“Together we can accelerate innovation in South Holland”
Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), TU Delft and the Municipality of Delft have decided that EUR will become a shareholder of tech incubator YES!Delft. This means that YES!Delft will be part of the recently established Erasmus Enterprise. All parties aim to further stimulate the region’s innovation potential. EUR, TU Delft and the Municipality of Delft see innovation as a key opportunity to have impact on concrete social issues.
“The collaboration with YES!Delft is a natural progression of the convergence strategy of EUR, Erasmus MC and TU Delft, and further enhances the use of knowledge with respect to several big social themes. We aim to connect the Rotterdam and Delft ecosystems and link our expertises. The regional innovation climate will receive a boost through stimulating diversity in startup teams (tech, Business and Social)”, thus Rutger Engels, Rector Magnificus of Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Innovation through diversity
The Rotterdam region is a rich breeding ground for diversity and entrepreneurship. A multidisciplinary approach is vital for innovation and to find solutions for challenges in the region. Innovation demands a combination of different perspectives (tech, social, commercial) starting both from the solution as well as the need. Startup teams that can make use of that diversity can innovate faster and better, which is why the convergence of EUR and YES!Delft is an important driver of enterprising initiatives. The synergy between EUR disciplines on the one hand and TU disciplines on the other, results in more diverse teams that can better respond to social challenges. We believe that we can accelerate startups in this way.
“Successful startups always have a diverse founder team in which the team members complement each other and often differ in profile. This collaboration enables us to bring together EUR Business talent and TU Delft technical talent, so that we can form optimal startup teams in the region”, explained Evert Jaap Lugt, managing director of YES!Delft.
Entrepreneurship as vehicle for social impact
In the context of its Strategy 2024, in the coming years EUR aims to increase its impact in the Rotterdam Delft region. This is why we are investing in entrepreneurship. “Entrepreneurship offers a route to create that social impact. Together with YES!Delft, existing EUR initiatives, such as ECE and ERBS will form one entrepreneurial community within Erasmus Enterprise. The collaboration with third parties will be stimulated and facilitated here, and innovative students, staff and alumni can find space here to collaborate on their social initiatives and/or innovative startups”, stated Rutger Engels.
In addition to the initiatives offered in locations in Delft and The Hague, in Rotterdam YES!Delft is going to offer programmes that connect to the expertise on the Woudestein campus. YES!Delft is concentrating here on specific focus areas (verticals) such as Social Tech. Here resolving urban issues, such as children and family services and care for the elderly, have an important position. “Technology enables us to have a huge impact in the social area; an area that has been neglected by the market for too long. We want to use this collaboration to change this”, stated Evert Jaap Lugt.
The Municipality of Delft is wholeheartedly supporting this development, explained deputy mayor Bas Vollebregt from the Municipality of Delft. “YES!Delft has proved hugely successful in supporting promising companies. Together with the other shareholder, TU Delft, we are implementing a strategy in which we aim to increase this impact. This includes expansions to other strong economic clusters in the region in which the collaboration with Erasmus University is a perfect match. The technical talent from Delft and economic talent from Rotterdam can complement each other beautifully.”
[Picture] Prof.dr. Vareska van de Vrande Academic lead Erasmus Enterprise and Michiel Muller chairman of the Erasmus Trustfonds and EUR Alumnus.
YES!Delft regional incubation powerhouse
YES!Delft was founded by TU Delft, TNO and the Municipality of Delft, and the incubator plays a key role in the innovation ecosystem in TU Delft and the South Holland region. “TU Delft is proud of the success of YES!Delft. Various spin-offs have been able to develop successfully there, and the incubator is a household name on TU Delft Campus. Different companies have joined in from the Rotterdam region in recent years, and we are now joining forces to stimulate entrepreneurship in our region on important social themes. This is a perfect match for the close collaboration between TU Delft, EUR and Erasmus MC”, stated Executive Board Chair, Tim van der Hagen.
Top 5 incubators
In the annual UBI ranking, YES!Delft is considered to be one of the top 5 incubators in the world. With over 120 tech startups in the incubator, over 100 mentors and over 40 corporate partners, YES!Delft manages the largest startup ecosystem in the Netherlands. Examples of successful initiatives with a social approach include the Somnox sleep robot (now established in Rotterdam as a spin-off from TU Delft) and, something vital in these times, UV Smart, in which medical equipment can be disinfected in seconds using UV light.