Magazine #2 - 2015 www.wtcnl.com
magazine of cooperating wtca members in the netherlands
DUTCH STARTUP IN SAN FRANCISCO ‘ONLY ONE WILL BE THE NEW APPLE’ European Encounter INTERNATIONAL TRADE & INVESTMENT GALA 5 MUST HAVES FOR SMART BUSINESS
IT & COMMUNICATION let’s get digital
DERK SAUER, BUILDER OF A RUSSIAN MEDIA EMPIRE
‘You report news online, not in the paper’
MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN FINDING FINANCE PROFESSIONALS
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Coverstory Derk Sauer - Onexim
‘Our objective writing is unique in Russia’
World Wide WTC
On the move John Carnegie - DynEd
Column: Helga Meijer Iris Ohyama Europe BV
Interview Vincent van de Poll - GROM
WTCA goes global
8 entrepreneurs about their most memorable business trip, source of inspiration and digitization.
18. T:280 mm
Interview Jessika van Veen - Regus ‘Smart workers work everywhere’
The WTC The Hague International Trade and Investment Gala
24. Special: IT & Communication
Expat Life in Amsterdam
‘I don’t bow that easily’
‘We raised 25,000 dollars with crowdfunding’ WTCA Member Seminar in New York City
Facts & Figures about Dubai WTC
24. Facts & Figures by Accenture 26. Interview: Ed Staal - Unica Schutte ICT 29. Must haves: 5 smart gadgets 31. Column: Pieter Voogt PauwR Online Marketing
Colophon WTC-NL magazine is issued by ASEGA Media on behalf of WTC Netherlands (WTCs Almere, Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Leeuwarden, Rotterdam, Schiphol Airport, The Hague and Twente). www.wtcnl.com ASEGA Media Parnassusweg 819, 9th floor, 1082 LZ, Amsterdam (UN- Studio, Zuidas), T +31 (0)20 820 39 89 Goirkestraat 90, 5046 GN, Tilburg, T +31 (0)13 545 32 98 firstname.lastname@example.org - www.asega.nl Editor-in-chief: Milou Peeters Management: Bob Oostelbos Sales Executives: Jean-Paul Tremio, Nicole Pak, Romy Lange Art Director: Daniëlle Kool Translation: Taalcentrum-VU Final Editor: Robyn Grafton
Editors/contributors: Milou Peeters, Mandy Tromp, Christine Spanjaard, Sanne Offringa, Karin Starreveld, Fleur Venner, Helga Meijer, Pieter Voogt, Anja van Beijnum, WTC-NL, WTCA Photography: Ronald Hoeben, Wouter van Ierssel, Lotte de Graaf, Pepijn Leupen, Jalisa Oudenaarde, Tommy de Lange, WTC-NL, WTCA Editorial Advisory Board: Patricia van Drongelen, Robert Anemaet, Marloes Schurink Thanks to: Derk Sauer, Eveline Steenbergen, Christine Huiskamp, John Carnegie, Vincent van de Poll, Ed Staal, Jessika van Veen Printed by: Q-Promotions Drukwerk Print run each edition: 5.000 copies Frequency: Two times a year 2015/2016 Advertisement/inquiries: Please contact ASEGA Media at T +31 (0)20 820 39 89 or email@example.com Copyright: © 2015 ASEGA Media. All rights reserved. Nothing appearing in this magazine may be copied or reproduced, in any matter whatsoever, unless explicit permission has been given in writing.
Around the globe in sixty minutes Laptop: check. Good Wi-Fi connection: check. Skype app updated: check. And voilà: a few seconds later, Derk Sauer appears on my iPhone screen and an exhilarating exchange begins to unfold. While my fingers sprint across the keyboard and my eyes dart between Derk and the screen, it suddenly dawns on me how cool this is: he, relaxed and reclining in his executive chair in Moscow; while I, in the Zuidas business district in Amsterdam, get on with the cover story ‘live’. The clocks in Russia are two hours ahead of the clocks in the Netherlands. We are thousands of kilometres apart, but it feels as though we were seated opposite each other. Barely one hour later, a second interview takes place. Again, it’s on the other side of the world, only this time in San Francisco. As daylight turns to dusk here, Vincent van de Poll, who runs his own business in the USA, starts his working day. He tells me that his Dutch partner manages the business from Hong Kong and that the sixteen-hour time difference is no problem at all. It never fails to fascinate me how technology makes national borders and time zones fade away.
‘It’s fascinating how time zones fade away’
The international WTC community is also reaping the rewards of the wondrous world of accelerated globalization. Partnership deals are sealed on a worldwide scale, online meetings are set up, and limitless networks are built. A quote from New York Times journalist Thomas L. Friedman makes you stop and think about ‘then’. Cast your mind back to 2004, the year the first edition of The World Is Flat, his international bestseller on globalization, appeared: ’Facebook didn’t exist, Twitter was a sound, the cloud was in the sky, 4G was a parking place, LinkedIn was a prison, applications were what you sent to college and Skype, for most people, was a typo.’ Can you still picture how it was? So cherish this piece of tangible reality you hold in your hands. Even if we are Digital Transformers, as our columnist Pieter Voogt claims, it has to be said that leafing, instead of swiping, still has a certain something. We hope you enjoy our second issue and wish you a good read!
Drs. Milou Peeters Editor-in-chief WTC-NL magazine firstname.lastname@example.org 7
‘Our objective writing is unique in Russia’ 8
A down-to-earth Dutch boy building a business empire in Russia? Derk Sauer did it. Twenty-five years ago he wound up in the Wild East by chance and went on to make a fortune with news daily The Moscow Times and glossies such as Cosmopolitan and Playboy. Sauer still lives and works in Moscow and he still loves it, even though the atmosphere is turning grimmer now that international politics have taken a turn for the worse. ‘Sometimes I do think: what am I still doing here?’
One-way ticket Sauer was working as an editor of the Dutch magazine Nieuwe Revu when, in 1989, he decided on a one-way ticket to Russia. “Actually, I ended up there by mistake. In the Netherlands I’d met a couple of Russian journalists who advised me to come to Moscow. Russian history, the fall of the Wall… The world was changing and I thought it would be interesting to be there, in the thick of it. So my wife Ellen and I decided to go on an adventure. We set up a magazine and when that grew quickly we chose to expand. With our own publishing house, Independent Media, we launched The Moscow Times and local versions of successful international titles like Cosmopolitan.”
‘Young Russians are incredibly career-oriented’
everything America does is bad. You can really tell that people are influenced by that constant stream of propaganda. They look at you a different way, especially since the MH17 disaster. People I’ve known for years have suddenly started spouting Anti-Western rhetoric. And Europe has become negative about Russia, too. When all subtlety disappears on both sides, people see only the darkest aspects. I find that a shame.”
