Creating a Golden Age for Startups

“Imagine an entire country working together to achieve a single goal: Create a space where entrepreneurs stand up, start up then scale up”

The publication of the Global Innovation Index 2016 (GII) was due to appear on 20 July 2016. Unfortunately this was postponed due to unforeseen circumstances, read ‘Brexit’. The index will be based on the theme “Winning with Global Innovation”. It “will feature a discussion on how win-win partnerships for science, innovation and entrepreneurship might turn into new engines of growth. The high-level panel will explore the opportunities and challenges that business leaders and policy makers across economies face in this regard”.

The GII is co-published by Cornell University, INSEAD and WIPO. Representatives of these organizations and other knowledge experts (the Advisory Board) form a high level panel which looks at various criteria which influence the innovation ratio of a country. These criteria are institutions (political, regulatory and business environment); human capital and research; infrastructure; market and business sophistication; knowledge, technology and creative outputs. The result is the overall global innovation score per country which makes it possible to compare the various countries.

According to the Global Innovation Index 2015 (GII) the Netherlands entered the top 5 of most innovative countries worldwide (place 4 after Switzerland, UK and Sweden) in 2015.

This is what it looks like graphically:

And the comparison over 2012 to 2015 is as follows:

Source: World’s Most Innovative Countries/Raconteur

The Netherlands has gradually moved up 2 places.

What could be the cause?

The criterion where the Netherlands does the best (nr 1) is online e-participation which is ”The United Nations E-Participation Index is based on the survey used for the UN Online Service Index. The survey was expanded with questions emphasizing quality in the connected presence stage of e-government”.

The key here is the presence of e-government. Dutch start up initiatives are legion. But venture capital investments are lagging behind.

Startup Delta was initiated by former EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes in January 2015. It connects startups, government agencies, knowledge centers, companies, and investors to make the Netherlands the number 1 place to be for startups. The ideal is to create a new Dutch Silicon valley on the old grounds of the Dutch Navy in Amsterdam. However this initiative is nationwide it will cooperate with existing startup hubs throughout the country.

Currently there are startup hubs in each major city in the Netherlands.


In May 2016 the Dutch startup ecosystem was strengthened by COSTA an initiative by Neelie Kroes and Jan Kees de Jager which promotes cooperation between corporates and startups. Cooperation between the two is not usual, they even see each other as competitors. Corporates and startups will need to open up to each other as this will accelerate innovation, open up the various markets to new business models and get new products out faster to the market. They will also learn from each other. Corporates will learn how to organize their organization to allow for quick innovation. Startups can use the resources of corporates to get to their products faster to the market.

So how many startups are there in the Netherlands and how much have they raised in funds?

Source: (Map shows Number of startups in the Netherlands per Hub)


As of 27 July 2016 the total number of startups in the Netherlands is a stunning 1517. Moreover the funds accumulate up to 430 Million Euros (2015).

I believe there is still a lot of room for growth. 
A golden age of startups is upon us.