Amsterdam to invest in becoming world-class startup hub
The Netherlands enjoys a solid reputation in the field of technology innovation. Due in a large part to the strength and dynamism of its ICT sector, the country placed fifth on the Global Innovation Index for 2014. The same year, 42 Dutch firms earned coveted places on Deloitte Technology’s "Fast 500" list for the EMEA region.
Now, the Dutch Ministry of Economic affairs, under the leadership of Alderperson for Economic Affairs, Katja Ollongren (D66), and supported by a network of politicians, educational institutions, and new and established companies, is looking to maximise the potential of creative startups to contribute positively to the country’s economic growth.
On par with London and Berlin?
The city of Amsterdam is preparing to launch a new multi-million euro project called StartupAmsterdam, with the aim of transforming the region into a leading, highly competitive technology hotspot.
Getting there will require not only attracting more startups to the Amsterdam region, but also ensuring they are fully equipped for success.
Currently, analysts fear there are too few employees with the right skills - both entrepreneurial and technical - to meet the needs of a burgeoning sector. They are keen to find ways to encourage new firms to reach out, both within the Netherlands and internationally, for new talent, expertise and capital.
Another project already launched by the ministry, Startup Delta, will tie into the new initiative, as it encourages productive cooperation between key innovation centres around the Netherlands.
The project will also take advantage of some recent changes to Dutch labour law, which allow foreign entrepreneurs to apply for temporary Dutch residency via the startup visa.
Gearing up for growth
Under StartupAmsterdam, the city will invest heavily in the technology sector, mobilising a wide variety of resources to attract capital and high-level personnel.
StartupAmsterdam will involve a number of public engagement initiatives. These will include an online portal with information on regional startups, specialized recruitment services for companies, and courses on coding at public educational institutions.
Meanwhile, project partners will push for the inclusion of coding in primary and secondary school curricula - and not merely as an elective, but as a core subject on the level of math and reading.
The project launch is set to include high-profile international events such as Disrupt TechCrunch, Wearable Wednesday and Maker Faire.