OPENING SPEECH, STARTUP FEST EUROPE (only the spoken word counts)
Amsterdam - May 24, 2016
Today is an extraordinary day. I am delighted to be amidst you Tim, Eric, Travis, Gillian, Pieter, Nathan, Reshma,… and you all.
With the energy of these thousand brilliant minds, we are making a mark in history. It is my pleasure to welcome you all to Startup Fest Europe.
The startup mindset is like jet fuel. When you spark it, it can bring a man to the mars, and far beyond. Innovation is the future, and startups are rocketing towards it. They reach for the skies. Face everything,.. and rise.
You are out of the ordinary, because you bring imagination to the table. Imagination that changes our world at a fascinating speed. You bring health to the people,.. skills to our kids,.. pace to transportation,.. connections to the lonely,.. efficiency to work,.. oxygen to our environment. You bring the world to the palm of my hand.
However, the challenges we face are great. Pollution, famine, illiteracy, youth unemployment, cybercrime and ‘illnesses that we cannot cure’. Yet! Yes, I believe that startups and their fearless founders are the answer to the greatest challenges of our time. They have radical new ideas that shape our future. No guts, no glory. They are rebels with a cause. Rebels for a better world, for you, for me, for all of us.
So, this is about you. About us. Making a difference. Creating change. Being part of the change. Yes, we can do it. Look around you! We have changed the Netherlands into Europe’s West Coast for startups. According to the Startup Nation Scoreboard we’re the #1 ecosystem for startups to grow fast.
Can you imagine, an entire country working together? Joining forces. We have connected our 10 competitive innovation hubs into ‘One single hub’. Can you imagine, an entire ecosystem accelerating? We’re the 5th faster growing ecosystem on the planet! Out of nowhere, Holland is in the Champions League for startup ecosystems. In just one and a half years’ time.
StartupDelta has made collaboration its core business. We have connected tier 1 corporates with the COSTA programme to share best practices on how to accelerate innovation with startups. We have made intellectual property accessible for startups with the TekDelta initiative.
I have joint forces with our Cabinet, to make changes for startups in the fiscal system. Our ecosystem is connected with the strongest startup hubs on the planet, though mentoring networks, MOU’s, an intern programme and hundreds of introductions.
And we’re only getting started. Over the next month we’re taking the next steps towards a European Startup Visa, the contours of a growth fund for scale-ups are taking shape and we’re bringing coding classes to 400.000 kids.
In the Netherlands we have proof that we can! The force behind this change is out of the ordinary. And it’s being noticed globally. Our ecosystem, StartupDelta, is a Delta. The Greek symbol of change. And that is exactly what’s in the DNA of so many startups that I’ve met. You have it in you.
And united we can do even more. Obliterate boundaries and shape the future. Endurance is a must. Be bold, show yourself. Dare to dream, dare to fail, dare to get up again. Don't forget, but never regret. Share your mistakes and share your success. Be seen, inspire,.. aspire. This is the time. This is the week. It’s now or never,.. every day of your life!
We don't have to be ordinary. Make your best mistakes. No longer hide. Release the energy you feel inside. You are the driving force behind change. You multiply the speed of innovation.
You cross out anything ordinary. You are X ordinary!