We’re catching up with Startup in Residence Northern Netherlands program manager Liselotte Westerveld. Two weeks ago, registrations closed for the first Northern Netherlands edition, so what’s next?
How has Startup in Residence Northern Netherlands gone so far?
"Good! The ambition has always been to scale up to the Northern Netherlands, which is why we, as Founded in Groningen, have joined forces with Founded in Friesland this year. With a record number of 43 registrations, I think we’ve proven that it works. We’re stronger together as the Northern Netherlands.”
Bertwin Kampman, public lead at Founded in Friesland, adds: “We’re extremely proud that public organizations from all northern provinces have submitted social challenges. And that pride also applies to the quality of startups that have registered.”
Liselotte continues: “Behind the scenes, we're going to further expand the cooperation between the northern provinces. We also looked for connections between the provinces by introducing multiple challenge owners to one challenge. In the coming months, we’re going to find out how successful this approach turns out to be.”
What can the startups expect in the coming period?
“We’ve just completed the first assessment phase. The so-called ‘lock’ on registrations opened on 6 October. I was positively surprised by the quality of the startups! For each challenge, the top 3 will present their pitches this week for a place in the program. After December 11, we’ll announce the startups to the world and December 18 will be followed by a festive kick-off. After that, the program really starts with discussions between challenge owner, mentor and startup during deep dives. This way, the start-ups will have all the detailed information and intimate understanding needed to test their solutions.”
What makes you proud as a program manager?
“I think it's really cool to see that the program gives the majority of startups real momentum. Sitting down and discussing things with your customer, you get the critical feedback and tough questions you need to find out what looks good on paper, but might not work in practice, and which aspects of your solution are strong enough to build upon.”
What piece of advice would you give to the startups?
“Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You have a program behind you with the expertise you need and a mentor to help guide you through those tough moments.”
What do you look forward to the most for this edition?
“With every challenge, there’s a certain degree of societal impact and I’m very proud of that. Like for example dealing with the plastic waste soup in the Wadden Sea; if we could fish out tons of plastic waste from the water, thanks to the solution of a startup ... Or the challenge about safe cycling, with which we want to help prevent fatal cycling accidents. I can't wait to see how much impact we will generate with this edition.”