Pymwymic Impact Days, Europe’s most creative gathering for impact investors, gathered around 200 attendees from 19 different countries in Amsterdam. This years’ theme was Power of the Community, underlining our collective calling to catalyse more human and strategic capital towards impact and make lasting positive change a reality.

‘I met people with a great sense of commitment to ideas, goals and undertakings that in many ways, despite their diversity, mirrored my own. And was energised by the enthusiasm and positivity that permeated the entire event despite all of us knowing that we were dealing with difficult issues.’

The conference kicked off with the traditional Opening Dinner. Speakers Frank van Beuningen (Pymwymic), Jacqueline Novogratz (Acumen), and Otto Scharmer (MIT) challenged us as impact investors to deploy patient capital, and show moral leadership in these unsettling times. Following this call to action, HRH Princess Laurentien of The Netherlands, brought unexpected and original perspectives of children into the mix. We all enjoyed Lars’ quote:

‘When building bridges, one can also start from the other side’ (Lars, 9)

Following an inspiring dinner, we gathered the next morning to look at Impact Investing from different viewpoints and hear from leaders in the field. Tilman Ehrbeck (Omidyar Network) provided thoughts on the development of the impact investing landscape. With Hans Wijers (Board of Royal Dutch Shell, Heineken, former Minister of Finance of The Netherlands) we stepped out of the ‘Impact Bubble’ and learned how Corporates are navigating towards impact. Kellie Liket (Effective Giving) challenged us to aim for more than ‘some impact’. Ahmad Joudeh, a young ballet dancer from Syria, performed and demonstrated the impact of art.

‘I very much enjoyed the diversity of the program: Looking at impact from a corporate view, a market view, a challenger view and a creative view. It helps me define my own view.’

Pymwymic Impact Days content was structured along three tracks: Business Models for a Healthy Planet; Peer-to-Peer; and Skills & Lenses.

  • In ‘Business Models for a Healthy Planet’, Protix, Inyenyeri, Fair Phone, Original Beans and Land Life Company presented their impact solutions. Complementing the companies towards a full portfolio approach for Healthy Ecosystems, were Triodos Organic Growth Fund and EcoBusiness Fund (Finance in Motion).
  • Investors, Entrepreneurs and Foundations participated in the ‘Peer to Peer’ track, underlining ‘Power of the Community’ by sharing their experiences of moving into impact, and by discussing lessons learned.
  • In ‘Skills & Lenses’ Acumen and D.Capital discussed Impact management in Education, and ABN AMRO elaborated on how to look at business and supply chains through a Human Rights lens. Paula Goldman presented Omidyar Network’s ‘Returns Continuum Framework‘ and led a workshop in applying this framework to our own investments.

To conclude the day, Marilou van Golstein Brouwers (Triodos Investment Management), Uli Grabenwarter (EIF) and two Pymwymic investors reflected on the two conference days and concluded.

‘To create real lasting positive change, we as impact investors need to define our theory of change, the best way of solving a problem – rather than defining a risk/return profile and then find impact investments that fit.’ 

Thank you to all who participated, attendees, speakers, moderators, who made the days what they are designed for: a place for inspiration, sharing and learning – to collaborate in making impact, to show true Power of the Community. A special thank you to a select group of Impact Families, who contributed both human and financial capital. And thanks to our partners Omidyar Network, Blue Haven Initiative, Triodos Investment Management, ABN AMRO and Finance in Motion, without their support we could not host Pymwymic Impact Days.

Remember to mark your calendar for next year: 24 & 25 April 2018