Riding the waves Within a few years Independent Media was an international multimedia business, even becoming market leader in Russia. In 2005 Sauer decided to sell the firm to Sanoma for €142 million. In the Netherlands he went on to set up Nieuw Amsterdam publisher, and became a partial owner of Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad. Asked how that came about, he replies, “All my life things have crossed my path by chance. I don’t have some mapped-out plan, I just ride the waves.” His directorship of Russian media company RBK, owner of the country’s largest independent news website, also fell into his lap. “I’d never thought about it before, but when I was called and asked if I wanted to do it, I suddenly found myself right in the middle of things.”
Fortunately, Sauer still enjoys the freedom he needs to practise independent journalism. “We started The Moscow Times in the days of Gorbachev and Yeltsin. Those were very free times; you could do anything. That’s changed completely in recent years. In the past two years, in particular, a lot has been reversed and much of the media is again under direct state control. The kind of objective writing we try to do with RBK is unique in Russia. The state attempts to direct us, too, of course. So far we’ve been able to resist that, but I can’t tell whether we’ll always succeed in the future.”
Anti-Western rhetoric Sauer stepped down from his post at RBK last summer. The fact that he, a foreigner, was running a Russian media firm had become a political issue. He therefore decided to move into the background and is now deputy chairman of Onexim, the investment fund which owns RBK. “I’m still responsible for what I did in my time at RBK. With the war in Syria, you do notice that the atmosphere here is becoming grimmer now. The TV only broadcasts state propaganda: everything Russia does is good and
Good sides Despite it all, for the time being Sauer still feels at home in dynamic Russia. “I do sometimes think ‘What am I still doing here?’ But then I have a convivial evening with Russian friends who tell me ‘Please stay, because what you do is important.’ That motivates me. Russia has so many positive sides as well. >>
Text: Milou Peeters | Photography: Ronald Hoeben
What I love about the Russians, for example, is that they are incredibly career-oriented. Unlike in the Netherlands, here it’s quite normal to hold a senior position at a young age. Media development is also much easier here than in the ‘rigid’ Dutch environment. At RBK we’re active on all media platforms, so we cover the entire spectrum. Our news website is by far the most important source of income: it brings in 90 per cent of our turnover. On RBK TV we provide both news and lifestyle programming. The magazines, on the other hand, take a more analytical approach, and in the newspaper we publish background pieces rather than hard news. Every medium has its own function, so that they reinforce one another. I’ve been arguing for years that we should be just as integrated in the Netherlands, but that’s going to be very difficult as long as newspapers, TV and online news remain separate businesses.” Dutch mentality Although Sauer has been unable to bring the Russian concept of integrated media to the Netherlands, he has taken a little of the Dutch mentality to Russia. “I consider it important to give my staff space and responsibility. I also try to put across practical thinking: cut the crap and get on with it. That democratic Dutch mentality is hugely appreciated, especially by the younger generation. Most Russian companies are entirely top-down. One boss decides on everything. By contrast, I’ve opted for a flat organization. I hardly make any decisions. My primary role is that of coach and inspirator.”
So who inspired Sauer? “When it comes to the publishing trade, I learnt a massive amount from Christian van Thillo, the boss of De Persgroep. I find him a hugely inspiring man. The same goes for Boudewijn Poelmann, founder of the Nationale Postcode Loterij and our partner right from the outset of the Russian venture. But my greatest source of inspiration by far is my family [Sauer and his wife have three sons – ed.]. In the 1990s we were seriously threatened by the mafia. One of my colleagues was even shot dead. But we persevered, and in the end that only made us stronger.” Antenna Doing business abroad is fun and adventurous, but how do you do it right? “You often need a local business partner to arrange things legally,” says Sauer. “Apart from that it’s essential that you make the right call about those you conduct business with, that they’re decent people. Contracts are great, but they mean nothing. On paper, Russia is governed by the rule of law. In practice, that’s meaningless. I took great care when looking for my partners, suppliers, distributors, printers. You mustn’t try to cut corners or outsmart people – that always works against you in the end. If you don’t feel OK about someone, just don’t do it. I’ve developed an antenna for that. I want to know what people are like. That says much more than a good deal or the right qualifications.”
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photography Jalisa Oudenaarde
Dutch Report New public square next to WTC Schiphol Airport A place where you can relax, do some work outdoors, or visit small events such as lunchtime concerts or an occasional event market. The new public square between The Base and WTC Schiphol Airport will be much more than just another square; it will create a pleasant working environment for local employees. An excellent example of place-making in Schiphol CBD, it represents a new public space concept which places the user at the centre. From approximately March 2016, the new square will form the setting for a new dynamic meeting place where anything can happen!
WTC Business Academy for your international success!
Felix van der Houwen, Christiaan Huijg, Maurits van Oranje and Michel van Honk
First edition of WTC-NL magazine presented to The Source BV and S2NRG BV WTC Netherlands Alliance was deeply honoured when none other than Maurits van Oranje agreed to appear on the cover of the first edition of WTC-NL magazine. Together with Felix van der Houwen and Michel van Honk, Prince Maurits has two companies, The Source BV and S2NRG BV, which are situated in the WTC on the Amsterdam Zuidas. Christiaan Huijg, Managing Director of WTC Amsterdam: “The first copy of the magazine confirms the cooperation between the World Trade Centers in the Netherlands with which we hope to create even more value for our tenants and members. We are proud that Prince Maurits, as a tenant of the WTC Amsterdam, participated in the first edition.”
In 2012, WTC Leeuwarden Center for Export & Import started the WTC Business Academy (WTCBA) with the aim to support international entrepreneurs. WTCBA shares a wealth of information on all aspects of internationalization. Almost 20 courses were given, together with experts such as Intro2Turkey, Launch Factory 88, and the Nederland-Rusland Centrum. Recently, the spotlight has been on India and Turkey. In 2016 themes such as Iran, Middle East, Poland, Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union, China and Japan & Korea will be addressed. See: www.wtcbusinessacademy.com
Live contact with WTC Istanbul
Top Design meets Top Business In October, Eindhoven was again the backdrop for the nine-day Dutch Design Week (DDW), the biggest design event in Northern Europe which this year showcased the work of more than 2,400 designers at 80 different locations. WTC Eindhoven participated in DDW with the Top Business Event, which centred this time on the Social Design Awards. Entrepreneurs visiting this 14th edition were inspired by countless new concepts from creative professionals and could also enrich their network while enjoying the opportunity for some lucrative business!
The new WTC Rotterdam Recently, a great deal of time and energy has been invested into setting up the new WTC Rotterdam organization, as wel as continuing all the current processes at the WTC. Many plans are being made for the future, including a major upgrade of the tower block and possible revitalization by, for example, opening a restaurant (for office tenants), a hotel, and perhaps even a restaurant/sky bar on the 23rd floor! You can view the new vision for the future in a cool YouTube video entitled ‘Enrich Your World,’ via wtcrotterdam.com
Mayor Van Aartsen, Executive Director WFIA Marleen Zuijderhoudt and Prime Minister Mark Rutte
WFIA celebrates its 15th anniversary The WestHolland Foreign Investment Agency (WFIA), which specializes in economic development and in winning and promoting foreign investments for the wider region of The Hague, celebrated its 15th anniversary at WTC The Hague on 3 September. The keynote speaker of the evening event was Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who stressed the importance of foreign investment for the Dutch economy. Marleen Zuijderhoudt, Executive Director of WFIA, said, “Prime Minister Rutte did us a great honour by attending. His appreciation of the work we do means a great deal to us, and we can look back on a very successful event.”
Robert Liet (left) winner WTC Twente Export Award 2015
Monthly live broadcasts from WTC Almere
Trioliet wins WTC Twente Export Award
Every last Friday of the month, the cameras run in the lobby of WTC Almere for Azaken Live: a programme for entrepreneurs that is aired live on azakenlive.nl. Topical issues are raised in each broadcast in round-table discussions with high-profile guests. Entrepreneurs can join the live sessions and also participate via Twitter. Afterwards, there is a networking get-together with drinks for entrepreneurial Almere and the surrounding region. The integrated concept of online TV, networking, and knowledge development fits in seamlessly with the aims of WTC Almere, which explains why they enjoy facilitating Azaken Live.
Trioliet from Oldenzaal has been pronounced winner of the WTC Twente Export Award 2015. The award is an initiative by WTC Twente business club and has been presented, since 2007, to a business that profiles itself strongly on the international stage. The jury said that what made Trioliet stand out was its vision of entrepreneurship, the level of innovation, and the fact that it also operates successfully outside Europe, in countries where doing business is not all that simple. Robert Liet, Director of Trioliet, replied, “We are very proud. This will encourage us to keep pushing the boundaries in business!” 13
Business Talk WTC-NL magazine asked members of eight WTCs the following:
1. Describe your most memorable international business trip. 2. Who is your source of inspiration in business? 3. How does digitization affect your company?
WTC schiphol airport Ton Krol Tax Consultant at Blue Clue Tax Solutions
WTC Eindhoven Arno Derx Commercial Director at Bekkers Autoschade Groep (car repairs)
1. The first thing that comes to mind is Cape Town in 1999. We were staying at a hotel near the Waterfront, which was surrounded by a huge security fence. By 2009 that fence was gone and you could go anywhere freely. The bustle of Buenos Aires and New Delhi are impressive, too, but Shanghai made the biggest impression of all. Even on zebra crossings you have to run for your life, because the traffic just drives straight across. I’m tall and blonde, and when we took an excursion many Chinese wanted to be photographed with me. That was a very funny experience. 2. That’s the late Steve Jobs and Elon Musk. Both achieved a great deal by pursuing their own ideas, and actually realizing them. I hugely admire people who don’t let the opinions of others divert them from their own course. 3. When I started working, computers were just coming in. You still corrected typed reports by hand, documents were kept in filing cabinets and professional literature in the library. Now we work entirely digitally and several of us can work on the same file simultaneously, nothing ever goes missing and the library is online. For me, computerization is a blessing.
1. Our visit to the Ferrari factory in Maranello was very special. As a true car-lover, you find yourself in a little Italian village where everything revolves around Ferrari. The place beautifully combines the past and present. It goes without saying that people are proud to work for Ferrari and make those cars. Ferrari has been far ahead of its time for decades, and that’s still one of its secrets; in Maranello you can see a lot, but not everything. 2. That’s our near neighbour here at De Hurk in Eindhoven, Wim van der Leegte. He joined his father’s business at the age of nineteen and six years later he was the sole proprietor. Since then the company has grown every year. If you have the courage, drive and vision to take over a car manufacturer, then you really are a true entrepreneur. 3. Digitization has hugely influenced our way of working. Naturally, we respond to every new technology, like hybrid cars. In recent years we’ve invested heavily in equipment incorporating new damage repair technologies. We also use a computerized capacity planning system to schedule jobs and we issue workshop tasks and technical information through tablets. On top of that, our staff use an app to photograph their work so that everyone always has the correct information.
1. I have great memories of my first trip to Tokyo, Japan, in 1995. The IUMI [International Union of Marine Insurance] conference took place there. My wife and I used the opportunity to go on a tour of this wonderful country with so many different sides to it. 2. On 1 November 2015 I will have been in the insurance business for 37 years, 33 of which I’ve spent in the co-insurance market. I started in my father’s business after he died suddenly in August 1982, I really was thrown in at the deep end. For six years, from 1987 to 1993, I ran an underwriting firm with Michael O’Connor. That period definitely shaped me. Michael has sadly passed away, but he remains an important inspiration for me. 3. To be honest, I’m not an IT person, but I do benefit from the fantastic communications and research opportunities IT affords us. They are fundamental to the running of our business. Consider things such as analyses of our portfolio by product or producer, or concerning causes of damage in combination with signed-up products. With that kind of information we can adjust our acceptance policy if needed.
Harry Mulder Managing Director at DUAL Netherlands BV (marine underwriting)
WTC Leeuwarden Kris Tirry Team Leader at MPC Industries (engineering)
WTC Almere Raymond Pappot Director at Incasso- en Adviesbureau VMP & Partners BV (debt collection and consultancy)
1. In 1999 my Chinese contact Michael and I visited suppliers in China to source parts for our products. Because it was my first trip to the country, Michael took me to some of its famous landmarks. But I hadn’t taken his Chinese way of sightseeing into account. I spent three minutes walking the Great Wall and not many more in the Forbidden City… It was a matter of snap, take a picture and onto the next sight. Michael and I still do good business together, but I’ve strongly advised against him taking up a career as a tourist guide! 2. I can think of several names: Simon Sinek, Tony Robbins, Ricardo Semler, Viktor Frankl, Daniel Pink and John Strelecky. What they all have in common is that they put people first. Like me, they see people not as corporate resources but as the architects of businesses and of their own lives. Viewed from that perspective, they move from being co-workers to being co-builders who deserve all the space they need to vent and develop ideas. 3. Digitization has had only positive effects for me. Our company has six branches in Europe, all working simultaneously with the same ERP software for days on end thanks to the cloud and problem-free high-speed connections. A second example is a packaging robot we’ve developed. The manufacturer can resolve any errors remotely and the operator interface is so straightforward that anyone can use it. It’s made packaging jobs fun again, and the improved speed has now enabled us to extend this service.
