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Ingrid Thijssen, President of VNO-NCW, visited innovative, young companies Elitac Wearables and Aurea Imaging in Utrecht on Friday 19 June. On the agenda: A tour of the Elitac Wearables Lab and an open discussion on how the VNO-NCW can help Dutch start-ups and scale-ups flourish, and help minimise potential obstacles to growth.  

Visiting Dutch start-ups

As the Netherlands’ largest employer’s organisation, the VNO-NCW represent the interests of Dutch business by promoting a high-quality business environment and investment climate in the Netherlands.

According to Ingrid Thijssen, “These in-person visits are incredibly valuable for our work, because you really get to know the company and the people behind it, and what issues they face daily, doing business in the Netherlands and abroad. And we chose to visit these two innovative companies today because start-ups can drive the economy.”

A tour of the Elitac Wearables Lab

Elitac Wearables CEO Merijn Klarenbeek showed Ingrid Thijssen around the new office and Wearables Lab, explaining how all the various disciplines of hardware and software specialists, (industrial) designers and researchers contribute to developing our wearables.

She also got to experience one of the wearables herself when she tried on the BalanceBelt. This health wearable helps people with balance disorders by providing haptic feedback on the wearer’s balance. Ingrid Thijssen observed, “It is very impressive that you are able to produce such cutting-edge wearables in-house, and with a relatively small team.”

Next, she visited Aurea, another innovative, growing company on Utrecht’s Werkspoor Campus. This start-up combines innovative deep learning technologies with drones and IoT sensors to generate crop intelligence.

Stimulating innovation in The Netherlands

Merijn Klarenbeek remarked, “It was great to show Ingrid Thijssen around our new Wearables Lab, especially after a year of not being able to receive visitors.

“We had a very interesting discussion about the reality of developing wearables for the medical domain, some of the obstacles we encounter and how the VNO-NCW can help tackle them. And how it can not only help stimulate innovation, but also ensure that start-ups and scale-ups are able to expand and market these innovations around the world.

“We look forward to following VNO-NCW’s activities on behalf of Dutch business and would like to extend our thanks to Ingrid Thijssen, the VNO-NCW and Jong Management for organising the visit.”

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