The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs announced on Sunday that Neelie Kroes, former Vice President of the European Commission, is to become the "Special Envoy for startups" for the Netherlands.
During the 18-month assignment, she will focus on strengthening the international position of startups in the Netherlands and persuading foreign startups to set up there.
"The Netherlands is one of the most enterprising countries in the world, with an increasing number of successful startups. But we have to be more ambitious. We want to attract more foreign startups and encourage Dutch businesses to grow into large international enterprises," said Henk Kamp, Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs, when announcing the appointment.
"Together with Kroes, the government will provide a new generation of startups with the opportunity to develop their talent, to innovate and to create jobs in the Netherlands, "he added.
Born in 1941, Kroes is a veteran politician in the Netherlands. From 1982 to 1989 she served as the Dutch Minister for Transport, Public Works and Telecommunication. After serving as Competition Commissioner for the European Commission from 2004 to 2009, she became in 2010 Vice-President of the European Commission, responsible for the Digital Agenda for Europe. Kroes departed from this position on Oct. 31 of this year.
"I am looking forward to further strengthening the Dutch startup-brand with the help of startups around the world," said Kroes in reaction to her new appointment, adding "Startups create the future themselves and thus generate new economic growth for the Netherlands."
For the coming 18 months, Kroes will lead the new StartupDelta initiative and devote herself to establishing the Netherlands as the best country in Europe to start up a business.
The initiative is a collaboration of government bodies, knowledge institutes, startups, financiers and businesses. StartupDelta will collaborate with existing startup hubs in the Netherlands, such as the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven and Kennispark Twente, and leading international hubs around the world.
The Special Envoy and her team will be located in Amsterdam.