The Netherlands is already a great place for international startups to grow. In an environment historically renowned for its social openness and keenness for trade, new ideas and products are treated with curiosity, rather than suspicion or derision. In consequence, the Netherlands has earned its status as a testbed and a launchpad for new businesses — ranking no.1 on the European Digital Forums’ Startup Nation Scoreboard. Its ability to incubate startups is made even more attractive when one considers the country’s geographical and political position in Europe. Once businesses have the funding, infrastructure and success to grow beyond foundational markets in the Netherlands, they are well-positioned to cross into neighbouring territories and establish themselves, boosting intra-EU state trade. In short, the Netherlands has a lot to offer newcomers.
The Main Event(s)
In what may be identified as a bid to further establish the Netherlands as Europe’s own Silicon Valley, Startup Fest Europe has taken the initiative to organise a week-long festival of events aiming to boost entrepreneurship and the startup economy to new heights. Beginning with an opening ceremony boasting speakers such as Tim Cook, CEO of Apple and Co-founder of Uber Travis Kalanick, 30 events will be held in over 13 locations from the 24th to the 28th of May. Most events will focus on a specific theme, such as water technology, agriculture and energy, and aim to catalyse lasting partnerships between startups, investors and other enthusiastic individuals from around the world through networking opportunities and presentations.
Startups for students?
Recognising that a prosperous startup economy relies not only on engendering support to pre-existing startups but a steady stream of new talent as well, Startup Fest Europe hopes to instil enthusiasm for business and innovation in the student community too. For instance, the 24-hour a day ‘campus party’ technology event in Utrecht offers a tantalizing mix of camping, hackathons, Nobel Prize winners and cybersecurity experts. In addition, May 25th’s YES!Delft Students E-Forum on entrepreneurship is set to attract over 1,000 students to the TU Delft Auditorium. It’s difficult to think of a better setting to get the next generation thinking about the future of business and their place in it!
Feest at the fest
A festival wouldn’t be a festival without some top quality music and clunky dance moves. That’s why, when all the inspiring, matchmaking and dealings are done, the Startup & Dance closing party is so appropriate. With world-class DJS and a manic bunch of “techies, angels, innovators, accelerators, founders, co-founders, students, hackers and developers” hitting the dancefloor in unison, it’s bound to be one of the more interesting parties you go to for a while.
How to join in
So, if you think that you’ve got what it takes to be the next Eric Schmidt, or you’re just curious about everything ‘startup’, visit startupfesteurope.com for more information on the event schedule and how to get involved. But don’t dawdle! The deadline for entering Startup Fest’s most prestigious events is closing in fast.