1. We regularly visit international clients and attend conferences abroad, and I have many special memories of those trips. One I particularly recall was a conference in Taormina, Sicily. The trip was special because of the location and the exceptionally interesting business ideas it gave us. And climbing Mount Etna was an experience in its own right. 2. Someone who has been an example to me is our former director, Diemer Bonting of debt collection agency Bonting & Partners BV in Bussum. It’s a nice feeling to be part of a source of inspiration; we all want the best for the client. The creditor wants help recovering his outstanding payments, but the debtor also has to be treated with respect and understanding. Let’s call it socially responsible debt collection. 3. One good example of technological innovation is DCG Portal BV, an online platform we’ve set up jointly with our German colleagues at Vynto GmbH to assist creditors outside Europe when they encounter recovery problems in our region. Creditors from the US, China and Hong Kong no longer need to work out by themselves how to collect their debts in 51 (!) European countries, or who to hire to do it for them. DCG Portal BV takes care of all that, and of course all files are processed completely digitally. >>
WTC Twente Rob Postma Founder and CEO at MochaDocs BV (contract management)
WTC Amsterdam Olivier Otten Managing Director at Hello Zuidas (district development)
WTC The Hague Clare Summerfield Senior Wealth Manager at Elliot Lloyd International
1. I’ve travelled a lot in North America and Europe, but my last trip to Barcelona was the most memorable. After just over two years in business, we won the Dutch ‘Best Cloud Startup Award’ and were runner-up for ‘Best Cloud Startup 2015 in Europe’ at the EuroCloud Awards in Barcelona. The whole team travelled to Spain and celebrated this fantastic achievement deep into the night. 2. Many people have inspired me. Former colleagues, famous entrepreneurs, politicians: I learn something from each of them. The trick lies in appreciating the details – even tiny lessons can send me off in a new direction. I try to keep an open mind, so that I’m always in a position to learn and grow. Whenever I can, I also try to inspire others with the ideas and perspectives I’ve developed. 3. The many startup initiatives in Silicon Valley and Boston are a large source of inspiration. They give rise to interesting software solutions that can change the world almost overnight. What we do is provide organisations and companies worldwide with a digital means of managing dusty contracts. With the cloud it is now easy for them to take action in line with contractual agreement, such as the timely use of periods of notice. In addition, our business is entirely virtual: everyone works in the cloud and can access all information anytime, anywhere.
1. Through my involvement with WTC Amsterdam, I’ve had the privilege of attending several General Assemblies of the World Trade Centers Association. One of these brought me to New Orleans. The WTCA board wanted to show their support to the city in the wake of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. All delegates visited the affected areas. It was a moving sight, and amazing to have been an eye witness to this. 2. My work in the Zuidas business district brings me into contact with countless enterprising minds. These are the encounters that supply me with energy and inspire creative ideas of my own. It would be unfair to mention just one person, so let me give you a list of only first names. They know who they are. Ruben, Douglas, Josja, Eline, Kees, Christiaan, Bob, Mark, Jacques, Klaas, Romy: thank you all very much! 3. On the Zuidas we are constantly involved with news. A reputation built up over many years can nowadays be demolished by one social media posting. So careful use of both traditional and new media is something we as an organization learn more about each day. I invite you, as a reader of this magazine, to visit us online or in real life.
1. That was a business trip in the 90s when I flew to Florida with two colleagues. The first days were packed full of meetings, but then both colleagues got the flu and I got a call that my children had Chickenpox. We all packed up and hopped on the next plane home. Why memorable? Because it reminds me that as a woman you have always got to be ready to change gears. This mind set has prepared me for the many changes I have seen in my industry. To be successful you have got to be ready to change. 2. I have tremendous respect for Mellody Hobson, the president of Ariel Investments, an investment management firm in the US. She is an accomplished business woman, very smart, a mother, an advocate of financial literacy and investor education and loves what she does. She has an intense work ethic and yet still has time to reach out to support her community. 3. I work with a US financial services network offering compliant financial solutions to American Overseas so the use of the internet to communicate is essential. From something as simple as organising my diary, to managing clients’ portfolios via CRM systems, trading platforms, online access to providers’ sites, to instant access to up to the minute market data.
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Cutting-edge, innovative workplace conceptsÂ 18
roductive, any time, any place, smart time-keeping, fewer financial risks, a better work-life balance, a wider business network… No matter what working professionals in the Netherlands want, Regus has the right workplace solution for everyone: from independent contractors and ambitious start-ups to mobile workers and corporates. Regus workplaces range from walk-in coffee facilities with superfast Wi-Fi to high-end fully-serviced customized offices. At present, Regus has 2,600 locations spread across 106 countries, and the company is still growing. Already with 82 workplace locations in the Netherlands, Regus is preparing to open its fourth office, this time in the iconic Viñoly building in Zuidas. WTC-NL Magazine spoke to Jessika van Veen, CEO of Regus Nederland since May 2015.
working. At Kora we facilitate a creative and innovative environment and cater for big events. And Regus Express is designed for people on the move. You can rent space for a few hours at central locations such as shopping centres, railway stations, and airports like Airport Schiphol.” Facilities Van Veen explains that Regus is responding to the growing trend towards flexwork by being as flexible and as diverse as possible itself, “You can rent Regus group office space solutions for long periods, for a week at a time, or just for a few hours or via memberships. We provide workplaces for top executives or temporary teams, as well as for international corporations. It happens a lot that because of fast expansion international companies reach out to us to start their business in The Netherlands in one of our locations .”
Growing demand for flexwork among employees and businesses People no longer come every day to the office to work. There is an ever-increasing demand for flexwork and employers are responding accordingly. Van Veen explains, “Our research shows that 45% of business professionals in the Netherlands work at least half the week from a variety of different places rather than from a permanent base.” Multinationals and corporates are also offering their employees flexwork solutions; by being more agile and offering workplaces nearer to home or at easily accessible addresses, they can respond faster to the market, save on unused office space, stay closer to the client, and attract and retain top talent. In addition, Regus offers 2,600 workplace locations worldwide for business travellers. It is also attracting independent contractors and smaller businesses who work together for corporate organizations, or choose business locations such as Zuidas or WTC. This combination of corporates, smaller businesses, and independent contractors helps to create dynamic working environments. Different concepts Regus is responding to the growing demand for flexible workplaces by providing a solution for everyone. Spaces, Kora (in the futuristic Evoluon in Eindhoven), and Regus Express are different kinds of brands but they all fall under the Regus umbrella. Van Veen elaborates, “Regus offers office space and facilities at WTC locations, business parks, and city centres. Spaces, originally a Dutch company, heralds a new, creative and collaborative way of
Zuidas Regus will soon be opening its fourth location, in Amsterdam Viñoly, in Zuidas. There are already two Regus locations and one Spaces location in Zuidas. “We already have excellent locations in Zuidas, in the WTC and the Atrium. These are good-looking, robust, corporate locations. We are now adding Amsterdam Viñoly, a location that really reflects the ‘new world of work’ and which features wide, open-plan spaces and a huge business lounge at a very central location in Zuidas.” International Regus is headquartered in Luxembourg and has branches in 106 countries across the world. New locations are appearing all the time for all Regus brands, also in the Netherlands. Regus is experimenting with new concepts and trialling them in different countries. “A concept that works in Asia need not necessarily work in Europe. So we try something different in Europe. The Dutch are open-minded and progressive. They like trying out new things and they adapt easily to changing situations. That makes it easier for us to experiment and launch new concepts and brands in the Netherlands.” A multinational with an entrepreneurial spirit Van Veen has been CEO at Regus for six months and is enjoying every minute. She concludes, “What I find so interesting about Regus is that it has all the benefits of a multinational, but with space for entrepreneurship and enough scope and freedom to determine its own policy and strategy for the Netherlands.”
