Astrid Kaag is senior policy advisor International Affairs for the regional government of Noord-Brabant (NL) on the topic of socio-economic transformation. This transformation is about all actions of stakeholders that contribute to the recovering of balance between people, planet, profit: varying from grass roots’ initiatives to corporate businesses doing business for the greater good. Important change makers in this movement are social entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs invest in contributing to societal issues; their business is not primarily aimed at making a (monetary) profit but about creating positive societal and ecological impact.
Astrid sees that government bodies have a responsibility in this transformation. Not only in stimulating and facilitating this movement, but also because government authorities can learn from it: social entrepreneurs show us that it is possible to find tangible and innovative solutions to our societal issues.
In this challenging process different stakeholders are needed, with various backgrounds and perspectives on different levels: local, regional, European and global. In order to achieve a sustainable learning attitude of all stakeholders in this process, Astrid uses her training and education as a certified system coach. Her special interest in (eco)systems is also reflected in her background as an ecologist.
One of the things Astrid did to take concrete action, is to initiate the Brabant Outcomes Fund (BOF): a public-private fund to scale enterprises that create positive impact on both people, planet and profit. The BOF is inspired by the methodology of social impact bonds and outcomes funds but slightly different, like financial savings are not the main goal and it focuses on the validation and stimulation of multiple (social, ecological and economic) value and both quantitative and qualitative impacts. Currently Astrid is working on the second investment-round of the BOF with a focus on circularity & sustainability, care & digitalization, nature & food and happy, healthy citizens.
Astrid uses her experience and skills to work on what she strongly believes in: the power of a global learning economy, so as to achieve equal opportunities for all, no matter where you live.