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Minouche Cramer, Startup in Residence Amsterdam

Entrepreneurship Smart city Social innovation Startup in residence Startups

Minouche Cramer
Programme Manager Startup in Residence Amsterdam
Startup Officer City of Amsterdam

Minouche Cramer

Not only the municipality of The Hague started looking for creative concepts to tackle a number of problems  in the city, Amsterdam did so too. The program started in 2015 and concluded this year. This year the second edition of the program wil start. We asked Minouche Cramer, Startup Officer for the City of Amsterdam and Programme Manager Startup in Residence Amsterdam, what the most important lessons learned are from the first edition.

Startup in Residence Amsterdam

“Last April, we’ve concluded the first Startup in Residence programme, very successfully. On demo day, lots of different parties came to watch the pitches to see what the different startups had achieved during those 5 months. We’ve received numerous enthusiastic reactions. Now we are busy preparing the next edition of the programme, which is due to start in November.”


Lessons learned

“The first programme, which started a year ago, was a pilot and it taught us a lot. It took us six months to go from a concept to full blown programme. Then came five months of hard work with the startups. We evaluated the pilot in depth with stakeholders inside and outside the municipality and with the startups. All that input was incorporated in the new programme.

“Of the most important lessons we learned, commissioning within the municipality is one of the areas we can address.”

Language barrier

“Startups and civil servants use a different jargon, including definitions when it comes to pilots and validation.”

We want to remove this language barrier in the next programme and bring the startups and civil servants closer together by eliminating the differences at an early stage by training. One way of doing this is to provide civil servants in the municipality with training about startup methods.”


“A lot can be accomplished in five months, but that requires sufficient resources. In Startup in Residence 2.0 we provide those resources, but we are also ensuring a more structured mentor system in which lead mentors play an important role. We strive to provide a pool of knowledge and expertise which monitors the progress of the startups during the process.”


“The municipality responded enthusiastically to the programme and was very open to working with other parties. Also with small parties to help them progress and to facilitate pilots in the city.”

Overwhelming response

“The response on the request for tender was overwhelming. We received 85 applications. We selected seven, and these seven got to work on six issues. That was possible because one was a complex issue where one startup had more of a technological approach, while another tackled the concept from a more behavioural change angle.”

Six of the ten issues addressed

“Four issues proved a too complex propositioning or did not match the proposed solution of the applicants. The main starting point for our selection was that the entry had to be high quality. This can be at the expense of the original number of issues that were available.”

Shift to the creation of social value

“The response of the startups themselves to the programme was very positive. What they found really interesting was: often startup programmes are about money and investments. With Startup in Residence, it’s about adding something to the city. And they are very committed to the city. They want to improve something for the residents or the municipality. Startup in Residence allows them to do that and to test the product with the residents themselves. That’s an amazing opportunity.”

Good startup climate

The startup climate in Amsterdam is fantastic.

“That’s reflected in the fact that every day new startups are founded here. There’s also great incentive through programmes like Startup Amsterdam, for example. Many parties in the city want to make the climate possible.”

What’s new?

“The second programme challenges startups once again to tackle twelve issues in the city. That’s twelve different challenges than last year.” Plus we have added a wildcard, for startups who solve a social issue we didn’t put in the programme.”

Advice to Startup in Residence The Hague

Minouche has some advice for the city of The Hague:

“Make sure that all the issues have an owner within the municipality, so that a solution can really be implemented.”

And to startups: “The municipal organisation can sometimes work quite slowly. Don’t get discouraged or be put off and try to find a way along which you can move smoothly.”

One Startup in Residence

“The San Francisco ‘Entrepreneurship in Residence’ programme was an example for our programme. The nice thing is that their programme is now called Startup in Residence too. We further developed the programme with the elements taken from the American programme.

It would be wonderful if Startup in Residence becomes an umbrella format which would mean that all the programmes can learn from each other and take things further.”


“Five startups are now busy testing and validating their product in the city. This will be followed by implementation. The products are intended for the residents. Testing is therefore always linked to the residents. Their feedback is the most important for the startups.”


An initial highlight for me was the group dynamics with the startups. How they related to each other as a group and with us. Another highlight was that so many partners are involved in Amsterdam.

“Big businesses, small businesses, self-employed entrepreneurs, they all want to contribute to the success. It’s been great to see the enthusiasm with which it was received.”

What’s next

Very soon, Amsterdam will start looking for startups to address twelve social issues. Keep watching the website!

Read more:

Read also Minouche’s blog on

Interested in which startups were selected to take part in Startup in Residence Amsterdam? Visit, where they all introduce themselves in a video clip.