Five questions to Joyce Kornet-Vreugdenhill

What does the Forward·Inc community need to know about you?

‘We are an American innovation hub based in Rotterdam. We were founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts and grew into 9 cities across the world. Rotterdam was the first international expansion. We started here 6 years ago and from here we launched offices in Warsaw, Poland, and Tokyo, Japan. CiC Rotterdam houses around 250 start-ups and scale-ups and our mission is to create a community of innovators who get together, connect and inspire each other. Besides offering a community-based workspace, we focus on diversity and inclusion. It’s one of the drivers of CiC as we want to represent the community we operate in. We also focus on gender equality. Together with the socioeconomic council, we pledged that by 2022, 20% of entrepreneurs based at CiC Rotterdam should be women and we achieved it. This is one of the reasons why we consider ourselves a thriving hub as you have so many diverse people in it. We also have our Venture Café, a non-profit organisation that focuses on the community. The café opens its door every Thursday to make sure that all the innovation and entrepreneurship that goes on under our roof is accessible to the entire innovative ecosystem of this region.’

What is the relationship between Forward·Inc & CIC?

‘What I love is that we can offer Forward·Inc a home in Rotterdam. I think we have a strong partnership that has been going on for years. Because of the diverse and international scope of CiC there is a nice synergy in it. We are always happy to partner with Forward·Inc, as we want to make our facilities accessible to newcomers. This is why we sponsor the office space for the winner of a Demo Day. We want to open our doors to many different entrepreneurs. CiC is also an official startup visa facilitator. With this tool, we want to provide support to entrepreneurs who want to land in the Netherlands and launch their businesses here in Europe. Our collaboration on this is still something we have yet to discover.’

What are you most proud of in your collaboration with Forward·Inc?

‘I think the ongoing partnership is very good to have because for an innovation center it’s important that you attach yourself to incubators and beginner entrepreneurs to make sure that they flourish with you. The first Demo Day with Forward·Inc was organized in the cinema on the 7th floor. It was incredible! The view at the Stationplein, and hearing the incredible, diverse pitches, was very cool! We were so happy to be able to host that with you.’

 

What do you wish for Forward·Inc and all the new participants joining the programs?

‘We would love to continue with the partnership because we see lots of similarities between our organisations and we want to support your mission.’

 

‘I would love to know what entrepreneurs do after your programs. I think there is still potential for a closer relationship between CiC and Forward·Inc. We should make sure that the events such as the Demo Day are not just one-time happenings and nurture our relationship, but also within CiC. If the pandemic has taught us one this is that you cannot live without personal connections and that’s what we want to achieve with Forward·Inc as well.’

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