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Mr. Prime Minister, meet Mr. Prezident

Surprise E-mail

I’m fortunate to receive regular invites to various events in New York, the city where I live. But on September 13th I received a special one. I was invited by the Dutch Consulate to attend a meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Rutte. Needless to say, I accepted.

Half Moon

This meeting was the official opening of a public-private partnership project called Halve Maen (Half Moon). It’s purpose: serve as a one-stop resource center for Dutch startups that want to expand their businesses to the US. Halve Maen (the name of explorer Henry Hudson's ship), is used to signify the long-standing Dutch/New York trade relation. As Mr.Prezident is currently working on its Dutch/American relations - Albeit 408 years later than Mr. Hudson - we had something to contribute to the discussion. With its enormous economy, America remains a very attractive proposition to international companies who want to grow in new markets.

The Big Day

September 21st, I arrive at the new B. NYC in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Sitting at the table were US partners from the Brooklyn Navy Yard, New York City Economic Development Cooperation and Smart Cities NYC Conference as well as a few key members of Dutch startups that are already active on these shores. Including; Appical, Innovation Booster, Revimedia, and yours truly (Mr. Prezident).

During the roundtable session, participants got the opportunity to share experiences and expertise. Ideas about the mentor network were discussed with the Prime Minister, as well as the various hurdles international startups face. I was asked about the types of questions I receive from startups that I have previously mentored through the Dutch Base Camp foundation. I responded that most questions I receive revolve around the topics of establishing a presence, market presentation techniques, and how the US business approach varies from typical European practices. I believe that with the existing networking avenues and new soft landing services on offer in New York, hungry entrepreneurs have all the tools at their disposal to overcome any hurdles they may face, depending of course on a sound and relevant business. The discussion then moved towards developments in the smart cities sector, the ongoing partnerships with organizations in New York City, as well as the internationalization of B.Building Business.

When the session closed we were delighted to take part in the obligatory group photo. Prime Minister Rutte was then quickly whisked away by his aides to catch his flight at JFK.

Written by Nicholas van der Kwast (pictured left)
Picture by Chantal Heijnen