Startup Amsterdam is the city department that stimulates the ‘urban ecosystem’ of startups. Why, and how? Director Bas Beekman is speaking in the live talkshow Stadsleven: ‘Start up, Fall down’ on Nov. 26th at Pakhuis De Zwijger.
“Unlike cities like Paris, we have never invested in accelerators, there are already several in Amsterdam which are doing a great job”, says director Bas Beekman. “We are a connector, with a staff of 8 and a budget of 5 million euros for 4 years. We are now focusing more on projects such as female entrepreneurship, artificial intelligence and getting small and medium-sized companies more digital.”
One of the main reasons for the city to promote its startup culture is the creation of jobs. “Our fastest-growing employment sector is the startups!” In 2019, he says, 94 companies received a total of 333 million euros in funding. And that for a sector that got started less than ten years ago. Stgartup Amsterdam also has a dedicated residence program to get startups to help the city solve wicked problems, such as commercial waste management over water, food from the ‘hood, the reuse of sewage and how to grow aquatic plants in the Amsterdam canals.
But the Netherlands has to do a better job at training talent. “Companies are now being dragged down by the lack of technical people, that goes not only for startups but also for banks and consultancies.” One of the initiatives he applauds – also because it is an example of a successful startup giving back to the community it arose from – is Codam, a programming school founded by TomTom-co-founder Corinne Vigreux.
Startup Amsterdam provides ‘heatmaps’ on its websites that provide interesting statistics about the ecosystem, such as this one about the Netherlands and many other European countries: