A space where innovative Flevoland-based entrepreneurs, educational institutions, regional governments and students meet. That’s the Smart Innovation Hub in Almere, which opened on April 15 in the Newday Offices building in Almere, to be precise. An initiative of Horizon Flevoland.
“There was no natural meeting place for innovation until now. Almere is the first one, and I hope more will follow in Flevoland,” says innovation manager Manuela Krull. Manuela is the first point of contact and the public face of the Smart Innovation Hub. “People of various backgrounds who currently don’t know how to find each other can meet each other here. That’s the idea of the Innovation Hub: a core group of students, start-ups and scale-ups surrounded by suppliers and clients.”
“Start-ups and scale-ups are important cogs in Almere’s economy,” says Almere alderman Maaike Veeningen. “They ensure development of new talent and knowledge and are drivers of innovation. With the Smart Innovation Hub we’ve created a bridge between various businesses. And we’re also encouraging interaction between innovative entrepreneurs and students and bolstering mutual collaboration. I’m very pleased with this new platform.”
Koen Aarns from the award-winning start-up Bluetick is one of the first to use the Hub. He had the honor of officiating the opening: turning on a neon lamp with the Hub logo. Bluetick is developing a search engine for lawyers to help them find case law faster and more intuitively.
More than just a workspace
Innovation is necessary for economic growth, says Manuela. In addition to workspaces, services for start-ups will also be offered in the Smart Innovation Hub, such as extra publicity, interesting meetings, classes, coaching and podcasts on everything related to learning and experimenting. “For example, we can come up with innovative solutions for an entrepreneur’s problem for a specific project. The outcome can be a new product or a new service.”
“Every city in Flevoland has at least one innovative company, but they often don’t know of each other. We’re going to change this.” How? By getting to know each other, sharing our experiences and through cross-pollination.