NDC media group exclusive licensee Innovatiespotter

NDC media group (the largest independent media house in the Northern Netherlands with more than 70 digital channels, 30 events, 40 weekly newspapers, 7 newspapers and 3 daily newspapers) is the exclusive licensee of Innovatiespotter in the Northern Netherlands. The aim of this collaboration is that start-ups, SMEs and programs and initiatives around innovation and sustainability in the region can find each other better.

The (government) initiatives, programs, partnerships, subsidy providers, etc. concerning innovation and sustainability all fish in the same pond and all communicate via their own channel. They thus only reach a small part of the target group.

From now on, these initiatives in the North can access the data from Innovatiepotter at the NDC media group and at the same time purchase communication capacity: in addition to the NoordZ platform, the NDC media group can use its entire range of communication channels for a larger, more transparent and more effective reach of the target group.

Innovatiespotter works with Statistics Netherlands on new innovation statistics for the Ministry of Economic Affairs

How innovative is the Netherlands? To answer this question, the Ministry of EZK asked Innovatiespotter and Statistics Netherlands to pool their expertise in a joint study into innovation at small companies (up to 10 FTEs). Until now, only the larger companies (more than 10 FTEs) were surveyed for innovation statistics (25% of companies in the Netherlands).

Using web scraping and machine learning, an AI model has been created to map innovation to the other 75% (± 1.5 million) "micro companies".

The project delivered 30,000 innovative small businesses. Innovatiespotter then looked at the results of the hot model. Because we provide data about individual companies, we look at the results in a different way than Statistics Netherlands. Which companies will find the model? Are they all really innovative?

The Ministry of EZK wants to further refine the research algorithm and has asked Statistics Netherlands and Innovation Spotter for a follow-up.

See also  More insight into small innovative companies in the Netherlands.

Data house

The province of Drenthe generates new (policy) information by combining and analyzing its own and public data. The Innovatiespotter's share is to contribute to the economic data. We contribute by building various analysis options. In a year, the Data House will be set up and our data will also be available.

Health Valley

Life Sciences & Health (LS&H) is one of the Top Sectors in the Netherlands. With 8 university hospitals and excellent healthcare, the Netherlands is a good breeding ground for LS&H innovations.

Health Valley in Nijmegen is the largest health cluster in the Netherlands. Major research themes and SMEs come together here. In addition, Health Valley organizes the largest and international health innovation event in the Netherlands every year.

In order to reach more companies, to prevent fragmentation and to gain a better view of the innovations, Health Valley asked the Innovation Spotter to map all health-related innovations throughout the Netherlands. This is an ongoing project in which companies are identified and classified in steps.

NDC media group: series about undiscovered world players

The Innovatiespotter tracks down “world players” for the NDC media group (NoordZ, Dagblad van het Noorden, Leeuwarder Courant); companies that are relatively unknown in their own region, but serve an international market. Every month, a global player is interviewed with the aim of unraveling their secret: what do these companies do and how do they survive in a global, ever-changing economy?

Our search for undiscovered world players yields gems, such as the company FENKA, which deals with labeling and branding. Big fashion names such as Hugo Boss, Levi's and Tommy Hilfiger do business with this company, yet it remains unknown to the general public. Director Jan-Henk Hommes responds after the interview by NoordZ: "A lot of responses received, totally great!".

Export potential of the province of Drenthe

The province of Drenthe has an integrated program for entrepreneurs. One of the themes is export. Companies with export plans can receive support in setting up export activities.

The Innovatiepotter has tracked down companies for the fast-growing Drenthe export network. The province asked about companies that already export and companies that do not yet export, but that are promising. This allows experienced and less experienced companies to learn from each other. The order led to more than 2000 promising companies, the majority of which are not yet or not visibly successful in exporting.

Advice and workshop for Datahuis Province of Drenthe

Provinces collect and manage large amounts of data. Such as traffic data, landscape and environmental data, socio-economic related data and more. What new insights arise when you place these data files in one “data house”, combine the files and analyze them? The province of Drenthe wants to generate new (policy) information and asked the Innovatiespotter for our expertise.

