Sustainability is hot. However, for entrepreneurs who really want to make a difference, it is no longer a strategic option, but simply a must-happen. Not only because they want the best for the world, but also because they need to survive. And that is only achievable with products that are profitable in the long run. What differs successful Dutch impact entrepreneurs such as Henk Jan Beltman (Tony Chocolonely), Jasper Gabriëlse (Seepje) and Tom van der Lubbe (Viisi) from other entrepreneurs? For the book ‘LiEF – Succesvol ondernemen voor een betere wereld’, my colleague Mandy Kraakman and I spoke with 29 impact entrepreneurs. These are the five lessons I learned.
Be obsessed about making impact
Obsessive behaviour to do the right thing and thus make an impact is one of the things that successful impact entrepreneurs have in common. Most of them already wanted to change the world at a young age. As a youngster, they dared to think critically and question anything that was considered as ‘normal’. This applies to Roebyem Anders (Sungevity), but also to Maurits Groen (Kipster & Wakawaka), Kees Aarts (Protix) and Jaap Korteweg (Vegetarische Slager & Those Vegan Cowboys): sustainability and creating impact are deeply rooted in their DNA. But luckily, such insights and corresponding obsession can strike at a later moment. As proven by Bert van Son (MUD Jeans) and Kees Kruythogg (The Livekindly Co).