The Chicago skyline. Photo: Austin Neill via Unsplash


by Tyrone Pater
Consulate General of the Netherlands in Chicago

The Consulate General in Chicago has launched the ‘’Orange on the Lake’’ community, an initiative geared toward helping Dutch businesses launch their businesses in the US via Chicago and the Midwest by offering a top-notch network and additional resources about doing business in the region.

Under the Orange on the Lake initiative, the Consulate General is proud to announce two launching partners: World Business Chicago and 1871. These organizations will offer their extensive expertise, international programming and sizable network in Chicago to selected high-potential startups from the Netherlands.

In the future, the Consulate General hopes to establish more partnerships with key players in the Midwest, such as large corporates.

The Orange on the Lake signing ceremony.

Orange on the Lake uses a digital platform provided by Dutch startup MentorJam to connect promising Dutch startups with interests in Chicago with mentors who have established Dutch businesses in the area. Additionally, the platform will also offer resources on how to do business in the USA, how to raise money in the USA, and cultural differences that need to be taken into account. The platform is invite-only and aims to create a community that is heavily focused on ‘’paying it forward.’’

Next to partnerships and community, the Consulate General will organize a number of events under the banner of Orange on the Lake. Events will include networking drinks, office hours, matchmaking events, webinars, and pitch events. In this regard, Orange on the Lake is a direct counterpart of the Holland in the Valley and OrangeXchange communities in San Francisco and Atlanta.

Long term, the goal is that companies with access to any of these communities will also have access to the other existing communities within the network.

Under the terms of the launch partnership with World Business Chicago and 1871, the two Chicago-based organizations will select anywhere between three to five high-potential Dutch startups every year. These startups will receive benefits such as heavily discounted office space at 1871 and specific tailored introductions from World Business Chicago, among other benefits.

The Consulate General is working with World Business Chicago and 1871 on the selection criteria and application process. More information on how to apply will follow later. For now, please email me at tyrone.pater@minbuza.nl or more information about Orange on the Lake and the specific partnership with World Business Chicago and 1871.