PKF has the pleasure and privilege of inviting interested persons to visit the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) Thought Leadership centre in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
The visit to Rotterdam commences on the week starting on the 6th February. Interested persons wishing to join the official delegation may contact the undersigned at [email protected]. The number of places is limited so interested persons are advised not to delay to register for free. The Centre in Rotterdam shall be home to about 550 innovative companies and is built to synergise with CIC’s international community of entrepreneurs, investors, and established businesses based in Boston, United States.
Rotterdam was chosen as an ideal location for the expansion after conducting empirical studies which earned it bonus points as a city. It is situated in a very central location just one hour flight south of Amsterdam, a mere “footstep” away from the Belgium border and really close to other European hubs. Like Malta, the Dutch population is fluent in English and Rotterdam prides itself on being a melting pot of different cultures.
It goes without saying that innovation starts with smart people, wherever they may be: R&D departments at start-ups, businesses from small through to large, universities and research institutes. In a word – the innovators. These professionals often work together in national and international public-private alliances.
Innovation happens in various phases - from the initial idea to the new product or service, poised for upscaling. It is a fact that the growth in radical innovations demands focus and input from a wide range of parties. The promoters of CIC are aware of the need for teamwork involving innovators, decision makers, policy makers and enablers – in short, an active innovation eco-system.
We all agree that the island needs to do more to boost its contribution to R&D which based as a percentage of GDP is one of the lowest in the EU. In this context, the government in its 2018 budget pledged to open the taps for more investment, and both political parties promised in their election manifesto last year to increase investment in this area. Consequently, PKF thinks that its efforts to attract a world class organisation in this field do not come a moment too soon. Alas the objective of having a high-calibre innovation and business accelerator centre will prove to be a true catalyst to anchor existing research within the diverse manufacturing community and attract new ones - which brings us to the reason why PKF is keen to put its shoulder to the wheel and attract investment in this regard.
Two years ago, it pioneered a familiarisation trip which visited Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston to explore links to promote Malta as a potential business accelerator and/or Life Sciences hub for innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs. It is interesting to note that the MIT, a private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts founded in 1861, was built in response to the increasing industrialisation of the United States. Another interesting landmark was the Boston-based CIC, which houses more than 1000 companies in an impressive building sporting 50,000 square metres of premium office and co-working space across eight facilities. Other six centres are located in St. Louis, Missouri, Miami, the Netherlands, Poland and Australia.
The visit to Rotterdam follows a previous event organised last year by PKF at the Microsoft Innovation Centre, SkyParks Luqa. The event styled “Blueprint for Innovation” saw an expert line-up of speakers. Comments were positive and most agreed that the island needs to do more to boost its contribution to R&D which based as a percentage of GDP is one of the lowest in the EU and because of this the government is pledging to open the taps. This roadmap is an ambitious one as European cities are in competition to attract international companies and start-ups particularly focused on fintech and blockchain technologies.
Even China is investing massively in the Pearl River Delta town of Shenzhen to emulate the success of Silicon Valley. Can our country, albeit small and lacking indigenous materials, rise to the occasion and surf gloriously over the tide to seize this opportunity?