‘Smart workers work everywhere’
Text: Sanne Offringa
k o o B business
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Third International Trade & Investment Gala The WTC The Hague International Trade & Investment Gala 2015 was held on Friday 30 October. The International Business Club of WTC The Hague was responsible for the organization of the event for the third time. A few days before the gala, we talked to General Manager Eveline Steenbergen and Event Manager Christine Huiskamp from WTC The Hague about this unique event which brings together top people from the world of international trade and investment. Prestigious event The International Business Club of WTC The Hague organizes lectures and events every year but, says Eveline Steenbergen, the gala is the “cherry on the cake”. Steenbergen continues, “It is a prestigious event where people can network at a high level and do business in international trade and investment.” The guests consist largely of key decision-makers in international trade, such as CEOs, directors, top executives, diplomats, and senior officials from the Municipality of The Hague. She adds, “This year, we are also delighted to welcome Mr Timothy Broas, US Ambassador to the Netherlands.” Country theme As in previous years, the gala has a country theme. After Germany and the UK, this year’s choice is the USA. Christine Huiskamp explains, “This evening, which will be presented by US expert Charles Groenhuijsen , will centre on trade relations between the US and the Netherlands. There will be various interesting speakers besides the keynote speaker Mr Timothy Broas. The American theme is also reflected in the décor and the entertainment will be in true US-style.”
UNICEF This year, for the first time, the International Trade & Investment Gala is linked to a good cause, UNICEF. “We have adopted the municipal programme The Hague for UNICEF 2015,” says Steenbergen. “We thought it was important that on an evening like this, when delicious food is served and the wine is flowing, to remind ourselves of matters that need more attention.” During the gala, UNICEF Ambassador Paul van Vliet will accept a cheque on UNICEF’s behalf and entertain the guests with a performance. Connections and good discussions With just a few days to go, both women are very much looking forward to this annual event. “We are convinced that this evening will help people to connect and forge new relationships. There will be impressive speakers and the guests will be astonished by the entertainment we have lined up. And if good discussions develop at the tables, the evening will really count as a resounding success for us!” >> Video report: www.wtcthehague.com Text: Christine Spanjaard | Photography: Wouter van Ierssel
Renovation Because the building of WTC The Hague is currently being renovated, the venue for this year’s gala is the central hall rather than the plaza. Huiskamp adds, “That caused a lot of stress in the run-up to the gala, because we really wanted to host it in our own building. Thanks mainly to the offbeat ideas of SPITZ, our events-organizers, we transformed this regular space into an amazing gala venue, which is sure to elicit a wow-response among the guests.” Steenbergen has no doubts that, once the extensive renovation is complete, WTC The Hague will have all the ingredients to become the central business meeting place in the region of The Hague. She explains, “We were able to realize this ambition thanks to the prime location of WTC The Hague in the Beatrixkwartier. Soon the different towers of the building will be linked by a footbridge, and the arrival of all sorts of bar and restaurant facilities will turn the new head entrance into a central hub.”
Christine Huiskamp & Eveline Steenbergen
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WTC The Hague International Trade & Investment Gala 2015 On October 30 the WTC The Hague International Business Club organized the third International Trade & Investment Gala. Eleven WTCs were present along with the WTCA Interim CEO Rolf Draak and the European Regional Development Manager Estelle Leclercq. There were over 160 people in attendance and the theme was the USA. Therefore, his Excellency Timothy Broas, the United States ambassador to the Netherlands, was the honoured guest and keynote speaker. A lottery was held to raise money for UNICEF, and the famous Dutch entertainer Paul van Vliet entertained the audience in his capacity as UNICEF Ambassador. Dutch TV anchorman Charles Groenhuijsen acted as moderator for the evening. Text: WTC The Hague | Photography: Pepijn Leupen
& communication Digital Transformation in the Age of the Customer
In today’s ‘Age of the Customer’, technologies and economic forces provide customers with growing control of their interactions with business. To serve these customers in an increasingly digital and global economy, new research* from Accenture Interactive has identified the key challenges and the critical skills that businesses must acquire to transform into digitally mature organizations. The research found that customer experience is at the heart of digital, and that digital is likewise at the heart of customer experience. Text: © 2015 Accenture. All rights reserved.
Facts & Figures
Key findings 1. The customer experience is at the heart of digital transformation
2. Businesses are on the path to digital transformation, but have a ways to go
3. Third-party solution providers plug the gaps and manage the drive for transformation
58% of businesses surveyed
63% of businesses plan to
88% of firms are using third-
now look to digital to help them
improve the ‘online customer
party providers for at least
sell profitably, and
experience’ this year, but only
one component of their digital
56% of businesses assess the
26% of organizations are ‘com-
impact of digital in relation
pletely ready’ to execute digital
to customer experience
Access the full study ‘Digital Transformation in the Age of the Customer’ to learn more and transform your digital understanding for the long-term. Visit accenture.com/AgeOfTheCustomer *Accenture Interactive commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct an online survey of 396 organizations with at least 1000 employees from across the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, France, China, India, Japan, Brazil, and Mexico to evaluate their digital and customer experience strategies. The study (Digital Transformation in the Age of the Customer) was completed in October 2015.
‘ICT is the life-blood of every business’
Interview We all know how important ICT is for businesses today. Yet the risks involved are often underestimated. As a committed service provider, Unica Schutte ICT can do a lot to help: “We can offer a fitting solution to any organization.” A partner with knowledge and expertise “ICT is about much more than having a working PC in the office,” explains Chief Commercial Officer Ed Staal. “These days it’s the life-blood of every business.” For Staal, the ideal ICT environment effectively supports every aspect of the business process. But because innovation constantly changes the field of ICT, businesses need to respond flexibly. “This is a nearly impossible task for firms on their own,” he says. “What you need is a partner with the right knowledge and expertise. One that deals with the business on a daily basis. Unica Schutte ICT is just such a partner, able to take worries off your hands.”
new environment. We keep a company’s downtime to a minimum. If you’ve recently invested in new equipment that hasn’t yet been written off, you can continue to use it. It can also be installed at our data centre. This minimizes duplicate investments and unnecessary write-offs.” Standards-based customization This flexible approach is made possible by Unica Schutte ICT’s use of standardized building blocks. “We deliver standards-based customization,” says Staal. “I sometimes compare it to Lego. Lego also consists of standard bricks, but you can build an endless variety of things with them. Sticking to standards ensures that you safeguard integration-related know-how, so that the building blocks will continue to fit together in the future. On top of that, we only work with top brands, which ensures the continuity and ongoing development of the products.”
