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“Startups grow City to City into the World, therefore this City collaboration in-the- making is important – It will strengthen the startup scene in both Amsterdam and Vilnius” as said by Ruben Nieuwenhuis at the Grand Opening of Vilnius Tech Park, marking the start of further intensified cooperation between the cities of Amsterdam and Vilnius. Nieuwenhuis is Private Lead for StartupAmsterdam. He was invited as one of the panellist for the opening discussion by the Netherlands Embassy in Vilnius. Key point in the development of closer ties is the fact that Lithuania’s capital will be the first city in Central and Eastern Europe to start actively with collaborating with Amsterdam via startup bootcamps, soft landing activities and sharing their StartupCity knowledge and initiatives.
The opening of the Vilnius Tech Park took place on 16 November. Vilnius Tech Park is the biggest technology hub for start-ups and other businesses within the ICT sector in the Baltics and Nordics, located in Sapiega Park, in renovated and upgraded XIX century buildings. As Darius Žakaitis, Managing Director of Vilnius Tech Park says, the park aims to assemble start-ups, businesses, investors, accelerators, businessmen and members of the creative industries under one roof. As a gathering point for all of these, it can accumulate talent, and innovation both from Vilnius and the rest of Europe, thus play a crucial role in connecting hubs throughout Europe.
StartupAmsterdam is a public-private partnership to make sure Amsterdam will grow as a centre point in the European Startup & Tech Scene. More than 250 partners are actively involved already, such as VC’s, Accelerators, Incubators, Universities, Tech Companies, Multinationals, Startups & Scale-ups. Over the last 18 months StartupAmsterdam has kick-started and facilitated many initiatives. Examples of this include the Amsterdam Capital Week, BSSA (educate unemployed to activate for startups), StartupinResidence (an in house government incubator), the Corporate Partner Network, Coding4Amsterdam (coding at elementary & secondary schools), the Growth Hacking Academy, and as a final example SCALE – a cooperation of European cities, which unites London, Berlin, Paris, Barcelona, Helsinki, Stockholm, Rome, Brussels, Oslo, Lisbon, as well as its founding city of Amsterdam.
Vilnius and Amsterdam are now starting to work together on sharing networks, exchanging knowledge, and aligning initiatives. As such, StartupAmsterdam aims to make it easier for start-ups in any of its connected hubs to make the most out of the vast European market and scale their activities to the European level. This offers great opportunities for start-ups from Vilnius, and opens the capital up as a gateway to Central and Eastern Europe for young talents and companies.
As Bert van der Lingen, the Netherlands Ambassador to Lithuania stated: "of course Vilnius belongs to this illustrious group of European Start-up cities. The Netherlands Embassy is in full support of the efforts to forge an organic cooperation between the Dutch and Lithuanian Start-up communities. I am convinced that Vilnius Tech Park will play its positive role as one of the job engines and innovation drivers in Lithuania.