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Startup trade missions for your international adventure

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Rik Roeske op SLUSH beurs
Published on: 2 May 2022 | Changed on: 19 May 2022

International trade is essential to a growing startup. The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) supports startups with trade missions to some of the most important exhibitions worldwide.

RVO's Startup Team visits exhibitions like CES and SLUSH. Rik Roeske is one of the Startup Team's project managers. He explains, "We provide a platform for startups to connect with investors and promote their products". Rik knows how important government support systems are. As a former project manager at Dutch tech startup Hardt Hyperloop, he looked for startup support.

Unexpected encounters

COVID-19 had a huge impact on startups as entrepreneurs could no longer meet face to face. This affected financing opportunities for startups and matchmaking and partnership opportunities. Rik elaborates, "I noticed that startup entrepreneurs could not wait to attend live events again finally. The unexpected encounters between entrepreneurs at the Netherlands Pavilion make you realise why we organise missions to events like SLUSH." Rick adds, "Although this year's SLUSH was smaller (only 9,000 tickets were available compared to 25,000 in 2020), it still had that tech festival vibe."

Connecting companies

At events like SLUSH, Dutch startups meet the international public at the Netherlands Pavilion. Rik continues, "We think it is important to organise smaller side events as well. For example, a kick-off event or a speech by startup envoy Constantijn van Oranje. Small side events help bring Dutch companies together. You could say that the Netherlands Enterprise Agency is the connector", says Rik.

Government service providers like RVO help expand a startup's network. They give entrepreneurs access to events they would usually not have access to. Joining one of the missions means they will have access to an extensive matchmaking network. Also, RVO provides coaching workshops on funding schemes and introduces startup entrepreneurs to the right business partners.

Examples of successful startup support

Electric vehicle company Lightyear was one of the Dutch scale-ups that went to SLUSH. RVO helped the manufacturer get funding for their second scale-up phase. 3D technology company Dimenco, another Dutch scale-up, also received funding support through RVO. And it is not just Dutch companies that benefit from the support. For example, Jawsaver is a small American e-health startup with a head office in Utrecht. They chose to relocate because the Netherlands is known worldwide for its great startup and scale-up facilities. The company was able to join the trade mission to SLUSH and secure funding through RVO.

Rik concludes, "I feel a sense of pride providing valuable support to startups. Many more Dutch companies out there with smart ideas that can enjoy our support and network."

More information and pre-registration

Are you a startup entrepreneur? And do you want to expand your business internationally and join one of our trade missions? For more information, please visit our startup support page and contact one of our experts.

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