000 impact-driven entrepreneurial solutions across 65 countries, offers a beacon of practicality, innovation and inclusivity in supporting policymakers in the positive transformation of the societies they serve. This article delves into Impact Hub’s policy approach, highlighting its goals, and applied practices to illustrate how we work with policy makers in our communities worldwide.
Cultivating impact enterprises and cross-sector collaborations
Impact Hub operates on two primary fronts: nurturing impact enterprises that innovate and scale solutions while generating inclusive employment, and convening large-scale cross-sector collaborations aimed at mainstreaming these solutions. These complementary pillars leverage Impact Hub’s extensive network of over 100 communities across the globe to accelerate learning across diverse realities.
Impact enterprises refer to SMEs (small-medium enterprises), SGBs (small growing businesses) and micro enterprises operating at the crossroads of entrepreneurship and social and/or environmental impact. They have an impact-first commitment, seek a sustainable business model and inclusive practices in their organisations. To date, our community has reached over 25,000 such impact-driven enterprises.
At the heart of Impact Hub’s approach in enabling supportive policy frameworks for the creation and growth of such impact enterprises is the engagement of various ecosystem players – including policymakers, municipalities, corporate entities, civil society, philanthropic organisations, financial institutions, and intermediaries. We create spaces and formats that encourage radical collaboration between these actors and impact entrepreneurs, to build a sense of shared purpose and drive collaborative action on systemic issues. The Impact Hub approach supports the development of entrepreneurial ecosystems that are responsive to the needs of impact entrepreneurs.
Moreover, we seek to ensure the ecosystem remains focused on inclusivity, seeking a post-industrial paradigm that emphasises innovation of governance, ownership and business models that prioritise people and the planet. And finally, we fuel the process of policy development, with the power of innovative new solutions, data insights and relevant benchmarks from around the world.
Leveraging our unique worldwide outreach and large community of entrepreneurs
Impact Hub demonstrates the importance of local relevance and global connectivity. The global network inspires local ecosystems with the latest innovations while connecting them to a broader international context.
This dual approach builds trust among ecosystem players, enabling bolder and more effective collaborations. It ensures that innovation is deeply embedded in local contexts and also understood for its potential to scale globally. Our Impact Hubs place particular emphasis on reaching and enabling under-represented and under-invested entrepreneurs. This focus is crucial for fostering a new economy that is inclusive, authentic – and more creative.
Based on this, Impact Hub seeks to work with policymakers to catalyse the transition to an economy fuelled by impact enterprises (the impact economy) through:
- Convening collaborations: bringing together diverse stakeholders in participatory ways, fostering strategic collaborations and thematic ecosystem building towards bolder collective social and environmental outcomes, whilst leveraging our local and international embeddedness.
- Providing impact insights and research: capturing and sharing impact insights through action research, ecosystem mapping, and collaborative communication campaigns, leveraging our unique worldwide outreach and large community of entreprenerus and partners on a variety of topics (incl. food, circularity, packaging etc.)
- Co-creating programmes: using insights from our communities to co-create with policymakers and the public sector bespoke and thematic programmes, such as those aimed at accelerating women entrepreneurs, enabling migrants’ economic participation, advancing circular solutions and more.
- Learning and policy development support: convening experts and providing direct expert consulting from across the world to help policymakers understand trends, approaches and solutions that can inform their local policy development process.
What is most needed from policymakers is to be partners in creating the conditions for the impact economy to thrive. Supportive regulatory frameworks, inclusive economic development initiatives, and stronger social and environmental sustainability standards can set a stronger playing field for the emergence of relevant solutions that drive solutions that business-as-usual is not. To propel the right solutions forward, brave impact funders – private and/or public – are needed; those who are willing to take risks, who make capital affordable and who bring patient but catalytic capital in support of systemic change.
Impact Hub’s work is grounded in real-world initiatives and draws from our learning across local contexts. Here are some examples of our work that can inspire and support policymakers, and potentially be replicated in other contexts:
Building a City Ecosystem for Impact – Impact Hub and City in partnership
Guide to Gender Lens Acceleration – In collaboration with INCAE Business School
Impact Hub Iberia Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Index – Understanding entrepreneurial ecosystem vitality and driving their growth
Impact Hub Phnom Penh Future Lab Fellowship – Collective learning in Cambodia
Mapping Migrant and Refugee Entrepreneurial Ecosystems – Report produced by Impact Hub with support from The Human Safety Net
OECD Peer-learning Partnership – Internationalisation with feminist principles
Social Enterprise National Roadmap for Jordan – Policy change through ecosystem convening
SoTecIn – Advancing sustainability through new approaches to value-chain innovation
Journey towards a greener Austria – Climate Lab, powered by Impact Hub Vienna
Join the movement
We seek to more actively engage with regional, and local governments, national governments, multilateral organisations, city networks and other public sector actors to create better conditions for fostering impact entrepreneurship.
We understand that the realisation of such changes depends on the political and economic context of each city/region/country and does not happen overnight. In a world of fragmentation, socio-economic stress and polarisation, we call on those public sector decision-makers who are working towards more collaboration, inclusivity, and sustainable impact. Together, we can turn ambition into action and make our vision a reality in communities around the world.
Tatiana Glad is Executive Director of the Impact Hub Network and co-founder of Impact Hub Amsterdam. Gabriela Gandel is Director on the Impact Hub Association Board and Chair of the Impact Hub Policy task force.
Impact Hub is one of the world’s largest networks focused on building entrepreneurial communities for impact at scale — home to the innovators, the dreamers and the entrepreneurs who are creating tangible solutions to the world’s most pressing issues.
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