Constantijn van Oranje-Nassau: “Dutch agro-food can do better” | 13 Oct
Is the Netherlands showing enough ambition? We may be displaying a clear focus on knowledge and research, but do we give startups a fighting chance? Constantijn van Oranje-Nassau, Vice President of StartUpDelta’s International Circle of Influencers will discuss the importance of rapid scaling power and smart solutions for startups at the Food Valley Expo on 13 October 2015.
“The Netherlands is an agricultural and food production superpower. If we want to maintain our pole position and continue to grow, we need to change our attitude. We need to stop playing it safe. What we need is capital and clever collaboration,” stresses Van Oranje-Nassau.
Change of attitude
“Other countries appear to have more ambition than we do,” continues Van Oranje-Nassau. “Businesses in Silicon Valley measure their success in billions, while the Netherlands seems happy to settle for a couple of million. The entrepreneurial spirit is different there. People think big and scale up much more quickly. The Netherlands possesses a lot of unique and very valuable knowledge. We need to put it to better use. But that message needs to sink in first,” says Van Oranje-Nassau.
Van Oranje-Nassau believes science should show much greater openness toward startups. Universities ought to actively reward commercialization of inventions and entrepreneurship. The Netherlands needs role models to inspire its young entrepreneurs to scale up their ambitions. Dutch successes need to be put in the spotlight.
StartupDelta also identifies another area where the Netherlands leaves a lot to be desired: its funding and tax environment. “We need much more venture capital to help startups scale up. Pension funds could do more, as could the business community. We need to create an environment that encourages entrepreneurs to invest their money and experience in new businesses. Taxes play a key role in this,” argues Van Oranje-Nassau.
The Netherlands has many startup hubs and innovation networks. However, to effectively support startups and increase our international impact, we need to consolidate our efforts and collaborate much more. The same goes for our universities, which still tend to look down on commerce and entrepreneurship. On the bright side, established companies are increasingly on the lookout for opportunities to work with startups.
“Newcomers innovate faster and are more disruptive than long-established businesses, but they lack the financial capacity to grow,” says Van Oranje-Nassau. “Smart partnerships and joint ventures can be of great mutual benefit, even though it’s often hard to reconcile the cultural differences between established corporations and startups. Successful businesses like Amazon and Salesforce spawn whole ecosystems of startups in their surroundings. It’s StartupDelta’s mission to turn the Netherlands into a single, smoothly operating ecosystem.”
StartupDelta is dedicated to improving the business climate for startups in the Netherlands and startups from abroad. Its goal is to turn the Netherlands into one of the best startup ecosystems in Europe in the next 18 months.