2020 has been quite the year, hasn’t it?

We want to thank you all for sticking with us in what has proven to be quite a journey with a lot of last-minute changes, new innovations and key learnings for all of us.

Looking back, we realise that we’ve finished the year having developed some serious webinar skills, a new-found knowledge of hosting hybrid events and a deeper appreciation of partnerships and community. Like many people and companies, we’ve also realised and accepted that there is only so much we can plan, and sometimes we just need to roll with the punches. 

Let’s take a look back, shall we? 

The year started strong with an open call for our SEIF Awards Tech for Impact and a record number of applications – 365! Our Impact Academy coaching program also kicked-off in the spring with 31 motivated coaching pairs. Before Europe’s reaction to COVID, we managed to take a train to Paris for the ChangeNow summit where we met a lot of inspiring and like-minded change makers.

This year, we also founded SEIF invest to take the next step in the area of impact investing, leveraging the existing SEIF pipeline and European network. The incorporation of impact pre due diligence and due diligence is a necessary and a key component to our impact investing process.  

 The pandemic caused us to get creative quickly and move all of our programs online. Although it was a completely different experience, it was still really amazing to celebrate the 2020 SEIF Award winners and finalists at the virtual ceremony – with 400+ participants! You can learn more about the award winners  – OxaraCare to TranslateCarbo Culture,  DePoly and Green-Y in our quick video recap. Additionally, the Impact Academy Spring cycle was the first to be conducted fully online. Even though it wasn’t everyone’s first choice, we still found it a success with high satisfaction rates and ten very strong pitches at the closing event, with Farmbetter coming out the winner for the best pitch. 

I was guided to create financial projections for the next 5 years of my company, which opened up many insights on what I would need to focus on now, what the intermediate priorities were, and how to use information revealed to better pitch investors and stakeholders. 

Regine P Zamor, WasteWorks, Impact Academy Spring 2020 Alumni

While we were all embracing digital solutions, we also released another publication – Building the Tech for Impact Ecosystem, consisting of expert insights from the Swiss and European ecosystem.

“If we want to strengthen the Tech for Impact ecosystem in Switzerland, we need strong networking, cooperation and collaboration activities between science, the private sector, the public sector and investors, these are the pre-conditions to accelerate the development of Tech for Impact startups.” 

Prof. Mariana Christen Jakob Founder and Managing Partner SEIF innovation, Co-Founder SEIF invest 

COVID-19 made it more difficult to participate in our normal number of events, but despite this we managed to serve as jury members on 11 different occasions.

Additionally,  SEIF Managing Partners Sarah Linder and Aimée van der Wolde attended the Female Innovation Forum as keynote speakers, and gave insights on trends in impact investing. It was inspiring to see so many other successful and driven women in the room. 

We really enjoyed organising the first Tech for Impact Day in Switzerland to foster collaboration and explore the potential between industry leaders and innovative tech startups, emphasising the power of strong partnerships.  

The potential of Tech for Impact and mutual benefit of partnerships for both impact startups and corporates is enormous, as became clear more than once during the SEIF Tech for Impact Day 2020. Let’s work together for a more sustainable future!

Aimée van der Wolde, Managing Partner SEIF innovation 

Partnerships were a key topic this year and very relevant for our successful accelerator program in collaboration with Samsung and Bluelion – Samsung for Impact. This program showcased startups tackling challenges in the ageing society and was completed with a night of exciting pitches. It was particularly interesting to actually test out and use the innovative technologies after the pitches.

We are continually developing our impact management assessments and offerings, and are proud to have been part of Bühler Group’s global Innovation Challenge 2020 at the end of this year. Part of this collaboration involved the application of our Impact Assessment Framework. We see a large potential in integrating impact into the innovation development of larger organizations in order to accelerate their contribution towards the 17 SDGs.

Our team has also grown this year. We were supported by Dino and Maria, and have welcomed Luca, Amanda and Alessandro.

We are thankful to have had such a successful year, with strong programs that continue to support impact startups and new ones that are in development. Thank you to all of our partners for making this work possible, our impact startups for changing the world, and our network for building this strong community with us.

Despite the difficulties of meeting in person, we are really excited about several new partnerships and projects that are in the pipeline for 2021. Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date with our latest programs.

On a final note, we are thankful that we all have access to the necessary resources during a pandemic, when so many people do not. We hope this holiday season that you can reflect on what you are grateful for and how you can help others in need.