Interview Rinke Zonneveld and Martijn van Hoogenhuijze, InnovationQuarter
InnovationQuarter (IQ) is an important strategic partner for HSD. It is one of the investors within the HSD network and provides risk capital to innovative companies that aim to grow further. IQ also plays an important role in attracting foreign companies that wish to set up a base in the Netherlands. In doing so, IQ contributes to economic growth and job opportunities. Of course, these goals are also shared by HSD. ‘Without each other, we would book less social return’, says director Rinke Zonneveld.
Targeting the international market is important for innovative Dutch companies with a growth strategy. Together with HSD and other parties, IQ therefore organises various international activities. For example, this spring a delegation visited Israel on the theme of harbour safety & security. In the second quarter, a joint delegation representing Dutch cybersecurity companies was present during the “Japan IT Week” in Tokyo. Their shared goal was to help the Japanese market to make the digital infrastructure for the 2020 Olympic Games safe and secure. HSD partners also often work together to create a shared presence at international trade fairs and events. ‘It can sometimes be difficult for individual companies to get a foot in the door, whereas a group of companies working together is often more interesting for foreign players. So HSD and IQ help companies to bundle their strengths and work together.’ In addition, both organisations work hard to build knowledge and trade links with other strong security clusters in the world, thereby also helping to raise the profile of Dutch companies and their se- curity solutions outside the Netherlands.
In Van Hoogenhuijze’s view, the specific focus on safety & security provides the region of The Hague with a unique proposition compared to other regions in the world. ‘This makes it easier for us to interest foreign companies in establishing a base in the Netherlands and the region of The Hague. The presence of the HSD national security cluster and the HSD Campus, which serves as an innovation centre, office location, and meeting centre all in one, provides us with convincing arguments in that respect. The Hague Security Delta is, after all, already a well-known name in the rest of the world.’ IQ supports companies in Ottawa as well as Maryland – which are very strong cybersecurity clusters in Canada and the US respectively – with so-called soft landing programmes. Zonneveld: ‘We facilitate them for a while, so that they can explore the market with assistance from HSD. In the other direction, this also holds true for Dutch companies.’ Van Hoogenhuijze has noticed that foreign companies greatly appreciate this kind of “soft landing”. ‘They can build a network very quickly with the help of the national HSD security cluster and quickly find their way around in the safety & security sector. The HSD Campus enables them to come into contact with potential clients, resellers, end users, and suppliers. That represents a great deal of added value for them.’
The collaboration between HSD and IQ over the past years has been very intensive. ‘HSD is our drawing card’, explains director Zonneveld. ‘This national security cluster acts as a powerful magnet attracting other companies as a result of the access it offers to knowledge, inno- vation, talent, markets, and capital, the wealth of business activities surrounding it, and the unique triple helix collaboration that exists between government, business, and knowledge institutions. For our part, we help to charge this magnet by introducing our knowledge and expertise, making national and international networks available, and investing in innovative companies.’ As far as the director of IQ is concerned, this collaboration can look forward to a long and sustainable future. ‘The opportunities are there for the taking. Security is more than a buzzword. It’s a crucial element of modern-day society. HSD is still young, but has already achieved a great deal. In the interest of the Netherlands, the province of South Holland, and the region of The Hague, I look forward to building further on our already strong mutual relationship.’