“We’ve seen increasingly that UK companies are become interested in establishing a European entity and the Netherlands provides a very accessible environment for that,” says Judith van de Bovenkamp, International Project Manager at Oost NL, the East Netherlands Development Agency. Oost NL will be returning to REAP to take part in the International Café and build on its relationships within the agri-tech community.
East Netherlands, is home to the Wageningen UR-Foodvalley Region, a knowledge-intensive agrifood ecosystem we asked Judith to tell us more about the region and what it offers.
Oost NL is the regional development agency of the eastern part of the Netherlands. This is a very innovative region where several knowledge institutes are based, including a top global ranking university in agricultural sciences, Wageningen University & Research. East Netherlands also holds an ideal mix of multinationals, SMEs, startups and research institutes.
Are you seeing interest from UK companies in establishing a presence in Europe?
Just last month we organised a trade visit for Dutch agrifood companies to ‘Local Flavours’ in Norwich. In doing so, I noticed that there is a growing interest among Dutch companies to explore and become active in the UK.
Travelling across EU borders is challenging during the pandemic, but at the same time companies cannot wait to establish new relations, explore new markets and collaborate with new partners. We feel participating in the REAP conference as an online event is a very good starting point to work towards meeting new relations physically in either The Netherlands or the UK in 2022.
And vice versa: we actively help British companies expand their presence in the EU! We offer a soft-landing programme to British businesses which guides them through each step of the expansion process – free of charge and tailor-made to their needs.
In the new relationship with Europe, having an established business abroad definitely opens new opportunities for market growth, and so we are happy to assist with that.
Are there opportunities in Oost NL that you want to talk about at REAP?
Farming has always been an important sector in the Netherlands, and especially in East Netherlands. I have mentioned Wageningen UR, but surrounding this university lies Foodvalley, and this has been a major driver in the sustainable food system, offering a platform for innovative agri-food organisations – also international ones.
In these times of global changes, our aim is to keep connecting British and Dutch business and organizations.
Although times are challenging, we believe that we can help companies from our region make the world a better place by cooperating with international partners. We plan to bring several innovative Dutch companies to REAP this year, who will be eager to establish new connections.
REAP 2021: Changing Time(s) for Agriculture – 10th November 2021
Imagine a world where agriculture is not constrained by time. The ability to manage and manipulate time is increasing and REAP 2021 will explore the advances in technology and breakthroughs in science that is making this possible.
REAP brings together people from across the agri-tech ecosystem who believe that innovation is the engine for change. The conference bridges the gap between producer needs and technology solutions and showcases exciting agri-tech start-ups.