Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Forget the Northern Wing, Holland one playing field

Yesterday the new Dutch cabinet minister for Education, Culture and Science, Mr Ronald Plasterk was present at a meeting of iMMovator in Hilversum, the Dutch broadcast city. iMMovator (in full iMMovator Cross Media Network) is a network organisation, which aims at the strengthening of the cross media sector stimulating innovation and economic yield. The organisation describes the cross media sector as sector in which there is an increasing integration of radio, television, internet, mobile and events. On the photograph the forum: see photograph: Mr Plasterk to the right; Mr Huub Deitmers next to him; Mr Kees van Kooten next to Mr Deitmers; Professor Paul Rutten second from the left. For more photographs and a Dutch language report and RSS feed, go tto the site of iMMovator.

The minister had come inform himself, not to deliver a speech. Most likely he saved the speech for the Broadcast Conference on September 6, 2007. Three subjects were on the list: investments, entrepreneurship and stimulating the cross media sector.

Behind the table were also two media investors, Mr Huub Deitmers and Mr Kees van Kooten. Mr Huub Deitmers, together with theatre and musical entrepreneur Joop van der Ende, runs an investment fund of 150 million euro, part of which has been invested in some 10 start ups; their latest investment is in the Spill Group, one of the global leaders in casual game traffic generation, based in The Netherlands and operating 24 game portals in 17 countries worldwide. He made clear that the fund only invests in new media companies with an international potential. Mr Kees van Kooten a former DJ, is also investing in local companies; he stimulates what is kicking, but looks first at the entrepreneur and then to his plans. In the Netherlands there are not many investment companies for new media; many companies look first for government grants and then go in search for venture capital. Asked whether the minister was an entrepreneur, he told that he had been a life-science researcher and had been the lead in some 10 patents. But he had never set up a company.

Through a spoken column of serial entrepreneur Mr Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten, the attention of the minister was drawn to the fact that Dutch education makes employees of pupils and not entrepreneurs. The Dutch school system is focussed on delivering as many as possible students with a diploma and not top students. In business schools many managers are educated, but they seek employment with Shell and AKZO and hardly become entrepreneurs. Besides the students can not present themselves; they do not understand that life is one extended pitch.

On the subjects of investment and entrepreneurship the minister listened. But on the subject of the cross media sector he got into a discussion. Professor Paul Rutten presented the Northern Wing phenomenon. This geographical corridor (see illustration) from Haarlem, Zaandam, Amsterdam, Almere, Hilversum, Amersfoort and Utrecht, generates more jobs in ICT and the creative industries than any other region in the Netherlands. The Northern Wing offers in fact 35 percent of all the jobs in the cross media sector, a combination of ICT and the creative industry. But the minister did not swallow this argument. “When you look at the fact that one third of the Dutch population lives in this region, it is not surprising, that one third of the jobs can be found there.” Many people active in the cross media sector must have sighted with relief as Amsterdam and Hilversum have always been favoured above the other regions. Minister Plasterk referred to his visit to the Eindhoven region and the Design Academy; the students there are rescued from traditional ideas in order to start their creative career in the region. Mr Deitmers supported Plasterk’s vision and pleaded not to focus on the region; the Netherlands should be one playing field.

Blog Posting Number: 844

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