We gave a workshop by showing relevant examples and working out examples of how the data analysts of the province can work with their data themselves.

Policy evaluation with Ecorys: entrepreneurs do not recognize themselves in policy language

The evaluation of an innovation scheme is usually carried out under the existing network of a client. Such an approach usually produces an unrealistic picture. A good investigation also requires a response from those who are not familiar with the scheme to be investigated.

Together with economic research and consultancy agency Ecorys, we conducted research into a regional ERDF program for smart industries and circular economy. The reason for the investigation was that interest in the program was rather disappointing. Innovatiespotter's contribution was to track down companies that fit into the scheme but were not known in the client's network. This gave the research an interesting angle. What did companies think of the subsidy schemes that they do not know at all?

It turned out that companies outside the client's network had a substantially less positive view of their subsidy opportunities. These companies thought that they were not eligible at all for the scheme. The reason was that they did not recognize themselves in terminology such as “smart industries” or “circular economy”, nor did they feel addressed by the explanatory text.

A number of recommendations followed from the study, such as better coordination of communication with the target group. We also recommended using the Innovation Spotter to better reach the target group.

High Tech export subsidy companies

RVO focuses on national innovation subsidies for all Dutch companies. Since innovations often arise outside the traditional sectors, it is not easy to reach the target group sufficiently for each subsidy. The usual working method by reaching companies via various media channels and networks did not provide RVO with sufficient response. RVO therefore asked the Innovation Spotter to track down national companies for the theme of high-tech. This is a highly fragmented sector, with very diverse activities, from IT to 3D printing, photonics, sensor technology, robotics and more. We have delivered about 7000 companies that approach RVO directly.

Economic Board Utrecht: “Innovatiespotter has clear added value”

Economic Board Utrecht (EBU) is building coalitions of companies, governments and knowledge institutions. These new coalitions must lead to business cases that make life greener, healthier and smarter.

EBU presented us with the challenge of making an inventory of regional companies around the themes of circular construction and demolition. The Innovation Spotter provided an overview of relevant companies from different sectors. The companies found contribute to the theme from their own perspective.

“We compared the results of the Innovation Spotter with the databases that we have built up in other ways in the Circular Construction / Demolition file. Our conclusion is that this search method clearly has added value compared to other methods and provides a larger network. ”

Monique Roso, research coordinator EBU Research

Bouwend Nederland: Innovative players at Theme Map Construction

The Construction Thematic Map is a national initiative of construction and serves as a signpost for a smarter and future-proof construction sector. The map shows the 8 largest themes for the coming years.

The Bouwend Nederland business organization seeks contact with innovative players for each of the 8 themes from the Theme Map. The Innovatiespotter was called in to realize this. We started by mapping companies around the theme of smart construction. The approach yielded dozens of unknown innovative companies. Due to the proven added value of our search method, we are now also focusing on the 7 other themes.

Region Groningen-Assen: Broad inventory of economically relevant and innovative companies in the region

Region Groningen-Assen (RGA) is an economic partnership between 2 provinces and 12 municipalities around the cities of Assen and Groningen. RGA asked the Innovation Spotter to make an overview of economically relevant and innovative companies in the region. We made a broad inventory of companies with economic potential, and specifically mapped companies around the 9 top sectors and the themes of construction, biobased and circular economy.

The inventory revealed many companies previously unknown to regional account managers. They were not found with traditional search methods and do not profile themselves in the region. As many as 44% of the companies found are involved in more than one sector or theme. This underlines the fact that modern companies are often 'hidden' between cross-sectoral activities. RGA sees this as the added value of the Innovatiespotter method for making regional economic analyzes.

Drechtsteden: View of promising companies on the Rotterdam-Antwerp axis

The Drechtsteden is an economic partnership of 7 municipalities on the southern edge of the Randstad. The region is a leader in the maritime sector and has a strategic position on the Rotterdam-Antwerp axis.