A full-service ICT provider For Unica Schutte ICT, full-service means looking after the design, construction and management of a complete business technology environment. Its broad portfolio also includes telecom solutions, connectivity and the management and security of mobile devices. “Each organization has its own specific needs,” says Staal. “Our strength is that we can engage with organizations on all levels, to offer the right solutions for those needs. We work with countless building blocks and modular management forms, enabling companies to transition smoothly from their current ICT situation to a top-quality, future-proof ICT environment.” There are several benefits to a phased transition, Staal continues. “We consider specific requirements, in terms of such factors as downtime, investments and the impact upon the organization itself. If necessary, we help users to gradually accustom themselves to the
‘IT outsourcing is an organizational, emotional and financial decision’
Personal and dedicated Unica Schutte ICT deliberately focuses upon clients in the mid-market segment. As Staal points out, “That’s where we ourselves are, so we feel right at home with those businesses. Our approach is personal: clients appreciate the way we work with them to find the best and most appropriate solution. Ideally, we sit down with them at the earliest possible stage as a sparring partner and advisor. This is when we can strike the right balance, weighing risks against costs. For instance, while one company may benefit from complete hosting by our data centre, another might not move into the cloud at all. In the end it is an organizational, emotional and financial decision, and Unica Schutte ICT is happy to take all this into account when working with you as a partner.” www.unicaschutte-ict.nl Text: Christine Spanjaard | Photography: Wouter van Ierssel
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to make life and business easier
We all know the multifunctional Apple Watch by now, but the brand-new Hermès collection provides an extra touch of elegance. In partnership with Apple, the French fashion house has designed three exclusive timepieces with leather straps and special faces. From €1,300. www.hermes.com
Forget the car. Forget taxis. With the VANMOOF Electrified, you reach your destination in no time. This new electric bicycle has been completely stripped of cables, and thanks to its built-in GPS tracking will never go astray. Price €2,248. www.vanmoof.com
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With the compact air conditioner by Evapolar you will always work in a climate that feels just right for you. Whether working at home or in the office, the cool, clean air keeps you super fit and productive. In addition, you keep energy consumption to a minimum. Price $250. www.evapolar.com
LG introduces the Rolly, a roll-up keyboard for your telephone or tablet. The idea isn’t new, but the robust material and larger format offer far greater comfort. The Rolly takes the trickiness out of typing on a portable keyboard. Recommended retail price €100. www.lg.com
This new SmartBand by Sony tracks your overall condition, pulse and stress levels throughout the day. The high-tech armband with built-in heart-rate monitor can tell automatically whether you are walking, running or playing a sport. Recommended retail price €119. www.sony.nl
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Like it or not, you are a Digital Transformer So fifteen years ago you didn’t need a mobile phone, ‘because you didn’t need to be reachable all the time’? And now you won’t go to the bathroom without it. Do you really think you don’t need a smartwatch? Let’s meet up in a year or two and take a look at your wrist. Yes, even you are a Digital Transformer! Farmers aren’t widely known to be the most progressive of people. Yet even they inspect their crops using drones, manage livestock feeding with NFC chips and milking with the use of robots. Meanwhile, the WTC is still full of supposed ‘early adopters’ who still print out their e-mails and cling to their Rolodexes as if those were their last line of defence against a hostile new world.
The only way to survive the transformation is to get out there and join in. Or, better yet, to lead the way! You are a Digital Transformer. No more stickies on the fridge for you, but instead the Remember the Milk app. This evening you will set up a home intranet for all your family communications and inform your parents that from now on, they can only reach you through Skype, Facetime or Hangouts. At the office, cancel all your meetings and introduce Slack. Broadcast your Friday afternoon drinks live on Periscope, just because you can. When your CEO asks for the week’s sales reports you use WhatsApp to send him a thumbs-up or a sad face, depending on the results. If you are the CEO, answer with a voice message recorded on your smartwatch.
‘The only way to survive the transformation, is to lead the way!’
Like it or not, we will all need to adapt to life in the digital age. You can see things changing fastest in the media. Paper is disappearing, with screens taking its place. Radio and television are turning digital at a rapid rate, while publishers and advertisers struggle to keep up – as if running behind with their trousers round their ankles, caught unawares after locking themselves in the outhouse with their newspapers while the world around them rapidly grew digital.
The youth holds the future. But if you can’t beat them, join them. You too can laugh at the old fossils in the train with their freesheets. After all, you’ve already read all the news that matters on Blendle. If you spot someone reading this paper magazine, give them a confused look and nonchalantly explain that you’re following a MOOC on the history of media use in the second decade of the twenty-first century. The years of the Great Digital Transformation, of which you were at the front. The Good New Days.
Pieter Voogt Managing Partner and co-founder of PauwR Online Marketing, online marketing and media agency in Amsterdam and Tilburg, the Netherlands: www.PauwR.nl
PS. Recognize fewer than five of the ten terms in bold? Leading the transformation might be a bit too ambitious for you. Just try to catch up first!
A secure environment outside the Internet
You can safely focus on your business Nowadays, we are constantly connected to each other. To colleagues and clients via mobile and fixed lines, on various devices. Wherever you are: at home, the office, abroad or on the road. This way of working offers entrepreneurs numerous advantages. However to optimally benefit from them, you must manage the risks. With Private network of Galaxy your business can be accessed from multiple locations and with various devices outside the internet. In all our ICT and telecom services, the security of individuals and data has top priority. We offer you the freedom to do business without worrying about your ICT and telecom environment. This has to work for you, not against you.
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#WTC John Verbruggen @JVFotografie: Op weg naar @WTCAmsterdam om te overleggen over een interessante opdracht! #GeweldigeUitdaging
WTC Twente @WTCTwente: @askconsult2013 Thank you for the compliment and your attendance! It’s our honour and mission to boost and enhance #international #trade.
WTCA @WTCA: Tweeting live from the top of 1 WTC! Spectacular views of Manhattan as the sun sets. #WTCAMemberSeminar
WTC Leeuwarden @wtclnn: Goed werk! @ejschouwstra presenteert bij WTC Association in NYC de ins- en outs van zakelijk Noord-Nederland!
Niec Filmt @NiecFilmt: Schitterende werkplek vandaag. #wtc #schiphol met het beste uitzicht op de startbanen.
Rotterdam by Day @010byday: @PressFinancien opening van het wco technology and innovation forum @Douane #rotterdam #wiebes @WTCRotterdam
Pim Jansen @pimdjansen: #MarkRutte present at 15 years #wfia celebration in WTC The Hague! #rabobankdenhaag proud partner!
WTC The Hague @WTCTheHague: Tomorrow! WTC The Hague International Trade & Investment Gala. One of our most prestigious events of the year.
Simon Morriën @DenProf: Mijn cursuslocatie vandaag. #wtc #almere #genietenvanhetuitzicht
amNewYork @amNewYork: #OneWorldObservatory is finally set to open. And it’s worth going to the top for it.
Robert Esseboom @RobertEsseboom: BitterballenBorrel @WorldTrade Center Almere Area @WTC Carlton Tower in Almere, Netherlands
Andrew van Esch @andrewvanesch: The nicest cocktail network Friday drink for Internationals at the NH Hotel WTC The Hague.
Jenna Valdespino @jenvald: Being a tourist at the One World Observatory! 102 floors in 60 seconds. Urban6 @urban6dotcom: De eerste mark II #OfficePOD is voor WTC Amsterdam. Een schitterende locatie, waar een POD zeker tot zijn recht komt. WFIA WestHolland @WestHolland: Companies cooperating on a sustainable world @Day of Sustainability @WTCTheHague #wetakecare #GreenBusinessClub
GBCZuidas @GBCZuidas: Zat. as @nachtvandenacht. @ABNAMRO @WTCAmsterdam @LoyensLoeff @Accenture @vestedagroep @VUamsterdam @zuidasamsterdam doen het licht uit!
