Located close to Amsterdam, but with a very different vibe, the city of Almere wants to become a startup hub of its own. Startup Almere is opening its doors, starting with a kickoff event on January 28.
Almere, the city where everything is possible
Almere is located in Flevoland, the youngest province of The Netherlands. Almere itself even is the youngest city of The Netherlands. A mere forty years ago, in 1976, the first house was build on land that had been reclaimed from the sea in the decades before that. Although mainly planned as a place to house people from the rapidly expanding city of Amsterdam, Almere always has been more than just a suburb of the capital. Being located in an area where everything had to be build from the ground up, people that were making the move to Almere had to have a sense of adventure. This pioneering spirit is still reflected in the city’s slogan: “Almere, the city where everything is possible.”
Starting a business in Almere is as easy as it is anywhere else in The Netherlands. Still, a startup ecosystem was missing. In September 2015, a group of entrepreneurs, corporates and other interested people got together and talked about improving the general startup climate in Flevoland and particularly in Almere. This is where the idea for Startup Almere was born.
The executive body of Startup Almere consists of three members: Valerie Bos, Menno van Dam and Martijn de Vries . These young entrepreneurs have brought together several members of the startup ecosystem in Almere and are now organizing startup events. Startup Almere is supported by Startup Amsterdam, StartupDelta, the municipality of Almere and the Flevoland Development Agency.
The people of Startup Almere want to learn from startup success stories in other cities. Fellow startup initiative Startup Amsterdam is a big example for them. And recently the team of Startup Almere visited B.Amsterdam, where they learned what makes a great co-working space for startups. Van Dam explains: “B.Amsterdam is located far from the city center and still everyone wants to work there. We wanted to find out why.” Startup Almere may use that knowledge when they are ready to create a similar kind of co-working space in Almere, sometime in the future.
One of the aims of Startup Almere is finding out exactly how many startups call Almere home already. Of course the potential for feature startups is also important. How many people are interested in setting up a startup in Almere? The organizers hope to welcome between fifty and a hundred people at the kickoff event that will take place on January 28. Depending on the outcome of that event, further steps will be taken and the position of Almere in the Dutch startup landscape will become clearer.
Van Dam: “There are a lot of IT-companies in Almere and there is a demand for people in that industry. The Floriade (a horticultural exposition) is also a big theme here, but we’ve not decided yet how we are going to position Startup Almere within the Dutch startup ecosystem, or which of the city’s specialties we want to use for that.”
Startup ecosystem in Almere
Startup Almere is made possible because of the startup ecosystem in Almere. Part of that ecosystem are several organizations that aim to give startups the building blocks they need to start their businesses.
Some of the members of the startup ecosystem in Almere, that already participate in Startup Almere:
– The Floriade accelerator, an accelerator programme focussed on GreenTech entrepreneurs. Almere hosts the 2022 Floriade, a huge World Horticultural Exposition, which is organized once every ten years in The Netherlands.
– Internet of Things community TTN Flevoland, which is realizing a LoRAWAN network covering all of the province of Flevoland. Entrepreneurs with innovative IOT-ideas might benefit from this community.
– Hackerspace Sk1llz, a place where people can work together on technology and science projects.
– Flexible office space provider Places to Work, located in the centre of Almere.
– Rabobank, which will provide regular coaching sessions.
Startup Almere kickoff event
The first event will be a kickoff event, when Startup Almere opens its doors on January 28. On this Thursday evening, there will be several activities, including a workshop, called ‘innovate like a startup’, by lean innovation company doon.nu, and talks by USG people and Niek van der Voort, co-founder of software company LastMason.
The kickoff event will take place in the Rabobank building, Landrostdreef 100 in Almere.
People who are interested in attending or in pitching an idea, can apply for free at Eventbrite.
Hopefully the kickoff event is just the first of many startup-related events in Almere. The event calendar of Startup Almere has several other events already listed. Just two days after the kickoff events, on January 30, there will be an ICT career event, and on February 12 the young Flevoland entrepreneur of the year will be announced during an award ceremony.