On 11 September, entrepreneurs Meiny Prins (Priva), Thijs van den Heuvel (Fresh Pack Logistics) and Jan Brouns (Urban Industrial) received the first copies of ‘The innovative capacity of the Rotterdam Food Cluster’ (‘Het innovatievermogen van het Rotterdam Food Cluster’), a collection of studies in the field, from Sharon Janmaat (Rotterdam Food Cluster) and Niels van der Weerdt (Erasmus Centre for Business Innovation). This collection is the first in a series of publications titled Food for the Future and focuses on how our region achieved a leading position on the global food market and how companies (must) innovate if the region is to hold on to that position.
Here you can find a video of the 11 September meeting during which the research was presented.
Cohesion and interaction between sub-regions are the strengths of the Rotterdam food region
The Rotterdam food region is unique, in that the entire food chain is located in Rotterdam and its vicinity. This chain ranges from horticulture in Westland and Oostland to arable farming and fishing on the Zuid-Holland islands (ZHE), and from logistic service providers and trading establishments in the port and business parks in the entire region to the innovative start-ups in and around Rotterdam. Various processing, supply and service industries are also active. During the round table discussion organised for the launch of the book occasion, the entrepreneurs were all in agreement. ‘The Rotterdam region is the most innovative food region in the world, an international trendsetter, and we want it to stay that way. Our strengths are the integration and interaction between the various sub-regions and sectors in the Rotterdam Food Cluster. In combination with the entrepreneurship that is characteristic of Rotterdam, we can join forces with educational and knowledge institutions and government departments to safeguard a successful sustainable transition of the food sector in our region to the Next Economy!’ according to Meiny Prins.
Rotterdam food sector offers young people great career potential
As well as offering inspiration for the business community, the book has also been designed to support teaching materials at various different levels in the education system of our region. By publishing this book, the Rotterdam Food Cluster wants to increase the knowledge of young people about the food sector in the Rotterdam region. The organisers also want to show the great career opportunities that the international nature of the food sector and its many innovations can offer to for young people. A knowledge broker is working with various educational institutions in the region to develop a varied curriculum. Moreover, she also passes on questions from the business sector to teachers and students. This should result in a more transition-oriented education in food and business training courses aimed at innovation.
Lessons for the future
According to principal investigator Dr Niels van der Weerdt (Erasmus Centre for Business Innovation): ‘This first Food for the Future study examines the innovative capacity of the food sector in and around Rotterdam. What can we learn about the resilience of companies, both individually and in clusters? We viewed the historical perspective: how did the various clusters approach innovation in the past? We also examined the current innovative capacity of individual businesses. To what extent are they are able to reinvent themselves today? Besides, we can learn a lot from businesses that are already taking the lead in the transition to the Next Economy: How did they develop new earnings models? At present we are working out the next steps with entrepreneurs: for what issues and challenges do they require a greater insight to make their businesses future proof?’
Download the collection here.
Food for the Future: future-proof education
Rotterdam Food Cluster wants to boost the innovative capacity of the regional food sector and prepare the new generation for the future, and wants to do this with the business community and knowledge and educational institutions. To this end, in 2016 Albeda, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Greenport, Inholland University of Applied Sciences, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, Lentiz education group, STC, Wageningen University & Research, Wellantcollege and Zadkine entered into a collaboration with the Municipality of Rotterdam and the business community to secure the future of education in the food sector of the Rotterdam Region: ‘Food for the Future’. A variety of studies will be carried out in the next few years, focusing on the required business models of the future.
Click here for more information and the research agenda.
Would your business like to contribute to this research? Do you have a place for a student whose internship could help your business thrive? Maybe you have come up against a tricky case and you could use a sounding board?
Please contact Sharon Janmaat for more information.
Click below to download the electronic version of the research collection ‘The innovation capacity of the Rotterdam Food Cluster’, or alternatively order a paper copy here.
This collection is the first in a series of publications titled Food for the Future and focuses on how our region achieved a leading position on the global food market and how companies (must) innovate if the region is to hold on to that position.