Interview with Angela Marlet-Wiegel, communication adviser
What does your work at the Netherlands Enterprise Agency entail exactly, and what are the topics?
"I work as a communication adviser in the Offshore Wind Energy team. One of the issues I'm involved in is showing just how strong Dutch expertise is in offshore wind energy. In late 2017 the Wind & Water Works campaign was rolled out to do just this. That's something I'm actively involved in."
"Offshore wind energy is an international market, one in which the Netherlands is becoming increasingly attractive to foreign investors. Another aspect, however, is that Dutch companies are also coming to the fore more often, mainly thanks to their knowledge and experience. These can be marketed abroad, which is already happening in Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, China, the United States and France – all countries with a lot of water surrounding them."
"The International Energy programme allows these businesses to enter these promising new markets and more besides. As a communication adviser involved in national programmes I am closely involved with this."
"This growth is taking place both nationally and internationally, and my work straddles the divide."
What does your working week look like?
"I certainly don't spend all my time behind a computer most weeks! My days are either production days or meeting days. Activities on production days could for instance involve reviewing a communication plan or writing an article. On meeting days I consult with RVO.nl colleagues at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, with interest groups, and of course with representatives from the wind energy sector. I find the mix to be a good one."
"Until fairly recently, the wind energy world was fairly limited. Today we're really experiencing an enormous boom in the Dutch wind energy sector. In just a brief matter of time wind energy has evolved from a sustainable yet expensive energy source into a sustainable and affordable one."
"Thanks to a smart tendering process, there was a significant drop in costs. This means that after just two tenders, we no longer require subsidies. The cost decrease also led extremely rapidly to an increased demand for Dutch expertise from abroad."
"The sector organisations now need to adopt a more international stance and think bigger. Like we managed in the oil and natural gas industry, we will soon be conquering the wind energy world as well."
How do you help entrepreneurs in conducting international business?
"Take the time that we received a request from the Dutch embassies in the US and Taiwan. They asked us to come explain the successful Dutch tendering process. As a result, together with two ministries, the International Energy programme staff organised a masterclass. I recommended linking the masterclass to an international wind energy event where the Dutch sector would be able to present itself."
"The masterclass was held last year in November, with ten countries participating. It was a huge success! The Dutch ambassador to Denmark – the other offshore wind energy powerhouse – agreed this was the case."
"You really need to have a good story to tell: a message on behalf of the Dutch business world. Together with companies, the sector and government bodies, I drafted that story and embellished it with attractive illustrations and footage. This resulted in the campaign and a video which resounded with everyone."
"It takes quite some time to explain to the Dutch embassies what the Netherlands has to offer by way of offshore wind energy. Although every embassy of course has its own network, they will always also need expert advice in order to fulfil their diplomatic role."
"In a decade's time, offshore wind energy will be a true export gem – I'm utterly convinced of that. The Netherlands and water already are nearly synonymous! So of course offshore wind energy should be part of the mix too."
Do you have any advice for entrepreneurs interested in exporting wind energy expertise?
"Know what you're getting into! Start by approaching the Netherlands Enterprise Agency for more information. They will get you in touch with the embassy in the country in question. You never know, perhaps a trade mission is already in the works. Find out via the sector organisations which companies are already active there."
"We know from experience that such companies will already have a network. It could be a good idea to let them know that you also have plans, even if you are competitors. And remember that there already is a joint narrative and marketing campaign that you can latch on to as entrepreneur."
Which achievement is the one you are most proud of and why?
"Helping create the Wind & Water Works campaign is what I am most proud of. I managed to create a link that previously hadn't existed: between the national and international markets. The way civil servants worked together, promoting our narrative together, and then all the support we received from embassies and businesses – it was truly wonderful! It really makes me happy when I get a call and someone says: 'I just saw your video. Is there any chance we could do a version for Taiwan?'"
"Yes, I do really experience my job at the Netherlands Enterprise Agency to be a pioneering one. But that's what I really enjoy and find exciting."
Please contact the International Energy advisor Steven von Eije or call 088 042 42 42.
For more information on wind energy please check out our magazine Hollandse Kust: Where wind & water works (pdf).
Angela Marlet-Wiegel was nominated for the Logeion election for Communication person of 2018.