'Godmother' of startups at the UT

| Michaela Nesvarova

´You are the center of innovation, entrepreneurship and excellence, but you are too modest!´ said Neelie Kroes, world renowned Dutch politician, during her speech at the Innovation lecture 2015, which took place on the 2nd of June 2015 at the University of Twente.

Photo by: Gijs van Ouwerkerk

Neelie Kroes, who is a former Commissioner of the Digital Agenda, currently has the position of the Special Envoy, leading new StartupDelta initiative that aims to strengthen the international position of startups in the Netherlands. ´We are surrounded by inspiration within our own culture. We don´t need to go to the Silicon Valley, but we do need to become more ambitious and daring!´ thinks Kroes.

Embracing change

´This speech is about change, ´Kroes began her presentation at the Innovation lecture. ´Change is something that has always been at the core of science, industry and society. Change is inevitable and we need to embrace it, because our future depends on the way we deal with it.´ As Kroes put it, change is about finding new groundbreaking solutions and innovation, but the lifecycle of innovation is only a few years nowadays. To keep up with the constant changes, we need newcomers, out of the box thinkers, in other words - we need startups.

The university of booming business

Neelie Kroes also pointed out that we don´t have to look far to find great examples of new revolutionary ideas and successful startups. The Netherlands has been in the forefront of technological innovation with companies like Shell, DSM or Philips and the University of Twente has also contributed a great deal to bringing innovative ideas to life. In fact, to this day the UT has 800 spin-off companies to its name.

Twente as a role model

´Twente region, with this university in the middle, is a role model on how to deal with change. It has become an innovation leader. It is also an example when looking at developing new businesses. From the start, the University of Twente looked at opportunities to develop spin-offs from academic knowledge. You are thinking in new academic and new business models,´ said Kroes, who would call herself not only the godmother of startups, but also the new kid on the block with a startup mindset.

Success on a global scale

According to Kroes, we should deal with change in an ambitious and risk taking manner, welcome startups with open arms and cooperate. She also thinks it is time to bring the local success onto an international level: ´Embrace risks, invest and be ambitious on a global scale! We can do it. Just don´t be too modest!´

Stay tuned

Sign up for our weekly newsletter.