World Wide WTC #WTC
LiannevandenBoogaard @LiannevdBoogaar: #MeettheDesigner #DDW15 #Ondernemersontbijt @WTCEindhoven en @gem_Eindhoven 150 x over #creativiteit toevoegen aan organisaties”
World Trade Center @WTCAD: #FlagDay Keeping the spirit of UAE sky high! #WTCAD #Abudhabi #Emirates Martin Maguire @mmaguire94: Always a nice view to walk past after a weeks work #worldtradecenter
WTC Leeuwarden @wtclnn: Domus Aegis van harte welkom bij WTC Leeuwarden. Weer zo’n mooi bedrijf die internationale ondernemers ontzorgt! Jan Henk Verburg @JanHenk_Verburg: @WilloEurlings van @KvK_NL presenteert economisch weerbericht van Zuid-Holland vs NL tijdens @OndernemerClub in #wtc
WTC Almere @SBWTCAlmere: Genomineerd voor beste vergaderlocatie van het jaar: WTC Almere. Zijn we blij mee! Geef je ons jouw stem? #WTCAlmere
Sweets & Snacks ME @SweetSnacksME: Thanks to all our visitors & exhibitors for attending Sweets & Snacks ME @DubaiWTC & making it a success #SSME2015
Cindi Dayton @CindiDayton: A beautiful life message on the tarp across the street where the new World Trade Center/Tower 2 is now being built.
Mariette Mulaire @MarietteMulaire: Women power @WTCA: merci/Gracias/thankyou for gr8 member seminar! @WTCWinnipeg @DerekEarl @TheWpgChamber
Office App @getofficeapp: Today we welcome the @TheTailormates at WTC Schiphol #officeapp #cre Alex van Erning @AERNING: Vandaag op uitnodiging WTC Eindhoven lezing #Marco Kroon bijgewoond. Indrukwekkend verhaal. We mogen trots zijn op “onze jongens “
WTC Twente @WTCTwente: Opening diplomat dinner opportunities in International Trade @NBIEXPO @WTCEindhoven @WTCA WTC Rotterdam @WTCRotterdam: Genomineerden bekend! 31e Rotterdamse Ondernemersprijs, maandag 23 nov. prijsuitreiking in WTC Rotterdam. http://ow.ly/UoWl5
Elena Bragar @EBragar: We are proud to announce that our member Trioliet has received the 2015 WTC Twente Export Award
Expat life in Amsterdam: beautiful skies, art and herring!
On the move
Exploring the world and building up your life in a new setting may not be easy for everybody. But this couple – a language teacher and an artist – took the step which eventually led them to Amsterdam. After a few years of settling in, they have become familiar with the city and its peculiarities. A sneak peek into the lives of John Carnegie and his wife Julie Summerfield. “We are always surprised by the large variety of available food and products.” From Canada to Paris to Amsterdam John Carnegie and his wife moved from Canada to Paris in 1991 where he worked as a language teacher for DynEd Paris, an distribution company specialized in language learning tools, and she worked as an artist. DynEd, part of DynEd International Inc, is founded in 1987 in San Francisco and has a long tradition in offering courseware and providing a full suite of language courses to its clients. It has by far the largest range of content available for English language learning, and has fifteen different titles, each specifically prepared for a certain age group, language level and type of language needed. Working at DynEd as a language teacher, John not only tests and analyzes different sorts of software but also teaches people how to use it in an efficient way in order to optimize the learning process. After a few years, DynEd established an European office based in Amsterdam. This marked the beginning of a new chapter. In 2008 they arrived in The Netherlands. Now, John works as an Education Manager at DynEd right in the heart of the Zuidas in the WTC building. “The environment is much different from Paris. Amsterdam is more friendly and more quiet. I also have an office space now, I used to work from home before. While there is still the possibility to perform my job remotely, the office lends itself perfectly for meetings with clients.”
Beautiful skies John and Julie live in the center of Amsterdam near the Nieuwmarkt. They like the hassle of the city. John: “We enjoy cycling around and visiting art galleries, museums and music concerts, especially my wife. In particular, she is excited about the light, you have beautiful skies here in Amsterdam. The combination of architecture, art and the sky on the background provide inspiring pictures and paintings. She even published her own book; 1+1=3 which is a collection of work from the past six years in Amsterdam. Dutch cuisine Furthermore, we also visit the subs and the Albert Cuyp market and the Dapper market on a regular base to buy ingredients from around the world. We are always surprised by the large variety of available food and products. In Amsterdam, almost every cuisine is present. The only thing we are missing are butchers as they are not so common anymore”, John laughs. So how about the Dutch cuisine? John: “We love the herring, eel, potatoes en carrots, so I think we adapt pretty well. And a portion of hotchpotch, the typical Dutch ‘stamppot’, is always welcome”. We are ending the conversation with a final question: how is your Dutch? “I think we are not the only one mentioning this, but the Dutch language is pretty difficult. Speaking fluently Dutch is our next challenge!”
Text: Mandy Tromp | Photography: Lotte de Graaf
‘Amsterdam is more friendly compared to Paris’
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‘I don’t bow that easily’
New LED division My role as director is to introduce new product groups - lines that our parent company in Japan has been making and selling there for years - into Europe. In 2013 I started setting up a new LED division, ECOHiLUX, which is already the market leader in Japan. This was a totally new discipline for us, with innovation at its core. I consider such unfamiliar terrain a great challenge. I can almost hear them say it: “Women in technology, you don’t see many of them here.” Fortunately, I have no difficulty putting my technical knowledge across.
s director of Iris Ohyama Europe BV, I am regularly challenged to put our Japanese company in the spotlight. In itself, this isn’t much of a problem. Our European base is in Tilburg, the Netherlands, with both Belgium and Germany nearby and France not much further away. The distances are short and we eagerly make the most of our geographical position. I’m used to holding my own beyond the Dutch border. But Japan, Iris Ohyama’s country of origin and a place I visit regularly, is a different matter entirely.
Beauty and refinement Our consumer product lines consist of highly innovative plastic storage products, ceramic pots and pans, electrical appliances, furniture, pet products, LED lamps and many other consumer products. I never shied away from Japan, and neither do I shy away from technology. In fact, I have rather fallen in love with the land of order and calm. Of beauty and refinement. Where people live to a ripe old age and you never see chewing gum or dog mess on the streets. Where businessmen sit quietly at the table until suddenly, like a comet, they fire off the most fantastic idea. That has pleasantly surprised me more than once. Working with men Iris Ohyama has been making plastic storage products in Tilburg for 16 years now. Not only is the technical division new for me, however: so is the fact that at ECOHiLUX I am working exclusively with men. Unlike most women, men often cut straight to the heart of the matter, without too much emotion. I like that. But I am talking here about the directness of European men. Things are very different in the Land of the Rising Sun. Not only are the Japanese quieter, more modest, they also believe in responsibility and co-operation for the greater good. For them, that is what it is all about, instead of individuality. In their eyes, harmony leads to greater productivity.
