Consul General Dirk Janssen participates in the virtual talk show on January 26 with Special Envoy, HRH Prince Constantijn van Oranje (on screen).

Ten Dutch startups, founded by students and staff of Dutch universities and university medical centers, will take part in the Digital Mission West Coast USA through March 5.

The West Coast is home to the leading universities Stanford and Berkeley, as well as startup valhalla Silicon Valley. Hosted by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in San Francisco, the startups will learn about the latest developments in their specialist field and be shown the ropes of doing business and pitching in the United States by experienced entrepreneurs.

The program was launched during a virtual talk show on January 26 with Special Envoy, HRH Prince Constantijn van Oranje.

The mission was one of the prizes for winning the Academic Startup Competition 2020. The 10 winners were announced in November 2020. The digital mission is being made possible by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy and the Consulate General in San Francisco.

“Our universities and university medical centers are producing so many fantastic ideas and great innovations,” said Mona Keijzer. “But that’s just the first step. How do you get your idea out into society and onto the market? I want to encourage our bright minds to do business the Silicon Valley way. So they can conquer the world from the Netherlands with their products or services and, in doing so, create economic growth and jobs for our country.”

Digital Mission West Coast USA

Specially selected mentors and Silicon Valley experts are helping the 10 winners prepare for the mission by organizing pitch training for them, for example.

During the mission, the winners will meet virtually with investors, entrepreneurs and other experts who will give them advice and help them expand their network. The Consulate General will also ensure that they are introduced to leading academics at Stanford and Berkeley.

Finally, they will virtually visit prominent companies to explore opportunities for collaboration.

Academic Startup Competition

The Academic Startup Competition is an initiative of the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU), the Netherlands Academy of Technology and Innovation (AcTI), the Netherlands Federation of University Medical Centres (NFU) and, and is supported by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy.

The competition’s organizers wanted to highlight the importance of valorization as one of the core tasks of the academic world. In addition to the digital mission, the winners will be offered an introduction to the academic ecosystem, an introduction to the network of Dutch entrepreneurs, investors and businesses, and a coaching program by local and international mentors. They will also hold the title “Best Academic Startup of 2020” for a year.

Holland in the Valley

The Consulate General of the Netherlands in San Francisco supports Dutch entrepreneurs in a variety of ways to help them gain a foothold in Silicon Valley.

The consulate’s Holland in the Valley network promotes collaboration between leading Dutch companies, students, and the region’s innovative ecosystem. The program aims to develop Dutch entrepreneurial talent and enable Dutch startups to grow faster and more sustainably in Silicon Valley.

This is achieved not only through the Academic Startup Competition but also via de Holland in the Valley Academy, an initiative that helps Dutch startups scale up internationally, through mentoring by experienced Dutch entrepreneurs in the US.