Social Business News

Enviu co-organizes the first Dutch social innovation mission to San Fran & SOCAP

One year ago, Enviu opened its USA office in San Francisco. The launch party took place on the sidelines of SOCAP (Social Capital Market Conference), the largest annual social impact conference in the world. And buckle up, because this year, we are further strengthening the San Francisco – Netherlands impact bridge. Next week is the first ever, international trade mission of a Dutch group of social enterprises. And our first stop is San Francisco.

Together with the Dutch consulate in San Francisco, Netherlands Enterprise Agency, the Dutch national network Social Enterprise NL, and Holland’s largest independent impact fund Social Impact Ventures, we bring 11 leading Dutch social enterprises to the San Francisco Bay Area and SOCAP17. The group includes Fairphone, Tony’s Chocolonely, Moyee Coffee, Land Life Company, GoodUp, The Dutch Weed Burger, The Social Medwork, Stichting Dif Media, and three companies founded by Enviu: Energy Floors, People’s Pension Holding, and Reflow.

SOCAP is an annual event in San Francisco where thousands of impact investors, world-class social entrepreneurs, and innovative cross-sector practitioners come together, dedicated to increasing the flow of capital towards social good. The Dutch are frontrunners in the world of social enterprises, and have to be there.

This was last year, SOCAP16. Looks like a blast! (Photo taken from SOCAP’s website)

“Because our ambitions are global, we decided about 2 years ago that presence in the San Francisco Bay Area, a social impact hotspot, would accelerate our impact,” explains Luan Nio, Country Director USA. “It is a win-win. We bring Dutch pragmatism and social values to the table, and can tap into the Silicon Valley mindset of entrepreneurialism and innovation.”

The rise of the social impact ecosystem in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is one of the fastest growing social impact systems worldwide. Considering 10 years ago the business climate for social entrepreneurs was almost non-existent. In five years time, there are about 4,000 social enterprises whose turnover has grown with 75% to 3,5 billion Euros. This means they are responsible for an impressive 3% of the Dutch economy’s GDP growth during this time period!

Within this social enterprise eco-system, Enviu has been a pioneer. For 14 years we have been at the heart of driving the Dutch system to be fertile ground for social start-ups to launch. By launching ventures, we have not only addressed issues, but also activated and connected a valuable network of entrepreneurs, investors, and governments. We proved to the Netherlands that social entrepreneurship is possible, and attractive.

Energy Floors was the first company Enviu founded. They started with sustainable dance-floors that turned dance moves into energy!

Together is more!

And we want to prove it to the rest of the world! There are a lot of valuable lessons learned and experiences to be shared. During SOCAP17 there will be a session on the unique developments of the Dutch social enterprise ecosystem and its adaptability to other environments such as the United States.

“There are major challenges for the future, human rights violations and climate change for instance. Social enterprises, NGOs and government in the Netherlands work together to find innovative solutions for these challenges,” explains Gerbert Kunst, the Dutch Consul General in San Francisco. “I hope this visit leads to a stronger partnership with American businesses and organizations, to contribute to the development of the US social enterprise ecosystem. And more importantly, to work together towards a more sustainable planet.

One of the main goals of the trade mission is to exchange knowledge. This is key, because the ultimate goal for all of us is to create massive positive impact, and this can only happen if we work together! Together is more!

See you there?

So, happen to be near San Francisco and want to know more about or join us in creating an inclusive economy that serves people and planet? On Wednesday the 11th of October there is a session at SOCAP about the Dutch social impact ecosystem, with our very own Stef as panelist. Later that day we are hosting a networking gathering with drinks and pitches by the participating companies. For details visit It would be awesome to see you there!

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Get in touch with

Luan Nio

Country Director Enviu USA

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