Another successful edition of the StartupCity Summit Amsterdam

The first edition of StartupCity Summit Amsterdam took place last year, bringing together 80 representatives from 45 international cities to the Dutch capital. This year was bigger, better and boasted even more names and collaboration opportunities – and that’s saying something.

On 25 May 2018, the second edition took place at The Next Web, Europe’s leading tech conference. The summit included knowledge-packed keynotes, peer-to-peer learning and roundtable sessions, on topics such as: developing a Startup City action programme; the city as a launching customer; globally connecting ecosystems; attracting and upskilling talent; and more.

This year’s StartupCity Summit featured 200 city officials and local-ecosystem builders from a whopping 100 cities across the globe, including Paris, Oslo, Barcelona and Hong Kong. Connections were made and ideas were exchanged, and the event was once again a huge success.

“People joined us from all over the world,” said Bas Beekman, StartupAmsterdam’s public lead. “And the most striking thing is that they all have the same challenges in strengthening the tech ecosystems in their cities.”

Startup City Summit Amsterdam at TNW

An exciting programme

After a welcome presentation from StartupAmsterdam and Startup Europe, speaker Pär Hedberg (CEO, Stockholm Innovation and Growth) hit the stage to give an insightful talk on the role of the local government in setting up a successful private-public startup incubator. Naturally, Pär’s inspiring model of collaboration – learned from steering Scandinavia’s leading accelerator and incubator – was well-received by the audience.

Also a hit with the crowd was the next keynote, from Chris Heivly (Entrepreneur in Residence at TechStars). Chris talked the audience through the best practices of first-tier startup cities – as well as how to plan the next steps if an ecosystem is already flourishing.

Next up were the two peer-learning sessions, with an inspiring Deputy Mayor Panel in between. The panel featured the deputy mayor of St Louis, Missouri, who discussed the role of local government in entrepreneurial ecosystems – something that Amsterdam does very well.

“The best thing I learnt was how the city of Amsterdam is doing innovative procurement and trying to be a platform for new startups,” said Santtu von Bruun (City of Helsinki).

Attendees gained invaluable insights from the two peer-to-peer learning sessions, which covered the following topics:

  • Developing a StartupCity action programme.

  • The city as a launching customer for startups.

  • Activating corporates for startup & tech ecosystems.

  • How to get a startup ecosystem globally connected.

  • Supporting startups and scale-ups to scale internationally.

  • Attracting, reskilling and upskilling talent.

  • Establishing inclusive growth.

  • How to activate more startups in local ecosystems.

  • How to push female entrepreneurship in startup cities.

  • Growing an ecosystem in a second-tier startup city.

  • The effect of blockchain on cities.

  • How to develop innovation districts.

Startup City Summit Amsterdam at TNW

Following the second peer-to-peer learning session, Ingrid Devin (director, Dell Women’s Entrepreneurship Network) gave an inspiring presentation on how to push female entrepreneurship in startup cities. Ingrid’s advice – spanning from a decade’s worth of experience about diversity and inclusion – inspired and captivated the audience.

Ingrid is a tough speaker to follow, but Karen Bhatia (vice president, New York City Economic Development Corporation) was up to the challenge. She advised the attendees on how to create a community around emerging new tech such as AI and blockchain. “The biggest takeaway is the need for collaboration,” said Karen. “From NYC’s perspective, we’ve learned so much from our colleagues.”

Luckily, the sort of partnership that Karen was talking about just got a whole lot easier, as the launch of the SCALE.CITIES Network closed the event. The network is a collaboration of cities – each one represented by its public-ecosystem builder. The members will work together in strengthening their local ecosystem, all by sharing their expertise, data and best practices. Following the launch, attendees were given a copy of the SCALE.CITIES handbook: 12 best practices for strengthening your local startup ecosystem. Learn more about SCALE.CITIES and download a PDF of the handbook.

Startup City Summit Amsterdam at TNW

A promising future

It goes without saying, but with the success of the event and the unveiling of the SCALE.CITIES network, there’s plenty to look forward to. We can’t wait to see some of the collaborations that follow, and we're looking forward to see what the future holds.

The more cities that join, the more we can create pathways for startups to grow internationally,” said Ruben Nieuwenhuis, StartupAmsterdam’s private lead.