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The COSTA programme: Bringing corporates and startups together

02 March 2017

In May 2016, Startup Delta special Envoy Neelie Kroes and Jan Kees de Jager (CFO of KPN) launched COSTA, a one-year programme aimed at strengthening cooperation between corporates and startups. The top of the Dutch corporates join forces by sharing knowledge and their best and worst practices. Among this group of corporate frontrunners are: KPN, Shell, Philips, AkzoNobel, Port of Rotterdam, Eneco, ING, KLM, DSM, Thales Nederland, NS, Rabobank, and Unilever.

One of the core goals of Startup Delta is creating One Single Hub by connecting the Dutch startup ecosystem. COSTA (COrporates & STArtups) pursues this goal by connecting corporates and startups and strengthening their collaboration. In this cooperation, the corporates together try to answer questions as: How should a corporate stimulate innovation in cooperation with startups? How does one facilitate the relationship between a corporate and a startup?

Cooperation between startups and corporates is important because the two reinforce each other’s strengths and potential. For startups having a corporate as launching customer will speed up their process of growth and innovation. Corporates have access to an international network, of which a startup can tap into to help them grow and expand. Collaborating with an innovative startup on the brink of regeneration will make corporates more competitive in a market that is evolving at a fast rate.

The partners behind the COSTA programme are: Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship (ECE), Rotterdam School of Management (Erasmus University), Corporate Venturing Network, the municipality of Eindhoven (Brainport Eindhoven) and VNO-NCW-MKB Netherlands.

As the Netherlands enjoys one of the highest density rates of corporates per square mile, this provides ample opportunity to create a smarter, stronger, faster, and more sustainable startup ecosystem. But before corporates and startups can open up their worlds, they must open up to each other. Together they can speed up the mutual learning curve. This will be achieved in meetings and workgroups with the corporates in which they will formulate a list of deliverables. As these findings are beneficial for the entire Dutch business sector, the deliverables will be made public through a presentation in May 2017. After this finalization, the COSTA programme will cease to exist, leaving the Dutch startup ecosystem in the hands of the now startup-ready corporates and corporate-ready startups.

National Programme Manager COSTA
Fancy van de Vorst or
00316 51804678