Collaboration is the key to enhancing Dutch innovative capacity

The largest innovation event of the year in the Netherlands will feature government ministers, academics and leading thinkers, who will bring their expertise to enhancing the country’s innovative capacity. The How To Get There Summit on 19 November at the Rotterdam Science Tower aims to stimulate collaboration between corporations, start-ups and innovation hubs in the Netherlands. Behind it is the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship (ECE), based at the Erasmus University Rotterdam.

The Summit follows an initiative from Henk Kamp, Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs to bring together 500 innovation experts and more than 50 researchers and professors to share their knowledge and experience.

Minister Kamp will be joined by Neelie Kroes, Special Envoy for the ‘Dutch start-up ecosystem’ organisation, StartupDelta and academics and professors from ECE, as well as hundreds of representatives of corporate organisations, CEOs, and founders of start-up businesses. Keynote speakers sharing their ideas of innovation will be Ben Verwaayen, Jan Kees de Jager and Kees de Jong. The event promises to combine the powers of these stakeholders on a national level.

A highlight of the event will be a round table session hosted by Neelie Kroes, in which 20 Dutch corporation CEOs will formulate an action plan to outline how they can work with start-ups to make the process of innovation happen more quickly. This round table session will be moderated by Justin Jansen, Professor of Corporate Entrepreneurship at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM). “In the Netherlands, we don’t only need to ensure a feeding ground for start-ups, but also focus on fast growing, young organisations. They tend to fall between the cracks.” says Jansen.

Innovation hubs in the Netherlands, such as those in Twente, Eindhoven, Amsterdam, Delft, Rotterdam and Utrecht will join the Summit to define their contribution of knowledge and expertise to the process of innovation .

Also taking place at the How to Get There Summit is the national final of an international start-up competition Get in the Ring, with 250 start-up businesses from the Netherlands attending workshops, pitching to investors and speed-networking. Through a process of elimination, the final six candidates – the most promising start-up businesses in the Netherlands – battle head-to-head for a place representing the Netherlands in the international finals in London. 

Collaboration between start-ups and corporates: a match made in heaven

More than € 150 million has been invested in new innovation hubs in the Netherlands over the past few years. These hubs work with universities to stimulate entrepreneurship and innovation, building on existing scientific knowledge. Successful examples are Brainport Eindhoven, Kennispark Twente and the Rotterdam Science Tower.

“If we can make better use of existing knowledge and explore new collaborations, we will be able to innovate faster. Only then we can retain our strong position as knowledge economy,” says Hendrik Halbe, founder and MD of ECE. “Start-up businesses’ ability to quickly test and develop new products and services, and the corporation’s powers to deploy this on a global scale, are a unique and highly valuable combination. The Netherlands has a unique position because of its renowned scientific output and the powerful Dutch corporations that are represented worldwide. Our goal is to create new collaborations between start-ups and corporations, which can then leverage each other’s unique strengths.”

Despite mutual benefits, apparently such collaborations don’t come naturally. Start-ups and corporate organisations struggle to find and understand each other. Corporate organisations experience the task of finding start-ups to be time-demanding. Start-ups find it difficult to access the corporate world. In addition, neither has the same view of the world nor the same way of working.

The How To Get There Summit aims to encourage innovation by making better use of existing facilities in the Netherlands, sharing experiences and connecting corporate organisations and start-up businesses.


About the Summit

The How To Get There Summit is part of StartupDelta and is supported by Port of Rotterdam, Venture Café Rotterdam, and the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Other associated companies include Nuon, Deloitte, ING, KPN and EY. Another element of the event is the Getting Smart event, where RSM Professor, Henk Volberda, will present the Erasmus Innovation Award 2015. The event takes place in the Rotterdam Science Tower.

Tickets are available on

The driving force behind the How To Get There summit and the developer of the concept is the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship, part of the Erasmus University Rotterdam and an initiative of Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) and the Erasmus School of Economics.

The ECE provides training and programmes on topics such as start-up businesses, innovation and corporate entrepreneurship to more than 1,000 organisations every year.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is a top-tier European business school and ranked among the top three for research. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who carry their innovative mindset into a sustainable future thanks to a first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes. RSM also has an office in Taipei, Taiwan.

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Marianne Schouten, Media & Public Relations Manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at

Alumni , Companies , Executive education , Faculty & Research , Homepage , In the spotlight , International , Newsroom