With its Prime Minister Mark Rutte set to visit Bengaluru on May 25, the Netherlands aims to deepen the innovation ecosystem relationship between the two countries. This includes the set up of Startup Link, an umbrella initiative to help Dutch startups explore the Indian market.
The importance of Rutte’s trip, especially the focus on India, can also be understood by the fact that the Netherlands India-delegation, comprising a 120 business delegates along with two ministers and the mayor of the Hague to Bengaluru, is their largest delegation to any foreign country, larger than even that of their recent China visit.
The Startup Link is being launched in partnership with the Indian Government’s Startup India programme.
Responding to an Inc42 query, consul general Jaap Werner stated, “The delegates will be visiting Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru, signing a number of MoUs to promote technology and innovations at all levels, from, universities to SMEs and corporates. In Bengaluru alone, we are expecting to sign 15-20 MoUs. The Bengaluru visit will focus to strengthen the bilateral trades and relationships in the areas of healthcare, smart cities, life sciences, waste management and cybersecurity.”
The Netherlands minister for foreign trade and development cooperation, Sigrid Kaag, is expected to launch the Indo-Dutch Startup Link Digital Hub on May 25.
The line-up of events on the day also includes an ‘Innovation Power Lunch’ during which the Dutch PM will meet 30 top Indian CEOs.
Recently, the Netherlands also expanded and upgraded its Bengaluru office to a fully operational consulate general, integrating various ministerial departments under one roof.
- The economic and trade department
- Innovation Attaché (Holland Innovation Network)
- Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA)
- Nuffic Neso (Netherlands Education Support Office) India
While the NFIA is already helping Indian startups expand their base in the Netherlands while focussing on the European market, Meenakshi P R, senior deputy representative consulate general Of Netherlands, Bengaluru, stated that the consulate general would also help Dutch startups soft launch in Indian territory, particularly in Bengaluru.
She said, “IoT, 3D Printing, cybersecurity and blockchain are some of the areas where the startups can collaborate under Startup Link.”
According to Jaap, there are currently over 200 Netherlands companies operational in India, and almost as many Indian companies in the Netherlands. While India is the fourth largest investor in the Netherlands, the latter stands fifth in India.
The Netherlands has been one of the biggest investors in Karnataka. Many Dutch companies have large campuses and offices in Bengaluru. Akzo-Nobel (car refinishes and coatings, Shell (R&D), Philips (R&D), TNT (logistics), Provimi B V (animal vaccines), Rijk Zwaan & Nunhems (seeds), Koppert (biological pest control), Koeleman (processed foods), TomTom (navigation systems), Florence Flora (floriculture), Moerheim Roses (floriculture), Aarding (construction equipment), and Pharmamatch (pharmaceuticals) are some of the major Dutch companies in Karnataka. In addition, there are many small and medium-sized Dutch companies that operate out of Bengaluru.
As informed by Akanksha Sharma, senior policy advisor, Holland Innovation Network, from the Indian Institute of Science and Manipal Institutions of Bengaluru to Delft University of technology and Eindhoven University of Netherlands, R&D and related partnerships between the universities of the two countries are increasing with the aim to help improve the entrepreneurship, ideas, innovation and realisation of the same. It is also worth noting that the Netherlands marks the highest number of patents per capita. And, such collaboration at the university scale will help improve the startup culture at the early stage.