Back to overview

The Belgian Take-over – This was our international mission to Amsterdam & Eindhoven

Doing business in Belgium is hard, doing business abroad is even harder. That’s why the imec.istart program not only supports tech startups with early funding and extensive mentorship but also brings long-term value by organizing industry-centric missions to new territories for startups and partners. These inspirational trips usually consist of high-quality meetings, an efficient local network to support the missions, and, of course, the obligatory but nonetheless splendid dinners and cozy drinks, all enjoyed in the company of a fun and diverse group of enthusiastic portfolio founders. 

For many startups, the Dutch market is the ideal market for their expansion beyond Belgium and the reasons are straightforward as you may think in terms of language (for some) and proximity as well as ease of access to numerous Belgian and Dutch corporates active in both markets. While the reasons are simple enough, it doesn’t always translate into sustainable and profitable growth across the border, hence the reason for our B2B Growth Mission to Eindhoven and Amsterdam in March 2024 to help change that trend.  

Growth is a buzzword in the startup world and for us, we classify ‘growth’ in terms of talent, investment, sales, marketing, and partnerships. Taking all those subjects into account, we organized a three-day program for our B2B portfolio companies to get access to the right contacts and experts who can provide the best insights on building in the Netherlands. 


A first stop in Eindhoven

The first part of our Mission we headed to Eindhoven, the home of Philips, ASML and the HighTechCampus to name a few. In addition to being home of world-renowned corporates in terms of innovation, research, and production the proximity of (North) Brabant to the Belgian border provides numerous opportunities in a region that may be commonly overlooked by Belgian startups and scaleups when scaling to the Netherlands. During our 1.5 days in Eindhoven, we had fantastic Peer 2 Peer sessions led by CityLegends and Play it, sharing their tips, tricks, and honest insights on growing their businesses in the Netherlands. Additionally, we had practical sessions covering topics as HR, investments, university collaborations and opportunities available at the HighTechCampus and across the Brabant region supported by Deloitte, Somerset Capital Partners, Lumo Labs, the BOM, Technical University Eindhoven and the HighTechCampus Eindhoven


A second stop in Amsterdam 

The second half of our Mission, we ventured to Amsterdam for 1.5 days. The reason we choose Amsterdam was to see ‘another side of the coin’ in the Netherlands and better understand the diversity and differences between the regions. During our stay in Amsterdam, we had two more Peer 2 Peer sessions led by HeronTrack and Kadonation. Additionally, we connected with local players such as Startup Amsterdam to understand the opportunities in the city and across the ecosystem. Our time in Amsterdam was highlighted by a B2B Sales masterclass, led by our very own, Tim de Kraker ( Venture Acceleration Manager). To close out our Mission, we hosted Belgian Tech Night in Amsterdam at the Startup Village, giving our traveling group a chance to pitch to and connect with Amsterdam based VCs and other startup ecosystem players in the Netherlands. 

It was a whirlwind of three days full of plenty of learnings, new connections, and tasty group dinners. Also, it afforded us the opportunity to introduce the traveling companies to our istartNL team members and Flanders Investment & Trade NL who are additional resources to support their growth north of the border. Now as we’ve now returned to Belgium, we’ve already seen actions taken, new hires on-boarded and conversations with investors started and look forward to seeing what develops in the months ahead. Stay tuned. 


Join Us for Upcoming Missions!

After reading this write-up, are you wondering if an imec.istart mission is right for you? Check out the following questions below, and answer with a Yes or No:

  1. Would you enjoy full days for 3 to 5 days straight being alongside likeminded portfolio companies and leading international counterparts?
  2. Do you truly understand the importance of being pro-active to create business opportunities whether your operational in the market or are a new entrant?
  3. Do you thrive being challenged by the market and existing in-market stakeholders?


If you answered a resounding yes to all the above, then you should join us for our upcoming missions. Subscribe to our imec.istart newsletter to be kept updated on the next mission opportunities.