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West Holland entrepreneurs make their mark in southern Germany

A 60-strong delegation, headed by InnovationQuarter and Economische Programmaraad Zuidvleugel (EPZ, the regional economic board), recently met with existing and potential German partners in Munich and Stuttgart. During an intensive two-day mission to southern Germany (1 to 3 May), delegates took part in a rich programme of activities focusing on cyber security and personalised medicine. The visit provided many opportunities to establish useful contacts for future cooperation and business openings in the southern German market.

Zuid-Hollandse ondernemers geven visitekaartje af tijdens missie in Zuid-Duitsland

Economic mission to southern Germany

The trip was in line with the aspirations of InnovationQuarter and its partners to strengthen ties between West Holland and southern Germany. The large turnout of both Dutch and German companies at the different events demonstrated great mutual interest. As a result, in the coming years InnovationQuarter aims to organise regular internationalisation activities focused on the technology clusters in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg.

Zuid-Hollandse ondernemers geven visitekaartje af tijdens missie in Zuid-Duitsland

Personalised medicine

In collaboration with local partner organisations Bio-M and Bioregio STERN and supported by NBSO Stuttgart, mini-conferences were held in Munich and Stuttgart. These gatherings offered a mix of short substantive contributions, pitches and one-on-one matchmaking discussions. In Stuttgart, for example, Carin Huibers (global platform leader parenterals at Janssen Biologics in Leiden) shared her vision of international developments in the biopharmaceutical industry, and a carefully prepared matchmaking event for all delegates and potential German business partners also took place.

The matchmaking event in Stuttgart received special praise. According to Arie Baak of Euretos, “It exceeded our expectations.” If you would like to find out why Dutch and Germans businesses get along so well in the biotechnology field, you can listen to the podcast (in Dutch) on Duitslandnieuws.nl.

Zuid-Hollandse ondernemers geven visitekaartje af tijdens missie in Zuid-Duitsland

Cyber security – ‘solutions for Industry 4.0 and corporates’

Cyber security is a hot topic in Germany. In light of German investment in Industry 4.0 and the associated rise in the digitalisation of manufacturing, cyber security solutions are becoming increasingly relevant. Traditional manufacturing companies, however, do not possess the necessary expertise themselves to implement these solutions.

Delegates interested in the theme ‘cyber security, solutions for Industry 4.0 [German smart industry, ed.] and corporates’ took part in a special theme-based programme aimed at generating exposure for Dutch developers and suppliers of cyber security solutions in this area. Individual companies were given ample opportunity to promote themselves and engage in one-on-one discussions with potential partners. Jorrit van der Walle, CEO of Audittrail, participated in this programme and said:

Thanks to InnovationQuarter’s cyber security mission, I have gained many new insights into the southern German market.

The programme also afforded German participants and members of the delegation the chance to put forward various important points. For example, Evert Driehuis of Securelink in Sliedrecht (one of the leading cyber security companies in Europe) made a valuable contribution, as did Ruben van Vreeland of BitSensor (a promising startup in Eindhoven) and Professor Pieter van Gelder of Delft University of Technology and the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus (LDE) Centre for Safety & Security.

To provide insight into what Dutch cyber security entrepreneurs are looking for in Germany, Duitslandnieuws.nl has published an article featuring interviews (in Dutch) with participants from three companies that were involved in the two-day mission: Software Improvement Group (SIG) in Amsterdam, Compumatica in Uden and Onegini in Woerden. These security companies are also affiliated with The Hague Security Delta (HSD), Europe’s leading security cluster.

Germany places high value on safe browsing online, but why is it lagging in this area? Dutch and German participants offer their opinions in this podcast (in Dutch) on Duitslandnieuws.nl. You can also read the SecureLink report (in Dutch) for more information.

Zuid-Hollandse ondernemers geven visitekaartje af tijdens missie in Zuid-Duitsland

Economische Programmaraad Zuidvleugel (EPZ)

Companies that took part in the mission were accompanied by a strong delegation from EPZ, the regional economic board. Under the leadership of Ab van der Touw (CEO of Siemens Nederland) and Adri Bom-Lemstra (member of the South Holland Provincial Executive), EPZ delegates participated in a specific programme that focused on knowledge sharing, cooperation and strengthening ties with important existing and potential partners in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg.

