DAM Prize

An example is New Electric, which recently won (Dutch link) the 2016 edition of the DAM Prize, which is awarded annually to the most sustainable small-to-medium enterprise in Amsterdam. New Electric focuses on converting existing vehicles to clean-energy, including the tour boats that sail through the canals of Amsterdam.

“For us, winning this prize is the start of our roll-out, and it will help ensure that the emission-free future of the city happens quickly,” said Anne Kloppenborg, the owner of New Electric.

The award was presented this year by Amsterdam’s alderman for sustainability, Abdeluheb Choho. “We really want to make Amsterdam a sustainable city,” Choho said, “so we need to show business owners that it is profitable, so that others will follow their example.”

Organic cotton and fair smartphones

Another recent winner is Yoni.care, which recently won (Dutch link) the top spot in the MKB Innovatie Top 100 rankings (Dutch link) for small-to-medium enterprises, awarded by the Chamber of Commerce. Yoni makes feminine hygiene products out of organic cotton. Yoni’s products do not use plastic, so they are biodegradable. The ultimate goal is to spend a portion of the profits on projects that support feminine hygiene. Yoni is set to expand from the Netherlands to Belgium, Germany and Great Britain.

A third recent winner is Bas van Abel, the CEO of Amsterdam-based FairPhone, which makes sustainable smartphones. on 30 October 2016, he was named the winner of Germany’s Deutsche Umwelt Prize, worth 250,000 euros. Van Abel was chosen due to his efforts to convince the smartphone industry that it needs to deal carefully with scarce resources. “FairPhone is a pioneer in the transition to sustainability and environmental awareness throughout the industry,” said the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt, the organisation behind the prize.

Amsterdam and social entrepreneurship

A social enterprise is defined as a company whose social impact is more important than the money it earns for shareholders. Amsterdam is at the forefront of this movement and actively contributes to building the social entrepreneurship ecosystem. Recent activities include the Buy Social B2B event (Dutch link), which matched social enterprises with potential customers, and Capital Impact, which aimed at solidifying Amsterdam’s role as the global hub for social enterprises. The city’s Social Enterprise Action Plan 2015-2018 (PDF) has more details on the measures that Amsterdam is taking to create the optimal environment for social entrepreneurship.