Skolkovo delegation discovers the city of Antwerp

On Monday 9 July, a Russian delegation from the Skolkovo Innovation Centre visited the city of Antwerp. This visit follows the successful trade mission from the city to Moscow and Saint Petersburg, and is intended to promote the collaborative bonds between Russia and Antwerp while encouraging the exchange of knowledge.

The Skolkovo Innovation Center is the technological heart of Russia. Mikhail Baklanov, Editor-in-Chief at Skolkovo, explains what the success of the innovation center has been based on: ‘The exchange between start-ups that develop new technologies and the large companies that invest in these technological innovations are central. The major players include Russian companies from areas such as the oil sector and the financial world, and also internationally renowned firms from other countries.’ IBM and Boeing are among the companies with innovation centres in Skolkovo.

Collaboration between Russia and Antwerp

The visit from Skolkovo is representative of the ambition to establish the city of Antwerp as a smart city. The Russian delegation has been familiarised with projects such as The Beacon, Supernova and the Smart Zone. The delegation also visited the Port House and the Red Star Line Museum, enjoying a walking tour that brought them by The Beacon and the Museum Aan de Stroom.

‘By sharing technological knowledge, new innovations are born, creating business opportunities for companies from both Antwerp and Russia.’

During the visit, possible collaborative bonds between Antwerp and Skolkovo were investigated. ‘By sharing technological knowledge, new innovations are born, creating business opportunities for companies from both Antwerp and Russia,’ explains Vera Bunina, Head of International Relations at Skolkovo. ‘Furthermore, Antwerp has a central location in Europe, making it interesting from a business perspective,’ adds Mikhail Baklanov.

Knowledge exchange

A strong example of the collaboration between Russia and Antwerp is the arrival of the Russian start-up CPS Lab in Antwerp. For one month, the city offered free office space and accommodation, and brought the start-up into contact with the bubbling Antwerp ecosystem and the expanded network of companies active in the Port of Antwerp.

Education, and particularly specialised training, ensure a good foundation for digital innovation. Here too, the Russian delegation is looking forward to a possible collaboration with Antwerp: ‘Students often miss practical experience and look forward to suitable trainee posts. Internships with a foreign start-up are the ideal way for students to learn new skills. Plus, start-ups are often short on hands, and students often offer a fresh look at a problem or a project,’ explains Katleen De Naeyer, International Business Manager for the city of Antwerp.


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On Friday 21 June, thirty participants at Smart City The Hague went on an excursion to Antwerp.
The Beacon, the innovative hub for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT), has launched a new concept - “Get Connected”.
Antwerp is increasingly recognised as an ecosystem for digital innovation on a global scale. The recently published Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2019 (GSER2019) by Startup Genome defines Antwerp as an early globalising ecosystem for startups, with a global Top 30 position for funding and a higher than average ecosystem value. The report is a confirmation of the strong ambitions of Antwerp to become a reference hub for digital innovation in Europe.