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“Eindhoven: city of accelerators and incubators” we wrote recently on e52. One of these accelerators is Startupbootcamp HighTechXL – now the selection for the third edition is under way. Ten potential start-ups from around two thousand will ultimately be selected for the programme.[expand title=””]The programme lasts three months, during which time the start-ups can accelerate their development. They are assisted by a group of roughly 150 mentors. They help the start-ups to attract investors and offer advice in the areas of team processes, legal issues and how to get your product in the market.[/expand]
And to find the best ten, Startupbootcamp is scouting for emerging companies from around the globe. From Athens to Istanbul to Bangalore. How exactly is that done?

This week, part 4: Startupbootcamp # the expat partner

“Hello, is there a problem?” It’s half ten in the morning. Nilufar Bulut is just in Starbucks when her phone rings. “Ok, I’ll be right back.” “Sorry, I’ll have to come back,” apologises the Uzbek and she runs towards the exit, a huge cup of chai latte in hand. The coffee place in the middle of the High Tech Campus is just a two-minute-walk to the Startupbootcamp office.

This will be the third time that Startupbootcamp has organised a programme for ambitious emerging companies on the High Tech Campus. This year there has been a special way of scouting potential start-ups. Thirty partners of Eindhoven expats were asked to help with the search. They hail from India, Italy and even Brazil. They know how things work in their homeland. “It helps if you can approach people in their own language,” explains Nilufar. She is the team leader of the expat partners group at Startupbootcamp. Meanwhile, she uses her pass to open the office space door on the first floor. It’s a large open workplace with various tables. There are papers everywhere and English texts hang here and there on the wall. “We have a strategic plan. It’s called doing things.”

“This search is a pretty extensive process,” continues Nilufar. We make a longlist of about two thousand companies. We get in touch with them, have a few skype conversations and eventually invite twenty to come to Eindhoven for the final round of selection.” The selection days take place today and tomorrow. The ten selected start-ups then have two more months to take care of the last things at home. The intensive three-month programme starts on 1 September.


Archana Srivatsa and Congli Collignon-Dong are two of the spouses who scout for new start-ups. The Indian and Chinese women are both in different teams. In terms of region and theme. Archana scouts for clean-tech start-ups, for example, through LinkedIn and on the basis of special data. They are both enthusiastic about the experience from the work that they are doing and the people they are meeting. They go to workshops and training programmes and build useful networks that will hopefully help in the next step of their careers.

Happy spouse

The collaboration with expat partners is all thanks to the Expat Spouses Initiative (ESI). A platform that focuses on partners of expats who also want to work here. “Sometimes the language is a problem, but more often the expat partner lacks a business network in Eindhoven,” explains Kavitha Varathan. She came to the Netherlands from India seven years ago with her husband and finished her architecture studies at TU/e. Last year she founded ESI (together with Anne Theiß) with a clear goal: to help partners of expats utilise their skills as well as possible here in the Netherlands. Because: “if a spouse is unhappy, the clock starts ticking”. We’ve already written all about it at e52.

Read the story of expat partner Bob Vernon [in Dutch] here

ESI helps these expat partners with internships at companies, training in professional skills and advice about the Dutch labour market. The initiative has been positively received in Eindhoven and Kavitha was even awarded a grant from the university. In the meantime, 300 spouses (both men and women) have joined. This also creates opportunities for the city. Established companies here are always on the look-out for suitable candidates from abroad. “But they are missing out on a pool of international people that are already here”, says Kavitha. “That is, the expat spouse.”

The ten new start-ups will be announced on 30 June.

Vlnr: Congli, Anne, Kavitha en Archana
From left to right: Congli, Anne, Kavitha and Archana

Schermafbeelding 2015-06-14 om 09.45.36