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In the Netherlands, three-quarters of business owners have a glaring shortage of staff. And that makes the transition to a green and digitized future quite difficult. After all, windmills don’t go into the ground by themselves and the transition to a hydrogen economy isn’t easily made either. Recently launched its platform GEN 4.0, an AI-driven platform where participants are matched with jobs, training and entrepreneurship. We spoke with ceo Frank Melis, who told us more about his “Tinder of the labor market.

Why you need to know this:

The transition to a green future requires workers. A platform linking education, workers and employers is indispensable in this regard.


Participants on can quickly and easily profile their passion, strengths and skills through an interactive swipe game, helping them find their ideal job and explore areas of development. In addition, the platform offers personalized training plans to help them achieve their career goals. If an employer is looking for an employee, such as a welder, he or she indicates this on the platform. Then automatically generates a professional job description including matching skills using AI and machine learning. The match with potential candidates is made by analyzing the job posting with the candidates’ personal profile. In this way, delivers the perfect match for both parties.

Congratulations on the launch of GEN 4.0! What all has happened since we spoke last year?

“Thanks! Over the past few months, we have been working extremely hard. We have written many thousands of lines of code, performed more than five hundred tests and fixed a few small bugs. All for a good cause: Brainport is the first region where we will offer GEN 4.0 to 18,000 employers starting April 2. This will be followed by thirty other regions within Europe, two regions in South Africa and one region in Ghana.”

What makes different from job boards like Indeed, for example?

“When people search for jobs, on a job board, they are dealing with search systems that are outdated. The problem is: there are new jobs coming up every day that you may have never heard of. And if you’ve never heard of them, you can’t search for them either. So you’re missing a lot of the development that’s happening in the job market. We apply AI to ensure that people with the right skills and talents end up in the right places. AI analyzes your profile in terms of passion, strengths and skills and then brings up the jobs that fit you.

We also reveal which skills still need to be developed to qualify for a particular job. Through AI, we offer personalized learning advice – so you no longer have to search for suitable training. In this way, an employer can hire a candidate who is passionate about the job but who does not yet have all the skills 100 percent up to scratch. This is how we contribute to solving shortages of skilled personnel.”

Can you argue that the world desperately needs a platform like GEN 4.0?

“Yes, more than ever before. We are in the middle of the transition to a green, digital future and that requires a lot of talent. For example, we are active in southern Belgium. This region has always been known for its heavy industry. They are now setting up a biotech campus there, and they find that there are too few workers with the right expertise. So they start looking pan-European, and they are doing that with our platform.”

And when we zoom in on the Netherlands?

Small entrepreneurs in particular – by far the largest group of entrepreneurs in the Netherlands – lack an efficient infrastructure to find and retain staff. Here in Brainport, we are talking about some 18,000 employers, 15,000 of which are smaller than 20 employees. The group of small SMEs in particular have a tough time finding and retaining good people. This is what we are focusing on first.

All regions and companies – big or small – need to get ready for the future. In the Netherlands, for example, we are busy installing heat pumps, and preparing for a hydrogen economy. The Northern Netherlands is working hard on this, but the Southern Netherlands also wants to do more with hydrogen. Projects can be set up faster if we connect key regions. You can see it this way: regions, employers, individuals and education will ‘dance with each other’. And our AI-based platform provides the choreography.”

What are you most proud of so far?

“I am especially very proud of our team. The fact that we have built this platform with people spread all over Europe and beyond – is quite an achievement. I think it also fits well with what we do, that we are so spread out all over the world, in the Netherlands, Germany, America and even Switzerland and South Africa.

I am also very pleased with our cooperation with OECD (an organization dedicated to promoting economic development and world trade, ed.). Together with the OECD, we are implementing a program to develop the Entrepreneurial Mindset among young people in particular in all 39 member countries. We do that through our platform. This is how we prepare the different regions for a transition to a green, digital and inclusive future. has been asked to present at the annual conference ‘Digtal for SMEs’ in Paris on April 18. How cool is that?”

Last time you said the goal is to be active in three hundred regions in Europe in seven years. Is that goal still realistic?

“More than realistic. In fact, if I look at all that has happened in one year, we will go over that. If in Europe, as President Von der Leyen says, we need to retrain 110M people within 7 years and at the same time create 15M new jobs for the economic transition, a platform like is indispensable.”