The city of The Hague made its debut in the Digital City Index this year, entering at #32 for overall city ranking. The Digital City Index describes how well different European cities support digital entrepreneurship. For start-ups and scale-ups, it provides vital information about the strengths and weaknesses of local ecosystems.
What matters to digital start-ups and scale-ups
The index is comprised of a number of composite indicators, clustered into ten conditions that enable start-ups and scale-ups to grow. “The European Digital City Index aims to provide a holistic and local view of what matters to digital start-ups. In our view, it is the most complete description of what impacts digital entrepreneurs on a local level, and how different digital start-up ecosystems compare within Europe,” innovation foundation Nesta, initiator of the index, says.
The City of The Hague is happy to have been included in the index this year. “Naturally, as a public entity, we are always looking to measure the impact of our policies. We work hard to encourage innovative entrepreneurship by continuously improving the ecosystem in the city,” Anna Menenti, policy adviser and program manager at the Municipality of The Hague explains.
“But this is no easy task. Innovative entrepreneurship is fostered by a diversity of factors – some more visible than others. So in order to meaningfully measure our impact, we need instruments that take this diversity of factors into account. The Digital City Index does just that, which is why we are very excited to have been included in the index this year.”
“The city offers a distinctively high quality of life, professionally as well as privately. It is up to us to make sure that this becomes known more widely” – Anna Menenti, policy adviser at the Municipality of The Hague
Room for improvement
“In my day-to-day work, I focus on The Hague’s start-up ecosystem and I try to come to terms with how to make investments in such a way that it benefits the start-up climate as directly as possible,” Anna Menenti elaborates. “For some components of the program, such as the digital and physical infrastructure in The Hague, the effects of the city’s policies are fairly easy to measure. But progress on other components is far more difficult to assess as effects are less condensed and tangible.”
According to Nesta, “the index helps [policy makers aiming to encourage digital entrepreneurship] to identify existing and promising hubs of activity, in order to learn from their practices. Additionally, it allows benchmarking of performance against other European hubs and helps identify which policy areas to prioritize”.
Anna Menenti confirms this: “The index proves to be a great way to expose those elements of the ecosystem that need extra attention. For example, early stage investment and access to venture capital are in need of improvement. The index shows us that we have work to do in this regard”.
A lot to offer
The city of The Hague has a lot to offer to Dutch and international start-ups and scale-ups, but this is not always obvious. “The Hague is not a city that companies and organizations think of immediately. For a large part, this appears to be due to Amsterdam’s international popularity. We have a lot of work to do in terms of The Hague’s exposure,” Anna stresses.
“The Hague is a very accessible, pleasant and peaceful city to work in. The city offers unique networks of valuable parties to collaborate with. It offers the joys of cosmopolitan living and working, while being surprisingly easy on the disadvantages this naturally brings along,” Anna emphasizes. “But The Hague needs more exposure and visibility. The city offers a distinctively high quality of life – professionally as well as privately. It is up to us to make sure that this becomes known more widely.”