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Get ready to apply:Calling on startups to help tackle The Hague’s urban challenges

Creativity Entrepreneurship Startups

The Hague’s Startup in Residence program launched today. The City of The Hague calls on ambitious entrepreneurs to come up with fresh and inspiring answers to some of the city’s challenges. The eight challenges that figure prominently in this year’s edition of the program were presented today at the Campfire Session of The Hague-based startup accelerator and program partner World Startup Factory.

The challenges range from the encouragement of sustainable rooftops to creating more liveliness in the city’s Beatrixkwartier, and from increasing the accessibility of Scheveningen during the annual fireworks festival to the encouragement of energy saving among local homeowners.

A professional jury will select a series of startups to participate in the program. The winning startups will receive seed money of 7,500 Euros to develop a first prototype of their idea. Additionally, the startups will participate in a 4-month training and coaching track, in collaboration with program partner World Startup Factory. Ultimately, all prototypes will be judged on their merits. The selected prototypes will receive further municipal funding and will be co-developed into a pilot project.

Altogether new solutions

Startup in Residence is a proven concept from Silicon Valley, which was adopted by the City of The Hague last year. The program is inspired by the notion that startups are perfectly positioned to come up with altogether new solutions to the problems the city faces.

“The past decennia have demonstrated that it’s small enterprises in particular that are able to bring real innovation to existing and altogether new business domains. The resourcefulness and versatility that these companies bring pave the way for increased employment and productivity,” Anna Menenti, policy adviser and startup program manager at the Municipality of The Hague, explains. “What’s more, the products and services that these types of companies offer are able to tackle complex societal issues related to healthcare and the overall aging of the population.”

Out-of-the-box ideas

That’s why the City of The Hague invests firmly in its startup program that goes by the title of “Impact Economy”. The program aims to optimize the city’s business environment for startups. It awards special attention to advancing startup’s access to talent, expertise, and space. “The Hague is known for its long history of addressing global challenges. By way of our Impact Economy program, we continue to build on this by doing business while doing good, on a local as well as a global scale,” Anna Menenti adds.

From the perspective of the municipality, The Hague’s Startup in Residence program works two ways. “Economic success and societal impact join hands in the city’s Impact Economy program,” The Hague Deputy Mayor Karsten Klein emphasizes. “As a city, we aspire to offer entrepreneurs the best possible environment for experimentation and innovation. By way of this program, issues related to security, justice and water management are being addressed locally. We’re looking forward to being pleasantly surprised by startups and their out-of-the-box ideas.”

Adopting new outlooks

“We can’t wait to welcome another bunch of amazing entrepreneurs that are eager to work on concrete challenges in our impact city,” Gerrit Jan van ‘t Veen, co-founder at World Startup Factory adds. “It takes passion, endurance and a complementary team with impressive skills and capacities to succeed as a startup. It’s exciting for us, and our network of experts and mentors, to collaborate with such an eager and competitive group.”

Ultimately, the municipality hopes to open up its system of public tendering to startups. “We’re eager to make an effort to bring in young entrepreneurs,” Deputy Mayor Karsten Klein adds, “their fresh ideas and perspectives can help us to adopt a new outlook on our work.”

The deadline for application in the program is 30 May. For more information about the program, its process, and application guidelines, have a look at the website.