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Neelie Kroes to give University of Twente Innovation Lecture

With 800 successful spin-off companies to its name, the University of Twente (UT) leads Europe in terms of start-ups. Neelie Kroes, the recently appointed government ambassador for start-ups in the Netherlands, will make a special appearance at the university on 2 June 2015. The former EU Commissioner will take a closer look at start-up developments in Enschede with a view to establishing links with other high-tech hubs in the Netherlands. Dr Kroes is determined to make the Netherlands one of Europe’s top 3 start-up hubs and is hard at work putting the country firmly on the map as a StartupDelta. On 2 June 2015, she will share her experience, expertise and ambition as the keynote speaker at the University of Twente’s annual Innovation Lecture.

The University of Twente has generated over 800 successful spin-off companies and is strongly committed to the ambitions that Neelie Kroes promotes. Twente leads the way in this respect: no region in Europe is home to more start-ups. “For the University of Twente, entrepreneurship is and will remain an essential theme in research, education and knowledge transfer,” says Executive Board President Victor van der Chijs. “In our new strategy, we are embracing a bold new set of ambitions and raising the bar even higher. Our numerous student and spin-off companies are the growth industries of tomorrow." There is a close cooperation with Kennispark.  

A major event
The University of Twente’s Innovation Lecture is a major annual event which invites a prominent guest to share their perspective on novel and innovative technological developments, and their impact on society. On 2 June, Neelie Kroes will continue this proud tradition and give the UT Innovation Lecture 2015. Representatives of government and industry are welcome to join students and staff on campus to participate in this interactive afternoon and to engage Dr Kroes in discussion. The programme for the Innovation Lecture also includes introductions by entrepreneur and UT alumnus Yori Kamphuis of Coblue Cybersecurity and Ray Quintana of the prestigious Cottonwood Technology Fund.

Coblue Cybersecurity
During his studies at UT, Yori Kamphuis teamed up with two fellow students to found Coblue Cybersecurity, a company that specializes in providing security solutions for businesses and individuals. In 2012, the Kairos Society featured Coblue on its list of the 50 most innovative university start-ups in the world.

Cottonwood Technology Fund
Ray Quintana is a General Partner in Cottonwood Technology Fund, which set up its European headquarters in Twente last year. This American (pre-)seed fund has tens of millions of euros to invest in innovative companies in the Netherlands and the US. The fund focuses its investments on technology companies active in photonics, advanced materials, health care and clean energy. Cottonwood is known as one of the most successful seed funds in the United States. Its representatives have pointed out that the ‘Twente ecosystem’ was a major factor in clinching their decision to base themselves in the region.

Your host: Jim Stolze
The moderator for the 2015 Innovation Lecture is entrepreneur and writer Jim Stolze, perhaps best known as the driving force behind the TEDx conferences in Europe and the Middle East. He also acts as a mentor for start-ups and serves on the board of a number of leading organizations including the national committee for commemorating Remembrance Day and Liberation Day in the Netherlands.  

Further details and registration
Registration for the Innovation Lecture has yet to open. As soon as it’s possible to register, we will make an announcement on all of the University of Twente’s social media channels. More information for starters: Kennispark.

drs. J.G.M. van den Elshout (Janneke)
Press relations (available Mon-Fri)