Interview Herman Hartgers, Dutch Chamber of Commerce
From day one, The Hague Security Delta works together with strategic partners who make an important contribution to realising its mission. The Chamber of Commerce is one of these partners. As soon as HSD is founded, the Chamber sets up a helpdesk for innovative companies named SME Connect. 'We make growth possible.'
For HSD partners and other companies in the security sector, SME Connect is the the starting point for innovation and growth. They can contact this helpdesk for all kinds of business related question. Chamber of Commerce (KVK) consultants Herman Hartgers, Kurt Jan Wiltenburg, and Jacob van der Vis are more than happy to share their knowledge on a wide range of topics such as international business, innovation, subsidy schemes, and legislation and regulations. Being at the centre of a large network, they can also make the right connections. ‘We are very familiar with the HSD partners and what they are working on', explains KVK consultant Herman Hartgers. 'We also keep close watch on developments in the security sector as a whole. As a result, we can easily match entrepreneurs effectively and bring them into contact with each other. We do so, for example, for companies looking to innovate who are searching for a partner for that purpose.’
Over the past five years, together with HSD, SME Connect has built a vast network of relevant parties inside and outside the security sector. ‘We know all the ins and outs of the entrepreneurial landscape and can help innovative SME companies with accessing the necessary knowledge, acquiring risk capital, finding a partner for innovation, expanding their target market, and recruiting new talent. In addition we actively promote cross-sectoral collaboration, for example to ensure that innovations in the area of security and big data are also applied to other sectors.'
Besides providing access to a large national network, via the Chamber of Commerce SME Connect also provides access to the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN), the largest support network in the world for SME companies with international ambitions. In this network, 600 member organisations located in over 60 countries provide support to entrepreneurs doing international business. One of the ways Hartgers assists Dutch companies is helping them find suitable trading and innovation partners within this network. ‘Last year during the Cyber Security Week, we organised an international matchmaking event for that purpose, during which we scheduled over 500 interviews for more than 200 parties interested in each other.’