Prince Constantijn to succeed Neelie Kroes as startup ambassador

The Dutch startup programme StartupDelta is set to continue for another 4.5 years, under the new name StartupDelta2020. This morning, during Startup Fest Europe, Minister Henk Kamp of Economic Affairs announced that His Royal Highness Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands will succeed Neelie Kroes on 1 July 2016 as special envoy, and that he will be at the helm of StartupDelta2020 for the next eighteen months.

Great results, ambitious future

Minister Henk Kamp of Economic Affairs states: “Both at home and abroad, Neelie Kroes and the team at StartupDelta have put our country firmly on the map as a leading centre for startups in a short space of time. Her experience, enthusiasm and charisma have allowed her to move mountains for startups in the past eighteen months. I greatly appreciate everything that Ms Kroes has been able to achieve in a very short space of time.” The 2015 Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking showed that the Netherlands has recently become the third largest and fastest growing startup ecosystem in Europe. In part thanks to StartupDelta’s efforts, the Netherlands is in fourth place in the ranking for best startup ecosystem in Europe after London, Berlin and Paris. The Netherlands is also at the top of the Startup Nation Scoreboard, in which 25 European countries are compared based on measures to improve the startup ecosystems.

Minister Kamp continues: “I look forward to working with Prince Constantijn. His extensive and invaluable experience, both in government and in business, makes him a special envoy of international stature. He is closely involved with startups and is very familiar with the regional and European startup ecosystem. This makes Prince Constantijn the perfect person to collaborate with the government, businesses and knowledge institutions in creating the right conditions for startups to flourish. Startups will benefit as they can grow into major enterprises. This will bump up Dutch employment rates and productivity, and it will give us a competitive edge.”

StartupDelta continued

To continue on its current course, StartupDelta2020 will receive government funding for another 4.5 years. Our country’s fourteen most important innovation areas will be working together more intensively to speed up the development of innovations and to give promising foreign startups and businesses reason to set up offices in the Netherlands. Another focus of StartupDelta2020 will be creating growth opportunities for startups in areas such as fintech and agrifood.

In StartupDelta2020, Dutch startups and innovation regions will work together to promote the Netherlands as an international startup country. With this new special envoy at the helm, we will be working on developing an agenda for action this summer. This agenda will serve as the basis for StartupDelta2020’s organisation that operates flexibly and works at finding solutions in a variety of different teams. Relevant parties from the business community are involved in the process on a theme by theme basis.

Henk Kamp explains: “As a cabinet we will support the agenda to allow the Netherlands to further profit from the innovations that are products of startups. My ambition is for the Netherlands to secure a place in the top 5 of the 2020 Compass worldwide startup ecosystem ranking. We now occupy 19th place. We have to continue to work together to create a better startup climate, through collaborations with startups, investors and knowledge institutions.“ 

Earlier today, on behalf of himself and State Secretary for Finance Eric Wiebes, Minister Kamp announced that measures would be taken to allow startups and scaleups to grow faster and easier. As of next year, 27 million euros will be available per annum to help ease the customary-wage regulation for innovative enterprises. Startup founders will no longer be required to pay themselves a taxable wage of 44,000 euros and can instead set this to minimum wage for the first three years. This way, there will be more money to invest in the enterprise. The cabinet will also commit 23 million euros to invest in startups and SMEs with private investors.