Subscribe to the newsletter:

On the 19th November the Rotterdam Science Tower will be the hotspot for innovation in the Netherlands. Our Dutch national host, the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship, expects over 1500 attendees. Closing party of the day will be the national final of Get in the Ring. We spoke to Simone van Kooperen, one of the organizers, and she revealed the secrets behind Get in the Ring the Netherlands.

Get in the Ring seems to be going well in the Netherlands?

“Yes indeed. We have seen an incredible growth in participating startups. Both in quantity and quality. Next to that the ticket sales is much higher as expected. We expect to have over 1000 visitors and more than 200 participating startups on this national final.”

What is different from past years?

“This year the local rounds have been added to Get in the Ring globally. This gave us the opportunity to reach out to other cities in the Netherlands such as Eindhoven, Amsterdam and Zwolle. This enabled us to reach out to startups all over the Netherlands, beyon our own local community. Furthermore we saw that these events got very positive evaluations from visitors and startups because of the local connections.

Next to that we continued our partnership with ING and APM Terminals, whose networks have great value for the participating startups. Also the Get in the Ring Foundation will soon start a partnership with EY, and they are already contributing with support and expertise to the final in the Netherlands. They opened their network to better connect startups and corporates which is great value for the foundation of course, but also something that we as Dutch national host benefit from”.

We notice that this year a lot of corporates are involved, can you tell more about that?

“This year we made Get in the Ring part of the Innovation Festival, which consist of multiple events including: Getting Smart Congress, Clean Tech Summit and the How To Get There Summit. By organizing all these events on the same day we combine all the entrepreneurial minded people at the same place and time so we give them the opportunity to connect with each other. This way we make Get in the Ring as exciting as possible for startups, investors, corporates and more.

The program consists of a diversity of activities. One of the activities is “Corporate Fan Dating” where the startup founders have speed dates with innovation directors of more than 30 Dutch multinationals including ING, Philips, Boskalis, DSM and AkzoNobel. “We noticed that these corporates were very eager to participate in the speeddating sessions, as it gives them a unique opportunity to effectively meet and build a relationship with multiple startups” says van Kooperen. There is an “Investors meet-up”, where 200 startups are linked to the capital they need, and there is a meet and hire with talented engineering, computer science and business students. During the day there will be workshops with Harold Goddijn, the CEO of TomTom, Stephen Gold, the CMO of IBM Watson Group and Neelie Kroes, former European Commissioner and Special Envoy of StartupDelta. In short the key elements of the day are: network, talent, capital, expertise and pitching.”

Can you share more insights that can be valuable for other hosts?

Yes of course. One important thing that I noticed while organizing Get in the Ring in the past 3 years is that a lot of people ask me what prize can the startups win. Although there are many different prizes, varying from cash to gadgets, I think most value is in the real connections that are made during the events. Startups meet investors, business leaders and many more. Many times you don’t directly realize what the value of these connections is, especially when they are made in real life. However at unexpected moments you can and will capitalize them. This can be an investor you meet when you are not yet ready for investment, however due to a good relationship you are able to approach him again when you are. This is something that can’t be substituted completely by online platforms. You need to look each other in the eyes and build a true relationship. That is what Get in the Ring is all about for me.”

Are you interested in attending the Dutch national final or the Innovation festival? Click here to get tickets. For those of you who are not able to go: there will be a livestream, so keep following our social media accounts.

Tags: , , ,