‘I have fallen in love with Japan, the land of order and calm’ Respect is everything Despite my regular visits to Japan, as a ‘free’ Westerner I am still learning. I continue to be amazed, astonished and surprised. I believe in the respect that is so important in many Far Eastern countries, as the basis of all contact. In Japan, respect is everything. And I can fully identify with that. I have even learnt to bow. Not too short, not too deep. Not in submission, but to show my respect. I really don’t bow that easily. But in Japan I do it with love.
Helga Meijer Director, Iris Ohyama Europe BV Director of LED division ECOHiLUX Supervisory Board, City Marketing Tilburg
‘We raised 25,000 dollars with crowdfunding’ Text: Milou Peeters
ed to start a business, but hadn’t found the right partner. The ball started rolling when I moved with my wife to the States. When Koen asked me to come on board, I thought: What’s the worst that can happen? Let’s go for it!”
You started a business in 3D-printed phone cases. ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’ It was with that thought in mind that Vincent van de Poll – newly married and emigrated to the USA – embarked on an
How did you hit on the idea of 3D-printed phone cases? “Koen already had a well-considered 60-page business plan about 3D printing, but it needed to be made more concrete,” says Van de Poll, with a smile. “We looked at what was already available on the market. A lot of 3D-print companies focus on technology, but what the customer wants is a cool, top-quality product. The lightbulb moment came during a meeting with investors in Hong Kong, when Koen’s cell phone, complete with case, was lying on the table. Someone said, ‘You present yourself as trendy, so why is your cell phone in a case like that?’ We knew then that what we had to do was produce 3D phone cases! Six months later, we had raised 25,000 dollars with crowdfunding. We are, by the way, one of only a handful of businesses that have funded a 3D product so successfully.”
adventure. Based in San Francisco, he co-founded GROM with Koen Munneke in 2012 and has never looked back. Neelie Kroes even dropped by for coffee at their place of business in Silicon Valley.
Doing business in the US, was that always your dream? “It’s awesome, but I never planned it in advance. Koen and I have been friends since we were fifteen. The idea came to us in France during a ski vacation with friends. One evening, we were sharing our business dreams and Koen kept talking excitedly about 3D printing. He want-
In October 2015 Neelie Kroes, standard bearer and start-up envoy for StartupDelta, paid a visit to San Francisco, where she dropped by 500 Startups, the office complex in Silicon Valley where GROM was located. Van de Poll: “It was an honour to meet her. We gave her a guided tour, introduced her to other international start-ups, and shared our experiences. When we launched GROM, we were the very first Dutch founders ever accepted to 500 Startups. That was an extra incentive for her to spend time with us.” Vincent van de Poll & Neelie Kroes
cases all over the world for retailers, good causes, artists, and sport teams. Consumers can also design their own phone cases online. Women tend to me more unique and expressive with the cases they design, while men go for the more classic looks.”
What about the production process? “We do Hybrid Production, a combination of 3D printing and mass manufacturing. Part of the product, the creative part, is 3D-printed in the US and Europe. We produce our bumpers in China, where they have been producing them for years. That makes our product much more profitable and sustainable than that of the competition. It’s a tough challenge, combining these two business models, as bumpers are produced in batches of 10,000 and the 3D prints just one at a time.” The two GROM founders work with a sixteen-hour time difference, but everything runs smoothly. Vincent adds, “Koen runs the business from Hong Kong, I run it from San Francisco, and we’ve got a virtual office in Amsterdam. So we’ve got Asia, America, and Europe pretty well covered.”
What’s it like being a Dutch person in America? Do you notice a lot of cultural differences? “The biggest difference is in the attitude to entrepreneurship. Recently, I heard a Dutch person say, ‘We’ve set our sights on the top three.’ Okay, that’s high. But an American goes all-in and says, ‘I’m going to be the best in the world.’ Here everybody knows that out of every 1,000 starters only 10 will survive, and one will be the new Apple. If you go bust in the Netherlands, you’re a loser. But not here. Trial and error is regarded as an integral part of doing business in this part of the world. You discover your weaknesses and learn how to do things differently. Another interesting difference is that Dutch people live from one holiday to the next. We have very few holidays here but we do get a long weekend eight times a year. People go camping in Yosemite Park or fly off somewhere in a plane. So we get a mini-holiday several times a year. What’s more important, everybody is very relaxed, with a positive attitude to life; people take pleasure in their job and are proud to be working for GROM. I think that’s great.”
‘Out of every 1,000 starters only one will be the new Apple’
Who are your customers? “We work with big retailers like Amazon, Overstock, Media Markt, and Coolblue. The popular designs are the complicated ones that you can only really make with 3D printing, and designs like the New York skyline. We make what the customer wants, producing customized
CHAMPAGNE WEEKEND: AN OFFICE TRIP TO TOAST TO! A weekend with colleagues, enjoying the good life in the famous Champagne region – how about that for a luxurious weekend away! We organize fantastic weekend breaks to Champagne’s monumental cities of Reims and Épernay. Get acquainted with the famous ‘maisons de champagne,’ soak up the wonderful scenery, and let those corks pop. Santé!
Tip! Route du Champagne deal - €310 p.p. • Two nights at Holiday Inn, Reims Centre • Two lavish breakfasts at the hotel (7th floor, with a panoramic view) • Three-course dinner at restaurant Les Trois Brasseurs • Cycle tour of the Champagne region incl. guide • Guided tour and tasting at a Champagne vineyard • Picnic lunch in the countryside, incl. a glass of champagne • Visit to Moët & Chandon champagne house, incl. a glass of champagne • Three-course dinner in restaurant L’apostrophe We cater for all sorts of combinations. Tell us what you want and we’ll create an itinerary just for you.
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WTCA goes gobal
New York, New York The World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) Member SeminarÂ is the most important learning and networking event for the WTCA community.Â 160 participants representing 78 World Trade Centers from around the world attended the 2015 WTCA Member Seminar, held on October 18-20 in New York City. It was a successful conference filled with inspiration, networking and collaboration! Text & photography: World Trade Centers Association
Facts & Figures about Dubai World Trade Center (DWTC)
The first building, the Sheikh Rashid Tower, was opened in 1978 and designed by British architect John Harris.
At the time it was built, it was the tallest building in Dubai until the completion of the Burj Khalifa 20 years later. The building contains elements of traditional Islamic architecture.
This 149-metre tall, 39-storey office tower was named after the late Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, and was opened by the Sheikh and Queen Elizabeth II. An image of the building is featured on the 100 dirham banknote.
Since opening, DWTC has been extended with numerous other buildings such as the Exhibition Halls, a Convention Tower and the Trade Centre Arena, and it now covers an area of over a million square feet. DWTC hosts over 500 events a year, including conferences, trade fairs and concerts. These event attract more than 1.4 million visitors and 6,000 exhibitors from every corner of the world. DWTC is home to the Dubai Financial Market, a number of consulates and international companies such as Federal Express, General Motors, Johnson & Johnson, MasterCard and Sony.
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Published on Nov 17, 2015