Groningen regional representation at the European Career Fair.

Homeyra Abrishamkar
Netherlands Enterprise Agency

Ranking sixth in the Global Innovation Index and eighth in the Global Competitiveness Index of 2021, the Netherlands has proven to be one of the world’s most innovative countries.

The Dutch innovation ecosystem is notable. It covers unicorns like, Coolblue, TomTom, Mollie, Bitfury, and Adyen; established companies like ASML, Heineken, DSM, and Philips; and some of the world’s best research universities.

The five leading sectors in terms of job creation at this moment are HealthTech, FinTech, eCommerce, energy, and FoodTech. Other striving industries are agriculture, horticulture, water, and logistics and infrastructure.

However, innovators find it difficult to fill tech jobs, where engineers, computer scientists, and experts in life sciences are hardest to find. Since talent is essential for the innovation economy, the Dutch government is working hard in facilitating the search for talent abroad.

One of the targeted countries for talent recruitment is the United States, with its prestigious universities and tech talent. There are several programs that the Netherlands Innovation Network and the Netherlands Point of Entry organize and support to stimulate the flow of talent between the United States and the Netherlands, including the European Career Fair and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s MISTI’s internship program and Global Seed Funds.

European Career Fair

The Amsterdam regional representation at the European Career Fair.

In February 2022, the 26th edition of the European Career Fair took place virtually. This is an annual event organized by MIT students and allows students from the US to explore employment opportunities with European organizations.

This year, more than 40 Dutch organizations joined the virtual fair!

In concert with Academic Transfer and the Netherlands Point of Entry, the Netherlands Innovation Network in Boston organized an in-person program next to the digital fair, for a delegation of four companies and representatives from Amsterdam and Groningen.

The two-day, in-person program consisted of one-on-one interviews, a lunch with the Dutch, lectures on the future of talent with Harvard Business School, an overview global internship programs of Northeastern University, and a networking event.

Over 140 students engaged with the Dutch delegation, and the participating organizations are still conducting interviews with interested candidates at the time of this writing.

Two other programs to facilitate the flow of talent and research are MIT’s MISTI program and its Global Seed Funds.

MISTI internship program and Global Seed Fund

For the second time, MIT’s MISTI internship program for startups was facilitated. This internship program is set up in collaboration with MIT (Massachusetts Institution of Technology) and allows students from MIT to intern at a Dutch startup.

Last year’s edition took place remotely, however the internships are bound to happen in-person in the Netherlands this year. Eighteen Dutch companies and over 40 MIT students have participated in the pitch day and the students are soon to be matched with the companies to start their adventure in the Netherlands in May.

The MISTI Global Seed Fund helps researchers from the Netherlands explore new connections by supporting early-stage collaborations with researchers at peer institutions at MIT.

This year, the first call for applications between the Netherlands and MIT will award two to four proposals.

Exploring opportunities to further strengthen transatlantic exchange

My name is Homeyra Abrishamkar, I am a government trainee at the Netherlands Point of Entry, and from February until the end of April 2022 I will work at the Netherlands Innovation Network in Boston to research on options on setting up similar programs to facilitate internships toward the Netherlands and promote the exchange of students and researchers between the Netherlands and academic institutions in and around Massachusetts.

Setting up similar programs would give Dutch companies the opportunity to engage with talented professionals and provide the students the opportunity to become acquainted with Dutch (work) culture and to consider a career in the Netherlands after their graduation.