Corporates and startups collaborate in Amsterdam

When StartupAmsterdam first began, one of our main objectives was to further strengthen collaborations between startups and corporates in the city. Since we started our Corporate Network back in 2016, we’ve made huge progress. The Corporate Network platform consists of over 80 of the city’s most successful corporates, and our fourth Corporate Network Event – with a focus on tech talent – is just one example of the progress we’ve already made. It took place on 8 March 2018.

Another successful Corporate Network Event

The event happened at the impressive new rent24 co-working space in Amsterdam’s stunning Magna Plaza. The historic location, complete with the stylish interior of the space, made quite the impression on attendees, which included corporate partners (including Kraft Heinz, Nike and Amazon) and Amsterdam tech initiatives (including Growth Tribe, Decoded and Codaisseur).

Also present were four of our project: a partners – Elsevier, Effectory, Flow Traders and PICNIC. The project: a programme gives skilled tech talent the chance to apply for sought-after vacancies in Amsterdam. Find out more at

After some inspiring introductions from rent24 and our very own Eline Vliegen (head of partnerships, StartupAmsterdam), the keynotes and presentations kicked off.

StartupAmsterdam’s Ruben Nieuwenhuis and Amsterdam Economic Board’s Nina Tellegen took the stage to announce a new phase of the Corporate Network. From now on, it will be managed in a joint effort between StartupAmsterdam and the Amsterdam Economic Board. In addition, Ruben and Nina unveiled TechConnect - a new public/private initiative focused on tech talent.

“We are collaborating to make Amsterdam an even better tech hub and an even better startup city,” said Ruben. Needless to say, given the successes of the Amsterdam Economic Board and StartupAmsterdam, this is one collaboration to watch out for.

Next up was pitching guru David Beckett, who actually moderated the entire event, too. He gave a charisma-packed talk on the importance of pitching for attracting talent. Naturally, the recruiters in the room – and everyone else, actually – were hanging on his every word.

Corporate Network Event Amsterdam

Beckett is a tough speaker to follow, but Alper Utku, president of the European Leadership University, was up to the challenge. His inspiring talk – covering ‘on-demand’ talent, workers’ mindsets, the changing shape of learning and development, and more – was a hit with the audience.

Expert roundtables

After the talks, two 30-minute expert roundtable sessions took place, in which attendees discussed the biggest questions about all things tech talent. There were six different tables throughout the two sessions, each one hosted by one or more leading experts in attracting tech talent (from PICNIC, RAVE-cruitment, BIT students, IZI Solutions, Amazon, Codaisseur and Growth Tribe).

Corporate Network Event in Amsterdam

Topics included how to attract skilled talent, how to spark curiosity around emerging tech, how to collaborate with talent academies and more. At the end of each session, one representative from each group came forward to share the conclusions and lessons that their group came to. Throughout the entire hour, the attendees took part in lively discussions and fully engaged with this unique opportunity to learn from their peers. Corporates were learning from tech initiatives and startups. And startups and tech initiatives were learning from corporates. So all in all, it was a great triumph for collaboration

Interesting conclusions from the roundtables included that:

  • The person who scouts talent is crucial; the right recruiter will always find the right kind of tech talent.
  • It’s important to activate tech curiosity in employees by making tech more understandable for them, engaging them in the conversation and stopping them from feeling intimidated by tech.
  • Society is undergoing faster and faster technological improvements. Employees can no longer learn something once and then apply it in their career till retirement; they need to continuously learn and up-skill themselves, and employers need to have a major role in this.

During the second session, Gijs Notte of RAVE-cruitment was asked, “do you really think there is a shortage of tech talent in the Netherlands?” His reply? “No question. In the last 10 years, there has been a continuous shortage of tech talent – about 3-8 thousand people to be exact.” In fact, in Amsterdam alone, Adyen is currently looking to hire 150 developers in 2018 – that’s a lot. Same for Elsevier, which is seeking 120 tech workers.

Luckily, our project: a programme is taking steps to fill the talent gap with highly skilled international and local talent.  

Pitches from initiatives enabling digital transformation

Next up after the roundtable sessions were pitches from five leading tech talent initiatives and academiesCodaisseur, Growth Tribe, DELITELABS, Decoded and Joboti, which were all very well-received by attendees. This led to the networking part of the event, where attendees and the initiatives got to know each other over drinks. We can’t wait to see some of the collaborations that follow!

If you’d like to be part of StartupAmsterdam’s Corporate Network, get connected to startup liaisons, innovation managers and other stakeholders, get access to up-and-coming technology and stay up to date with startup events, head over to