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The Ambassador of Canada to the Netherlands her Excellency Ms. Helfand together with Barry O’Rourke and Paul Mitten opened the office officially with a ribbon cutting.

Compusult, a world-leading Canadian geospatial software firm has opened its European Headquarters in The Hague and therewith become a registered member of the European Union. The festive opening event took place on Friday the 17th of January 2020.

Compusult

Compusult was founded in 1985, and from its humble beginnings, co-founders Barry O’Rourke and Paul Mitten have grown the company to 100 employees. When they were selected to develop the Core GIS Increment 3 for the NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCI Agency), Compusult decided to open a European office, with headquarters remaining in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador.

“For years, we have been involved in business outside of Canada and have spent much time in Europe. Opening this new office was a natural progression”, says Mr. Mitten, Compusult’s vice president.

Assistance by local network

When the Canadian Embassy in the Netherlands got involved in the expansion plans of Compusult they called in the support of their partner for market expansion services in the Netherlands, InnovationQuarter. As partners in a Softlanding Program the regional economic development agency for the greater Rotterdam – The Hague area was enthusiastic to help. InnovationQuarter, together with the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency and Steenworp assisted with guidance on how to set up a company in the Netherlands and finding the right premises for Compusult.

NCI Agency

The main reason the company choose for the Netherlands and more precisely The Hague, is the prominent presence of the NCI Agency here. Mr. O’Rourke, Compusult’s president, is involved in project management and software design with the agency. Compusult’s permanent Europe office will allow for even more effective client support. “This strategic decision will allow us to better serve NATO, and have a base for even more business operations in Europe and around the world.”

Compusult’s flagship product is Web Enterprise Suite (WES) – a comprehensive software solution to help organizations manage, organize and access data, so they can make more well-informed decisions. WES and its companion products use industry standards to keep geospatial information safe, current, and organized. Compusult has established a strong reputation by providing products and services in the defence, aerospace and environmental sectors.

In addition to its office in The Hague, Compusult has four offices and subsidiary offices across North America, and employs 100 information technology professionals.

Martijn van Hoogenhuijze

Senior Account Manager Cybersecurity
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©Erik Borst

The official launch of Invest-NL takes place today in Amsterdam in the presence of Minister of Finance Wopke Hoekstra and Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Eric Wiebes. As a private company led by Wouter Bos, Invest-NL will provide financing to companies that will make the Netherlands more sustainable and more innovative. With a share capital of 1.7 billion euros, Invest-NL’s focus at launch is on the energy transition and on innovative, fast-growing companies (scale-ups).

In the context of the energy transition, Invest-NL is focusing particularly on electrification and energy, circularity, agrifood and the built environment. When it comes to innovative scale-ups, the focus will primarily be on industrial technologies. Invest-NL intends to expand the market and provide financial backing for what once seemed unbackable. Alongside a willingness to take significant risks, Invest-NL is also prepared to invest large amounts with long maturities. Impact is paramount for Invest-NL: without impact there can be no financing.

More risk capital available

Market parties in the Netherlands have difficulty financing major societal transitions. They face challenges to handle the high degree of uncertainty in terms of policy and technology, the multiplicity of stakeholders and the fragmentation of initiatives with relatively high learning and transaction costs. Moreover, various studies have shown that, relatively speaking, there is less risk capital available for young high-growth companies in the Netherlands compared to countries such as Germany, the UK or the US.

Finally, Dutch companies have thus far been less successful at obtaining funding from European investment funds and facilities compared to competitors in other countries, where the requisite venture capital is made available to companies by specific national funds and/or banks. The launch of Invest-NL means that the Netherlands now also has its own, comparable fund.

In line with parliamentary decisions and based on research, Invest-NL has decided to prioritise the financing of scale-ups and the energy transition. Entrepreneurs and financiers can visit the Invest-NL website (invest-nl.nl), where they can answer five questions to discover if their business plan may be eligible for financing by Invest-NL.

Far-reaching ambitions

Wouter Bos, CEO of Invest-NL: “We have far-reaching ambitions at Invest-NL: our aim is to quadruple the amount of risk capital available for the energy transition within five years.We want to ensure that young, innovative companies here can scale up as successfully as they do in Germany and the UK, which means the Netherlands needs to become twice as effective in this regard as it is today.

Eric Wiebes, Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy: “With Invest-NL we show that the great changes around energy and climate can go hand in hand with making a profit. Invest-NL’s financing and development power gets companies going and contributes to employment and economic growth in the Netherlands.”

Wopke Hoekstra, Minister of Finance: ”I am very proud of what we are achieving here. It is not common for a government to set up a state participation. And its objective is important: Invest-NL’s activities strenghten our innovative economy and contribute to the transition towards a sustanaible society.”

Rinke Zonneveld

Director InnovationQuarter
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On Monday 13 January 2020 Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb will open the new Head Office of the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) in the CIC Rotterdam (Cambridge Innovation Center in the ‘Groothandelsgebouw’, next to Rotterdam Central Station). As of this year, Rotterdam will be the location for the world’s largest international network of waste professionals (formerly housed in Vienna). Simultaneously, registration for ISWA’s World Congress will officially be opened, ISWA2020 will be held from 28-30 September 2020 in Rotterdam’s stunning World Trade Centre.

Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb: “The arrival of ISWA in Rotterdam underlines that the city is a hotspot for innovative and sustainable organizations. Rotterdam has high ambitions and we are very pleased that, working together with ISWA, we are going to achieve those ambitions.”

Circular and Low Carbon Initiative

In January, ISWA, NVRD and Rotterdam will start a joint project, the Circular and Low Carbon Initiative. In this joint project, the current state of the circular economy in Rotterdam is qualitatively examined and mapped. Ranging from small corner shops to the headquarters of multinational corporates in Rotterdam and the port, the first interim results will be presented during the ISWA World Congress.

ISWA & The Circular Economy

Antonis Mavroupoulis (ISWA President): “This is an exciting time for ISWA as we enter our 50th year with new management, new employees and a new home. The City of Rotterdam shares our global vision with a focus on international cooperation to achieve a circular economy. We are proud to “Make It Happen!” As far as I’m concerned, there is no better place to accommodate the ISWA General Secretariat”.

Start ticket sales ISWA2020

Ticket sales for the ISWA2020 congress will be opened on 13th January. The ISWA World Congress is the most prestigious international congress for the waste sector and is organised by the City of Rotterdam and the NVRD. This year’s main themes of the congress are:

  • waste processing and recycling,
  • waste in waters and oceans,
  • circular and low carbon economy,
  • innovation in cities and construction and demolition waste.

These themes are in line with Rotterdam’s ambition to be at the forefront of the circular economy. From 13th January, ISWA2020 is open for proposals to organize a workshop, session or presentation during the congress. Proposals will be evaluated by a special committee. We welcome everyone that wants to make an interesting contribution to the congress and the ISWA2020 themes.

More information, ticket sales and submitting proposal: www.iswa2020.org

Loek Becker Hoff

Senior Account Manager Energy & Circular
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Among other things, the partnership is intended to yield new discoveries and smart solutions to issues in healthcare. To this end, the three institutions’ plans include the construction of a new HealthTech Campus next to the Erasmus MC in Rotterdam.

Interim Chair of the Executive Board Hans Smits expects the partnership to yield ‘ground-breaking solutions’ and promote ‘the social embedding and acceptance of new technological and medical developments’. Among other things, the three institutions intend to set up a HealthTech Campus at a location adjacent to the Erasmus MC.

The new collaboration comprises three initiatives: Sustainable Rotterdam Delta, the HealthTech Campus and 30 laboratories in the region that will concentrate on research into artificial intelligence. The three institutions have drawn up a total budget of half a billion euros for the next ten years. They hope that the private sector and the government will be interested in investing in the partnership.

Social challenges

The two universities and the hospital want to jointly take on major social challenges in the areas of health, sustainability, urbanisation and digitalisation. Researchers working in the fields of medicine, health sciences, technical sciences and the social sciences will be collaborating in this context.

“Over the past forty years, new developments in healthcare primarily originated in biology, genetics and pharmacology,” says Ernst Kuipers, Chair of the Executive Board of the Erasmus MC, in NRC Handelsblad. “Today’s knowledge and expertise are also encountered in mathematics, artificial intelligence, robotics, optics (optical and lens technology) and domotics (home automation). We can provide the medical-substantive knowledge, Erasmus University offers economic and social-scientific insights and Delft is a premier source of technological expertise.” At the planned HealthTech Campus, researchers will be working together to make healthcare more effective and improve people’s quality of life. It will take some time before this campus opens its doors, however, since the old Dijkzigt hospital building needs to be torn down before the site can be prepared for construction.

Within the Sustainable Rotterdam Delta initiative, the partners will be studying issues in Rotterdam and the surrounding region. The various studies will centre on social problems in today’s metropolitan areas. Researchers will be focussing on matters like the energy transition, traffic and transport, equal opportunity and employment.

Artificial intelligence

The universities in Leiden, Delft and Rotterdam can already look back on seven years of collaboration. While Leiden won’t be joining the HealthTech Campus, it will contribute in the field of artificial intelligence. In the future, the three universities will all be including knowledge about data science and artificial intelligence in all their students’ curricula.

“At both our Economics faculty and RSM, you can already find a wealth of knowledge relating to data science and artificial intelligence,” notes EUR’s Rector Magnificus Rutger Engels. “But beyond these faculties, we also see a strong research focus on the real-life impact of new technologies. From interactions between humans and machines to deep fakes, and from data-driven improvements in care to the avoidance of biased appraisals in HRM and selection.”

The future

The business plans for the three initiatives will be fleshed out in the months ahead. Academic staff are already allowed to submit research and education proposals to the three institutions involved. In addition, the universities have already started to recruit 34 post-doc researchers. The partners are still working on their application to Rijksinvesteringsfonds. This national organisation awards funding to projects that are intended to strengthen the Dutch economy.

Sasja Heijman

Senior Account Manager Life Sciences & Health