The 2018 edition of the The Hague Innovators Challenge has been in full swing. Nine nominees are in the running to become 2018 The Hague Innovator. Our professional jury is getting ready to have a look at their plans and will announce the brand new The Hague Innovators on Big Improvement Day on the 16th of January. We checked in with the jury members to hear their thoughts on the innovation lab.
“The City of The Hague has a vested interest in cultivating a thriving startup ecosystem. Existing businesses and corporations demand it. What’s more, the new generation of innovative entrepreneurs simply leave the city or don’t settle here if we don’t offer it,” jury member Erik van der Rijt, head of the City of The Hague’s urban economy department, explains. “That’s why the city invests extensively in creating an excellent business environment. The The Hague Innovators Challenge is part of this pursuit.”
He adds, “It is a great honor to contribute to translating The Hague’s unique DNA as international city of peace and justice into meaningful economic opportunities. The Hague has a great story to tell. For over a hundred years, people here have been working on innovations for a better world. The union of doing business and doing good is unprecedented in The Hague.”
“Competitions such as this one offer a great way to drive societal innovation and sustainability” – Milou Posthumus, community manager at Voor de Wereld van Morgen
The The Hague Innovators Challenge offers young entrepreneurs room to experiment and grow. Jury member Hans Dreijklufft, investment manager at UNIIQ, shares, “I am always in awe about the enormous potential for innovation that is at hand in the City of The Hague. I take great pleasure in being exposed to all of these inspiring new ideas,” he says.
Jury member Milou Posthumus, community manager at Voor de Wereld van Morgen, pitches in, “Competitions such as this one offer a great way to drive societal innovation and sustainability. Prize money, training and publicity are able to significantly boost the types of initiatives that we’re seeing in the The Hague Innovators Challenge.”
“Due to my background in sustainability, I will pay particular attention this element in the nominees’ proposals,” she says. “In addition, it is essential that nominees have what it takes to develop a solid business case. Have they thought about scalability, have they done proper market research, and how does their idea impact the city’s residents?”
“I look forward to being persuaded by the entrepreneurs’ passion for their cause” – Erik van der Rijt, head of the City of The Hague’s urban economy department
Erik joins in, “Indeed, nominees should demonstrate a solid financial business case in support of their product. What’s more, I look forward to being persuaded by the entrepreneurs’ passion for their cause. Entrepreneurs that are able to tick both of these boxes are the ones that are able to distinguish themselves and demonstrate growth.”
Hans volunteers his extensive professional experience, “At UNIIQ, we meet several hundreds innovative entrepreneurs each year. Competition is fierce as we only invest in a limited number of their ideas. In my experience, it helps tremendously if entrepreneurs have been exposed to an audience prior to knocking on our door, if they have been able to use prize money to further develop their concept, and if they’ve been able to test the market.”
Four prizes are available for the contestants: a first prize of €30,000, a second prize of €20,000, a student prize of €10,000, and the public prize of €5,000 that is determined by public vote. Selection is based on five criteria: the proposal should contribute to solving a global challenge, it should demonstrate a healthy business model, the concept should be innovative in comparison, it should be feasible and scalable, and it should contribute to the The Hague ‘impact economy’.
Voting for the public prize of €5,000 has started. Which of the nine nominees would you want to receive funding to continue development of their concept? Cast your vote now. Interested to stay up-to-date? Hurry back here to hear the latest on the 2018 The Hague Innovators Challenge.