Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte visited the Innolab Chemistry and Experty last Wednesday, to take a look at what’s going on in Groningen’s startup ecosystem. Sufficed to say, he was pretty impressed by what he saw!
During a tour of the very successful scale-up Experty, the Prime Minister praised the local startup ecosystem: “I think it’s amazing. The region is booming!” Rutte also compared Groningen to the popular startup hubs Houston and Eindhoven: “There’s a similar sudden catalyzation going on here, with a lot of visible entrepreneurship, more so than in many other parts of the Netherlands.”
“There is a close collaboration between local government and companies”, Rutte continues. “And there’s also a vibrant student culture and knowledge institutions facilitating startups, like the University of Groningen and the University Hospital. A sudden acceleration like this works because of the balanced combination of those elements, and it’s the government’s job to make sure all the right parties are able to connect with each other.”
Mailing a globe
Experty founders Benjamin Derksen and Reinier de Jong started their company with a capital of 200 euros, when they were both still students. In 2009, the company employed 4 people and have since grown to 175 employees and currently looking for some 50 new people. Experty owns 346 different webshops for niche products in seven different countries. And that success is part of the reason they got a visit from the Prime Minister, who wrapped up and mailed a globe to himself - a symbolic gesture, because that’s the first product Experty sold.
Rutte also visited the Innolab Chemistry, a new testing ground for innovative chemical research, and met with the researchers involved. The Innolab promotes and facilitates chemical science projects, like life sciences, healthy aging, bio-based economy, sustainability and agro-food research.
Check out the full video interview (in Dutch) here: https://www.groningerondernemerscourant.nl/nieuws/premier-rutte-waanzinnig-deze-regio-is-echt-booming