Antwerp receives prestigious Startup Nations Award from Global Entrepreneurship

Antwerp has been presented with the prestigious Startup Nations Award for Local Policy Leadership from the Global Entrepreneurship Network. The award recognises the strong policy initiatives adopted by the city of Antwerp to promote entrepreneurship and facilitate startup businesses. Antwerp also managed to secure a major European subsidy for its acceleration programme for startups. In coming years, Antwerp will be strengthening its efforts to further digitise the economy and society.

The Global Entrepreneurship Network is an international organisation bringing together Startup Nations by fostering a dialogue between innovative governments and like-minded businesses. The organisation operates with support from the Kauffman Foundation, a private foundation named after entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman (1916-1993). Belgium is represented through dynamic network organisation 
Last year, Antwerp-based startup neoScores (digital sheet music) was selected as the world’s second most promising startup business. This year, the city of Antwerp took the main prize. The 2015 Startup Nations Summit takes place in Monterrey, Mexico, from 19 November until 22 November. On 21 November, three prestigious awards will be presented: the National Policy Leadership award, the Local Policy Leadership award, and the award for Groundbreaking Policy Thinking. Antwerp is the first-time winner of the newly introduced Local Policy Leadership award.

Crowning achievement

Karen Boers, Managing Director at network organisation “Antwerp is catching up fast and has achieved great results in a short amount of time. The city works closely with private partners and has responded smartly to the current dynamic surrounding startups and scale-ups. With this award, the city of Antwerp reinforces its leadership role in the ongoing digitisation of the economy and society.”
Freddy Nurski, local representative of the Global Entrepreneurship Network: “The city of Antwerp was awarded for its vision and entrepreneurial spirit. Contrary to other cities, Antwerp not only promotes the creation of its own incubator or its own entrepreneurial centre, but also aims to achieve great results in a short amount of time through several different approaches. The city of Antwerp is accelerating at a fast pace by valorising various private initiatives in the best way possible. And with great success: in two years’ time, the number of startups in the city has doubled.”

European funds for Antwerp

Startups benefit greatly from coaching services and affordable workspace, but Antwerp’s procurement policy is playing a key role as well. The city of Antwerp and its IT services provider Digipolis have developed the Buy From Startups policy programme. Under this programme, Digipolis provides an IT platform for digital entrepreneurs who want to build innovative solutions that increase the appeal of the city. The policy recently welcomed a major financial boost from Europe. Together with Copenhagen and Helsinki, Antwerp has landed a place in the European 'Select for Cities' programme. The city of Antwerp has been allocated more than EUR 2 million of the EUR 5.6 million programme budget aimed at placing digital orders with startups. 

Strengthening its international position

The award will give Antwerp the opportunity to further develop its strong international position, in particular as a creative city and as an innovative city of knowledge. The upward and downward growth of cities throughout history has demonstrated that prosperity is inherently associated with the extent to which creativity and innovation flourish in the world of business and create added value as well as jobs. The Startup Nations Award will also be put to valuable use by the city of Antwerp at international level. 


Read more about digital innovation in Antwerp

Antwerp wants to become the European reference for IoT. The first step is the development of an inter-university post-graduate programme.
Antwerp hosts Tech Tour on May 17 and 18. This network event unites innovative tech start-ups and investors around a spefic theme.
Antwerp native Dries Buytaert is the only Belgian to ever make the ‘Top Young Entrepreneurs of Tech’ list of Businessweek magazine.