The Drechtsteden wants to organize crossover events, but also be able to use available innovation and subsidy instruments at a broader level. This first required more insight into the innovative and technological SMEs that have or could have an impact on the maritime sector, which is how the partnership came to the Innovation Spotter.

The Innovation Spotter provided overviews of all promising companies on the themes of HTSM & robotics, big data & Internet of Things and biobased economy.

Step two was to conduct a needs assessment among the identified companies. With the results, the Drechtsteden region can mobilize more companies in a short time and provide demand-oriented support with the right instruments.

Startup Fast Track: recruit quickly, do business quickly

Wanted: starting entrepreneurs in sustainable energy. That was the question of Startup Fast Track, a European program to grow energy startups at a rapid pace. Energy Academy Europe initiated this guidance process together with partners such as the University of Groningen, ENGIE and Hanze University of Applied Sciences. Within a radius of 60 kilometers, the Innovation Spotter found entrepreneurs who seamlessly join this program, with concrete registrations as a result.

Region Groningen-Assen: matching event on Smart Mobility

Which smart technologies improve passenger and freight transport? What do companies need to develop mobility solutions? How do we use sensor data? This was the subject of the Smart Mobility matching event that we organized for the Groningen-Assen Region. The goal: to stimulate regional business with new collaborations and innovations.

The Innovation Spotter found and invited the most relevant companies from the region. Think of organizations that analyze sensor data, build apps or work with the Internet of Things. In addition to technology companies, carriers and traffic experts also joined. In short, parties that otherwise would not come into contact with each other. Among other things, they focused on combating semi-empty trucks and smarter arrangements for target group transport. The matching event resulted in new partnerships.

Municipality of Rotterdam: disruptive technologies

What do cloud technology, energy storage and 3D printing have in common? They are going to drastically change our lives. These are the so-called disruptive technologies. McKinsey identified twelve in total. The Municipality of Rotterdam wanted to know which companies are working with these technologies and what these entrepreneurs need to become more successful. The region asked us and research agency Enneüs to answer that question. The Innovation Spotter identified these companies and identified the sectors in which they are involved. Enneüs conducted a needs assessment. The result: the municipality of Rotterdam has concrete starting points for an effective growth policy.

Municipality of Breda

Identified companies in multiple topics, among which are logistics, creative industry, dance music, and life sciences & health.

Enterprise Europe Network

Northern Dutch companies mapped out for European cross-border matchmaking program. themes: virtual reality, serious games, biobased economy and agrifood, among others.

VentureLab International

Targeted the most suitable entrepreneurs acquired for participation in VentureLab International, the business accelerator of the RUG. In addition, recruited visitors for lectures.

Province of Groningen

Identified energy related companies in Friesland, Groningen, Drenthe and the northern part of North-Holland. Split into niche categories as tidal energy, grid solutions, solar and wind energy.

Groningen Seaports

Innovation conference organized to draw attention to Groningen Seaports and Brainwierde Weiwerd as a location for companies with creative and service activities.

IT-stad ’s Hertogenbosch

The municipality of 's Hertogenbosch presents itself as a data city. With the The Jheronimus Academy of Data Science, Den Bosch offers data and IT courses for the central and southern Netherlands. Innovation spotter has been asked to map the size of the IT industry. The question was two-fold:

  • to identify interesting, innovative IT companies
  • an analysis of the IT work potential in the region: how much IT employment is there in Den Bosch and surrounding municipalities?

It is estimated that 21% of the employed persons in the region have a position in the digital economy and that is relatively high. We performed a benchmark to compare Den Bosch with the Eindhoven region. It is interesting that the municipality of Den Bosch scores equal in the IT sector, and scores better in some areas than Eindhoven.


Brought together Dutch companies for two trade missions to Israel and Palestinian territories, lead by the prime minister Mark Rutte and the ministry of Foreign Affairs and ministry of Economic Affairs. Topics: water, energy, food and IT.

Other regions and municipalities

We are continuously receiving requests to map the innovation potential of municipalities and regions. Usually around top sectors. It is striking that each assignment asks for companies that are active with sustainable energy and a circular economy. '

See also Energy transition: a cost item or an opportunity?