The startup capital of Europe’s west coast
As the article explains, Ollongren compares Amsterdam to California’s famous Silicon Valley, and refers to Amsterdam as the ”startup capital of Europe’s west coast.” And with good reason: American tech companies with a major presence in Amsterdam currently include Uber, Netflix, and Tesla.
Emphasizing what’s already there
According to Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten, cofounder of The Next Web Conference, Ollongren is “creating awareness of what’s already there.” She successfully emphasizes Amsterdam’s long-established strengths, such as its strong universities, near-native English speakers, and a world-class international airport.
But competition is intense among European cities looking to attract startups, especially as US startups begin to expand internationally. Many entrepreneurs initially consider Berlin or London, which is why Ollongren has introduced many new initiatives since starting her term at the end of 2014.
Bringing the startups to Amsterdam, and vice versa
In January, for example, Ollongren rolled out StartupAmsterdam, an initiative designed to attract international IT talent and venture capital to Amsterdam. With support from local companies such as Booking.com, TomTom, and the Rockstart Accelerator, StartupAmsterdam is making Amsterdam’s transformation into a tech capital seem much more likely.
Actively seeking out new entrepreneurs has also proven successful. In June, Ollongren travelled to New York to solidify a partnership that aims to make Amsterdam a gateway to Europe for NYC startups. New York, in turn, would also facilitate US expansions for Amsterdam businesses, through specialized boot camps. The alliance would foster growth in both the tech and creative industries.