Increased mutual cooperation between districts: accomplishing that already makes Economie071 a great success, says Jan Versteegh from VNO-NCW Rijnland. At the same time it provides an extra boost to the existing cooperation between the various business associations.
No Longer an Option
“At Economie071 we are committed to creating a healthy business climate for the region. That means space for businesses, outstanding accessibility and a well-functioning labour market.
Various levels of governmental bodies are involved with this. We have witnessed several trends. Legislation is increasingly implemented at European level instead of a national level and spatial-economic issues are more often found at a regional level than at a local level.
The city cannot operate strongly without involving the districts surrounding it. Together they play an essential role in solving social and spatial-economic issues. This cooperation will only become more intense in the future and can no longer be considered as optional.”
A Leap Forward
“Entrepreneurs benefit from a common economic agenda that has been drawn up and carried out in mutual collaboration. This means the big three working together (government, entrepreneurs and education) and cooperation between the governmental agencies themselves. The future of the Leiden Bio Science Park not only concerns Leiden, but also Oegstgeest and Katwijk.
The joint quest to give this partnership direction and content takes time. But it is already clearly paying off, with the Expat Centre and the Retail Vision.
That the governmental agencies are working together, means the efforts of Economie071 are already a great success. They can now communicate easier with each other. The parties support each other. That the climate has changed is a great leap forward because now there is a good underlying chemistry and willingness to cooperate. There is a lot of energy apparent and I enjoy that.”
“This means that space issues which traditionally have been out of bounds will now have to be more open for discussion. It becomes easier for districts to look beyond their own borders to partner for business parks and accessibility. That also fits better into the current spirit of mutual sharing. The them-and-us attitude between districts has gone.”
Entrepreneur’s Day 071
“In the interests of business we encourage the voice of entrepreneurship to be heard at Economie071. We insist that the common economic agenda be carried out at a brisk pace. Talking about where we want to be in 10 or 20 years is important, but entrepreneurs need action. VNO-NCW Rijnland keeps an eye on this. Traffic jams on the access routes to Leiden are a loss to business. The damage caused is increasing daily. Lack of well-trained young people causes trouble to growing businesses. These are issues which we need to solve together. Roll your sleeves up and get to work.
In addition, VNO-NCW Rijnland has a connecting role which we are better able to fulfil thanks to Economie071. For example, together we have organised the Entrepreneur’s Day. This enables business organisations and their members to know each other better so that cooperation is also encouraged at this level.
Our goal is for authorities and entrepreneurs to find each other. We have been accused of not being involved with this mutual cooperation, but now this process is clearly underway.”
“The Leiden region lies between two strong regions, on one side The Hague-Rotterdam and on the other the Amsterdam region. That means that we also have to be very strong.
It is particularly important to be heard in The Hague when it concerns the distribution of money. Minister Melanie Schultz has already told us: you must function as a region, otherwise you will get nowhere in The Hague. The establishment of the Rijnlandroute, for which VNO-NCW Rijnland lobbied, only came about because we were in unison. You can go faster alone, but can go further together.”
“You can only have a powerful voice when you know what your own focus is. Without a clear story the outside world gets a blurred image. This leads to missed opportunities.
Leiden Bio Science Park is a proven success and plays a powerful role at European level. The park deserves to be expanded. It would be better to have a maximum of three parks in the Netherlands: Wageningen, Eindhoven and Leiden. When there are more parks, the effect becomes diluted.
Following the Brexit decision, a British company working in the field of vitality has shown interest in settling here, so I heard recently. That again shows just how important it is to have clear priorities for this region.”
“We are deeply rooted in Leiden with our own office TeekensKarstens. It is a beautiful city with museums of unprecedented levels, but also enjoys the natural beauty of the nearby Zoeterwoude polders. The work-life-balance here is well organised. We want to expand that and strengthen the business climate further. Our goal is to keep the region economically fit. It is important that we continue to pay attention to this. If we do nothing, then ‘snooze and you lose’.”