On April 19th the Startup Delta Summit took place in Arnhem. The biggest annual event for startups, scale-ups, corporates, investors, innovation hubs and governments. Here, connections are made within the Dutch Startup ecosystem. More than 1800 visitors opted for Industriepark Kleefse Waard on the hottest day of this year. ImpactCity, the Hague Startup community was well represented and gave insight into the Startup in Residence the Hague program.
The Summit was opened by Constantijn van Oranje, Special Envoy Startup Delta, and Vivianne Bendermacher founder of Techionista. Mona Keijzer, State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate, continued with an outline of the innovation ecosystem of the Netherlands. She explained how large and small companies can find each other in the various sessions on improving infrastructure, attracting capital and finding talent. “Small companies can not do without big companies and big companies certainly can not do without small companies”.
The right tone was set. She pressed the red button convincingly, and the fireworks went off.
Dane Stangler, Chief Policy Officer of Startup Genome, presented the findings of the StartupGenome report of the start up ecosystem in which the Netherlands came to position 19 worldwide. Dane Stangler explained the great opportunities for the Netherlands. He emphasized the availability of talent for startups. The challenge is to attract founders of companies and talent, including those from other parts of the world. In the area of financing, he argued for a new mindset for the early phase financing: “it’s ok if bad startups receive funding, it’s ok”. In addition,a tax-friendly measure to attract new talent to entrepreneurs would also be a great opportunity for the Dutch economy.
Ambitions for the future
Startup Delta special envoy Constantine van Oranje was asked on the main stage. He indicated that a strong ecosystem is important for our future, in order to remain competitive. Constantijn asked the audience:
“Are we satisfied with the 19th position?”
“Do we want to be number one?”
“Is that our goal? No, of course not!”
“It is about our future and that is why we are talking about the future makers of today”. It is nice to have possession of the ball, Constantine indicated, but it is all about scoring. “We can lose 5-0 in the Netherlands and be proud that we had 60% ball possession”. In what way are we going to score? There is a lot of work in the Netherlands and many have a piece of the puzzle.
In the whole country people have voted for the top 50 future makers: people who make a fundamental contribution to building the Dutch start-up ecosystem. Constantine invited them on stage: “The floor is yours!”
Startup in Residence the Hague
The Startup in Residence the Hague program, part of the startup program Impact Economy, explained the 10 urban challenges. With these challenges the program challenges Startups to provide new solutions for social issues. This resulted in learning sessions between startups and governments. RVO presented briefly what instruments now exist from the government to cooperate with startups. Startup in Residence Amsterdam and The Hague discussed in detail the innovative tendering process from the program. The session ended with the call to startups to jointly improve these programs and provide the necessary input for this.
Startup knowledge exchange between governments
Subsequently, a session was organized for authorities that want to increase their cooperation with startups. What is the level of collaboration now and what can be improved? There is already cooperation with startups, but there are still some challenges in this. Some parties are against tendering rules, other governments do not always know which instruments all exist. The panel discussion showed that cooperation between large (government) and small companies (startups) also involves behavioral change. The first effects of Startup in Residence were only visible after three years in Amsterdam and The Hague. So, it is a process with a long breath. Sharing knowledge on this accelerates this process. There is already a lot of experience among the authorities, and different actions have been made to make this knowledge more transparent for all groups. An example is the innovatiekoffer, where knowledge between governments is exchanged.
The government offers opportunities
State Secretary Raymond Knops concluded the session by emphasizing that working with government startups offers great opportunities. “It is important to facilitate this group and thus develop entrepreneurship.” This means that the government itself has to take clear steps, in which he and the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations want to be an example. “We need to give good elements of innovation a place where mistakes can be made and results can be achieved”.