Over the two-day period, the delegation visited various companies and organisations, including Siemens, the Technical University of Munich and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Munich and Upper Bavaria. Delegates also spent time at Bayern Innovativ, the Ministry of Economic Affairs of Bavaria and the Ministry of Economic Affairs for Baden-Württemberg and Fraunhofer. Representatives of these companies and organisations met with the delegation to discuss topics that included public-private cooperation in science, innovation and professional education. These representatives also made considerable contributions to the two main business programmes.

A series of events was jointly launched at the invitation of Ab van der Touw: workshops at the Siemens head office in Munich, a lecture by Carin Huibers during the personalised medicine event in Stuttgart and the King’s Day reception at the Netherlands Consulate in Munich, sponsored by EPZ. This traditional networking reception was attended by more than 500 Dutch and German visitors from Munich and the surrounding area and generated valuable exposure for the West Holland region, the businesses taking part in the mission and the Netherlands as a whole.

You can read more about the mission on Ron Bormans’ blog (in Dutch) (Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences) ‘Kein jugendlicher ohne Talent’ (No Youth Without Talent), a theme-based visit to southern Germany to share information with businesses and higher education about Industry 4.0 and what it means for educating young people.

Peter Vermeij, Nederlandse Consul-Generaal in München, opent Koningsdagviering op Schloss Nymphenburg

Peter Vermeij, Dutch Consul-General in München, opens celebration King’s Day at Schloss Nymphenburg

The mission received invaluable support from various partners

As InnovationQuarter received invaluable support from many partners in organising this mission, we would like to express our gratitude to the following.

  • The Dutch support network in southern Germany: the Netherlands Business Support Offices (NBSO) in Stuttgart and Frankfurt as well as the Netherlands Consulate in Munich.
  • Enterprise Europe Network (Chamber of Commerce of The Hague and Bayern Innovativ) for matchmaking.
  • The German cluster organisations Sicherheitsnetzwerk München, Bio-M, Baden-Württemberg International, BW-Connectec and Bioregio STERN for their extensive preparation and for inviting German counterparts to meet with our delegation.
  • The Hague Security Delta and Medical Delta for creating appropriate buzz across Dutch networks.
  • The City of The Hague for sponsoring the King’s Day event in Stuttgart.
  • EPZ for sponsoring the King’s Day event in Munich and for accompanying the business delegations.
  • The Hague Marketing for bringing a touch of ‘The Hague’ to the King’s Day reception in Munich.
  • Tothem, our PR & Media partner for this trip.
  • Our regional partners Oost NV and BOM as well as Amsterdam Trade and Rotterdam Partners for promoting the mission within their networks.

Peter Vermeij, Nederlandse Consul-Generaal in München, opent Koningsdagviering op Schloss Nymphenburg

Upcoming events and plans

In keeping with its internationalisation programme, InnovationQuarter aims to strengthen economic ties with various key regions abroad. Together with its regional and national partner organisations, InnovationQuarter will focus intensively on economic missions, trade fairs, technology roadshows and soft landing programmes in the coming years.

A number of activities related to the broader context of the recent mission to southern Germany are scheduled for the coming weeks and include the following.

  • From 20 to 22 June, a business trip to MT-Connect in Nuremberg. This international trade fair is aimed at manufacturers, suppliers and R&D organisations in the medical technology industry. The lead partner for this event is Brabant Development Agency (BOM), and this year’s theme is ‘Digitalisation of Healthcare’.
  • From 26 to 29 June, the Digital Health & Smart Devices business trip to the UK. This trip is being organised in association with Health + Care, the UK’s largest integrated healthcare event. Our colleagues from East Netherlands Development Agency (Oost NV) are to act as lead partner for this event with InnovationQuarter providing support.
  • From 13 to 16 November, participation in the pavilion and/or the business trip to Medica, the largest medical technology trade fair in the world, to be held in Düsseldorf. Taskforce Health Care and our colleagues at Oost NV will soon provide additional information about this event.
  • A visit to one of Germany’s largest cyber security exhibitions, the IT-SA, which is becoming increasingly global in its outlook. More information is available from NBSO Frankfurt.