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Prime Minister Balkenende officially launches change agenda for Dutch economy / Dutch Innovation Platform

Dutch Innovation PlatformDutch Innovation Platform

Utrecht, 1 October 2008

innovatieplatform-02The Dutch Innovation Platform has brought together a large group of prominent players for the change agenda for the Dutch economy. The group consists of leading men and women in executive positions in the business world. These top players and the members of the Innovation Platform will take the lead in respect of 10 actions from the The Netherlands, connecting global ambitions change agenda. Prime Minister Balkenende, chairman of the Innovation Platform, has officially launched the change agenda and presented these players.

It is essential to strengthen the competitive strength of the Dutch economy. As it stands, productivity growth in the Netherlands lags behind the competition, and Dutch businesses are less profitable in comparison with their foreign counterparts. To improve the entrepreneurial climate and the conditions for establishing a business, various actions will soon be taken.

Prime Minister Balkenende emphasises the objectives of the change agenda: “The Netherlands must join the top 5 most competitive countries. We, as a government, will need the support of a wide group of parties to achieve this goal. I am very pleased that this group of women and men are dedicating themselves so unselfishly on behalf of the Dutch economy, just at the moment when the wind is against us.”

Due to globalisation, the Netherlands must make the most of its strengths. The change agenda aims to achieve a strengthened international position for the Netherlands; a renewed economy as a core competence; strengthened spearheads in science and business; and innovation in the public sector. As Wiebe Draijer, member of the innovation platform and one of the initiators of Nederland in de Wereld (the Netherlands in the World), explains, “The Netherlands is capable of rapid change. For centuries, we have demonstrated that, through cooperation and an international orientation, our economy has revived itself time and again. We must strengthen that now more than ever.”

The Innovation Platform is initiating 10 actions in the change agenda, which will make an essential contribution to realising the plan’s goals.


The 10 actions and the top players who will carry them out are:

1. Fifty international enterprises: The Innovation Platform wants fifty prominent, international Fortune 500 companies to choose the Netherlands as a basis for their global or European business operations.

IP TOP PLAYERS
Feike Sijbesma, CEO of DSM
Wiebe Draijer, managing director of McKinsey

TOP PLAYERS OUTSIDE IP
Peter Elverding, former CEO of DSM
Hans Smits, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority.

2. Paint the World Orange contest: In 2008, the Innovation Platform is challenging those with creative bent to position the Netherlands as ‘the place to be’ for companies and world-class athletes. A half-million euros is available for the best international campaign.

IP TOP PLAYERS
Bas Verhart, CEO of Mediarepublic

TOP PLAYERS OUTSIDE IP
Marcel Wanders, top designer and entrepreneur (jury chairman)

3. 1,000 PhDs: Together with VSNU (Association of the Universities in the Netherlands), KNAW (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences) and NOW (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research), the Innovation Platform is striving to attract to the Netherlands 1,000 extra first rate international doctoral students and PhDs.

IP TOP PLAYERS
Robbert Dijkgraaf, professor and chairman of KNAW

TOP PLAYERS OUTSIDE the IP
Emmo Meijer, senior vice president for food R&D at Unilever
Dirk Jan van den Berg, chairman of the board of directors of TU Delft

4. International schools: For international entrepreneurs, captains of industry and top scientists, international education is an important consideration and condition for settling in the Netherlands. The Innovation Platform wants the international primary and secondary education in the Netherlands to be among the world’s best by 2015.

IP TOP PLAYERS
Kees Tetteroo, ROC director

TOP PLAYERS OUTSIDE the IP
Raoul Oberman, president of AmCham and director at McKinsey

5. Large projects: The Innovation Platform supports the realisation of a number of large and innovative projects in the Netherlands that showcase our economic strengths internationally. The first project that the Innovation Platform has supported is a multifunctional energy island off the coast in the North Sea.

IP TOP PLAYERS
Hans de Boer, entrepreneur

6. The Netherlands as an international testing ground for innovation:
The discriminating consumers in the Netherlands and the diverse makeup of its population makes it an excellent testing ground – a living lab – for testing new products and services. The Innovation Platform challenges Dutch companies to continue to build on this position as a testing ground for internationally operating companies.

IP TOP PLAYERS
Bas Verhart, CEO of Mediarepublic

TOP PLAYERS OUTSIDE the IP
Veli-Pekka Niitamo, Chair of European Living and Director of mWork Research Nokia

7. Growth accelerator: The Netherlands has relatively few small to medium-sized enterprises that grow to be among the global elite. The Innovation Platform and the Ministry of Economic Affairs have started the Groeiversneller (Growth Accelerator) programme, which aims to help a minimum of 100 small to medium-sized enterprises increase turnover from a few million to at least 20 million euros per year, partly through internationalisation.

IP TOP PLAYERS
Hans de Boer, entrepreneur

TOP PLAYERS OUTSIDE the IP
Raymond Spanjar, entrepreneur and co-founder of internet sites IEX.nl and Hyves;

8. Smarter working: Recent studies by the Innovation Platform have shown that growth in production at many companies lags behind that of their industry peers. With the campaign Slimmer Werken (Smarter Working), the Innovation Platform, together with employers, trade unions, Syntens and Senter-Novem, wants to encourage 10,000 companies in the coming years to increase their productivity.

IP TOP PLAYERS
Melek Usta, director of Colourful People

TOP PLAYERS OUTSIDE the IP
Loek Hermans, chairman of MKB NL (Association of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises)

9. Knowledge investment agenda: Realising the ambitions and actions of the Knowledge Investment agenda is important to enable the Netherlands to reclaim its prominent position as a knowledge economy within the OECD.

IP TOP PLAYERS
Alexander Rinnooy Kan, chairman of SER (Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands)
Gerard Kleisterlee, president and CEO of Philips
Robbert Dijkgraaf, chairman of KNAW
Kees Tetteroo, ROC director

10. Strengthening key areas: Internationally prominent key areas play an important role for the Netherlands in the global economy: Flowers & Food; High-Tech Systems and Materials; Water; Creative Industry; Chemistry and Pensions & Social Security. The strength of these key areas will be tested this autumn.

IP TOP PLAYERS
Wiebe Draijer, managing director of McKinsey

TOP PLAYERS OUTSIDE the IP
Ad Scheepbouwer, CEO of KPN


Contact information:
For more information about this press release and the Innovation Platform, please contact: Maria Henneman, +31(0)6 113 76550, mh@innovatieplatform.nl