East Netherlands


Michiel Scheffer on work visit to the East Netherlands: ‘Impact by investing in regional ecosystems in Europe” 

On Tuesday 9 and Wednesday 10 May 2023, former regional minister of the province of Gelderland Michiel Scheffer visited Oost NL at the invitation of Theo Föllings, director of Business Development at Oost NL. Scheffer will start in Brussels on the first of  June as President of the European Innovation Council (EIC) and will be principal advisor to the EU Commission on Innovation. In order to prepare for his new position, he came to get inspired. The working visit focused on innovation ecosystems and investments in the East Netherlands. 

Michiel Scheffer: ”Attention is needed for regional ecosystems in Europe. An ecosystem is not vulnerable from one actor less, it is a key to success. In the European region of East Netherlands, they are already working on successful ecosystems, like protein transition and photonics, with impact on a digital and green future for regional entrepreneurs. We will really have to connect European regions faster. Then you will build successful innovation ecosystems, exploit opportunities and contribute to global solutions.”   

“In the East Netherlands we work to strengthen our innovative ecosystems and finance and scale up new business.”

In his new position, he will work on future-proofing the EIC and preparing it for the new programme period after 2027, based on green and digital policy priorities. He acknowledged the urgency for societal transformations that guides the current EC. Resilience and strategic autonomy are top priorities.  

Developing European innovation projects

Scheffer was briefed on how the East Netherlands works on innovative solutions for a healthy and sustainable future for all. Theo Föllings: “In the East Netherlands we work to strengthen our innovative ecosystems and finance and scale up new business. In the Think East Netherlands platform, we work with the EU and European partners to develop European innovation projects to enhance these ecosystems. The renewed EEN project, which forms a European innovative trade network and connects innovative EU partners and regions to each other, was discussed. The first day focused on the agri-food ecosystems, especially protein transition, and photonics.  

“Cooperation is crucial, regionally, nationally and on a European level.”

The programme of the second day was about investments, which included the recent investment in protein ecosystem company revyve of the Perspectieffonds Gelderland. Other investments explained were Pro Parents, and how Oost NL invests in photonics ecosystem companies of the Participatiefonds Oost NL. These investments contribute to global solutions. 

“These are long-term developments to enhance innovation in companies. The EIC has instruments for unicorns. Cooperation is crucial, regionally, nationally and on a European level. We build a green and digital economy, based on the regional experience and knowledge,” Scheffer said. 

Photo: Michiel Scheffer (President EIC (in waiting)), Wendy de Jong (CEO Oost NL), Chimwemwe de Gaay- Fortman (Director Capital Oost NL).