Last Wednesday, Neelie Kroes visited Utrecht in order to see what the local startup scene has to offer. This was the moment to shine for one of Holland Startups' entrepreneurs who was selected to pitch his MVP to the Utrecht startup community.
Having been a European Commissioner for the last 10 years fostering a more open digital Europe including equal Internet access and abandoning roaming fees, it is time for the next step for Neelie Kroes. Turning 74 this July, retirement does not seem to be on the agenda for this hard-working women. Announced last winter, the next step is actually a new role that she will keep until Summer 2016. As covered by international startup news, Neelie Kroes is the special envoy for a Startup Ecosystem in the Netherlands by leading StartupDelta, head-quartered in Amsterdam. Titled the „West Coast of Europe“, the purpose of this initiative is to create a fertile ground for existing startups to grow, while it puts the Netherlands on the map for external startup talent.
While StartupDelta focuses on the national collaboration and stimulation of innovation, StartupUtrecht was founded to nurture the local startup scene in Utrecht. Since both initiatives share common ground, Neelie Kroes decided to pay Utrecht a visit. That is why this Wednesday, UtrechtInc (the startup incubator of Utrecht University) hosted all StartupUtrecht founders, Neelie Kroes and Sigrid Johanisse, the Director of StartupDelta. This full-day event was build around the showcasting of Utrecht's finest startup talent and additionally to sign a letter of agreement between the collaborating parties.
Proud Member of Holland Startup
Heiko Packeiser, an entrepreneur in residence at Holland Startup, currently works on 'decoding any medical condition known to mankind' with his startup Sacoidoises.me. He was one of the privileged nine startups who were allowed to pitch and demonstrate their ideas directly to Neelie Kroes and Sigrid Johanisse. The hard work preparing for this day paid off: Heiko delivered an inspiring pitch that was beyond anyone's expectations. Not only Neelie seemed impressed by his research, but she was already considering how to scale Holland Startup to other Dutch cities. In the end, the name says it all: Holland Startup.
The Dutch Startup Ecosystem
After a typical Dutch lunch with sandwiches delivered from Bigoli (some claim they make the best in Utrecht), the second part of the day, was in the light of presentations and discussions. Following a heart-warming welcome speech by the mayor of Utrecht, Jan van Zanen, the discussion about the Dutch Startup Ecosystem was lead by him and Neelie Kroes. StartupDelta director Sigrid Johanisse took over the stage to inform the crowd at the Utrecht Science Park about the next phase to make the Dutch startup market one of the top three Europe-wide. Closing this successful day with a network 'borrel' included some of Netherlands finest finger food options, such as bitterballen and kaassouffle.