There’s a new face on the Eindhoven startup scene, ready to help innovators make connections that will make their idea achieve maximum success. Taking over duties from Victoria Martinez – the city’s departing (and first ever) Startup Officer – Stef Meijers will now be on hand to tie together all parts of the Eindhoven startup ecosystem over the coming few years.
“You can describe my role as a linking pin, or a matchmaker in the startup scene in Eindhoven”, says Meijers. “I really believe in the value of warm, high quality connections with people. It’s my job to connect startups with other parties in a way that both sides benefit from it, and eventually the city benefits from it as well”.
“Say for instance a startup wants to grow, but it needs a partner to establish that growth. Maybe an investor, or another company. I can introduce the startup to the right network, and eventually maybe they will grow. In turn this will stimulate the economy and create jobs for the city, hopefully making Eindhoven more visible to the outside world”.
“Of course one of the challenges is that while in Eindhoven we are very good at coming up with new ideas and new innovations – one of the best in the world – there’s a second phase, turning these new ideas into a business. We can see a lot of foreign investors only look at Amsterdam, and other big cities. My job here is to make Eindhoven more visible to those people that can contribute to the startup scene in this city. And I think there’s a lot to be gained in this part”.
With a background in science journalism, as well as a recent period managing startup-related promotion projects for Brainport Development, Meijers feels well prepared for dealing with the variety of small high tech startups looking for a leg-up from concept, to becoming fully-fledged businesses.
“My experience actually comes in very handy now, because I meet all these startups and interesting people and we talk about these complex issues and complex ideas. Because of my experience I’m able to quickly understand the products and what they’re aiming for”.
Although based at the city hall, Meijers’ new role will see him become an active and familiar face at the various startup hotspots across the city – including the High Tech Campus, Strijp-S, and the TU/e.
“What I’m doing now is jumping all over the ecosystem, and seeing where the blind spots are. I’m trying to see where I can bring added value to the city. Because there are lots of initiatives, events, startup accelerators, co-working places… there’s a lot going on”, Meijers says with a smile. “If startup owners have any desires or needs, or help starting their business, they can contact me and I can see if I can help. I have this broad picture of the startup scene in Eindhoven, and maybe I can introduce them in a certain network, and that network can help them go further”.