How economic diplomacy can contribute to deal with devastating drought

The past three years California has been afflicted by a devastating drought, both for nature and the economy. The University of California recently published a report that shows that the drought led to a damage of two billion dollars in the industrial sector, and an increase of unemployment with 17,000 people in 2013.

Pine Flat Reservoir: water table at lowest point in history

Pine Flat Reservoir: water table at lowest point in history

The Californian agricultural sector is massive, and very dependent on water. It is bigger than in any other state in the country in terms of revenues and diversity of production. This billion dollar industry produces about 25 percent of all the fruits and vegetables to feed the United States, and exports to markets all over the world.

The economic team of CGSF performed a study to understand the water shortage in California, and to see what kind of opportunities this has for economic diplomacy. The study area that was visited by our trainee Michiel Feijt as part of this study, is in the County of Fresno, situated in the San Joaquin Valley, one of the richest agricultural areas in the world which is hit hardest by the drought.

California is willing to invest in sustainable solutions, and the Dutch can help

The problem of water shortage is not only a lack of precipitation but also a problem of how the water is delivered to the users. The Delta is an important area filled with great biodiversity for fish and birds and therefore protected by federal environmental law which demands for a minimum water flow in the Delta. This means that in times of water scarcity; the intake into the delivery system to transport to southern California is reduced or cut off.

Irrigation canals fed by a ground water pump nearby Kerman, CA

Irrigation canals fed by a ground water pump nearby Kerman, CA

Since the surface water has been cut down, the agricultural sector relies more on groundwater. However, the groundwater is pumped out of the ground at a higher rate than its recharging, forcing the sector to invests in new technologies which help them to have higher production with less water. This trend in new investment is also driven by incentives from the federal government.

This is the most important lesson CGSF has learned: California is willing to invest to solve the problem in terms of policy making and management. Dutch businesses, R&D and governmental institutions can help to rethink the current situation to make the system more flexible for the future. And continue building on the long relationship which the Dutch community has with the United States for years.

Fresno (source: http://www.dirtopia.com/wiki/File:CaliforniaMapwithFresnoCounty.jpg)

Fresno (source: http://www.dirtopia.com/wiki/File:CaliforniaMapwithFresnoCounty.jpg)

December 15th, 2014 by

Neelie Kroes appointed Special Envoy of StartupDelta

Former EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes is appointed to ‘strengthen the international position of startups in the Netherlands and persuade innovative foreign startups to establish their businesses there.’ Kroes, as Special Envoy, will lead the new StartupDelta initiative. StartupDelta is a collaboration of government bodies, knowledge institutes, startups, financiers and business. ‘I can tell you more in february but to give one example: Dutch company booking.com will participate’, Kroes said during a broadcast of De Wereld Draait Door.

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December 9th, 2014 by

Founded in Holland: showcasing Dutch innovation worldwide

In Holland, not only the tulips are flowering. Since the beginning of the 21st century, the Netherlands has shown a flourishing startup scene’. Tim Gouw and Maarten van den Heuvel, founders of Weekly (the Innovation Startup), discussed what a privilege it is to own a startup in the Netherlands. ‘The people in the Netherlands are highly educated, 90 percent of the Dutch can hold a conversation in English and Schiphol airport is a great connection to the rest of the world’, van den Heuvel says in an interview over Skype. They want to present the flourishing startup scene within the Netherlands to the rest of the world.

Founded in Holland

Credits: Founded in Holland

That’s why the two of them started Founded in Holland two months ago. They launched a website that showcases Dutch innovation through ‘a list of truly innovative Dutch startups’. ‘We want to give weight to the words ‘Innovation from Holland’, Gouw says, which didn’t go unnoticed; within a day 200 companies signed up. Founders of early startups and bigger companies showed interest in joining the program immediately. Gouw and van den Heuvel are very pleased that a big audience is finding the website: it gets a lot of traffic, up to 6000 hits a day.

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December 8th, 2014 by

Join TNW, the US edition of the Netherlands’ biggest technology conference in NYC

TNW Conference 2013

TNW Conference 2013

This Wednesday The Next Web USA will bring together world leading thinkers, investors, startups and brands to do business and share ideas in the TNW Conference. You can still decide to join if you’re looking to grow your company and immerse yourself in the culture of innovation. Get a discount on your tickets through the Dutch Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York.

Thirty-two inspiring international speakers will share the latest trends and best business practices in the area of technology, internet and innovation. An audience of 800 enthusiastic early adopters, marketeers, journalists and investors will get a chance to engage with today’s hottest startups. The event serves as a knowledge hub for entrepreneurs, middle and higher level managers and knowledge intensive industries such as finance, media, legal and sales/marketing related functions. » Read more «

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December 8th, 2014 by

‘We want all 3D print jobs world wide to be locally processed through 3D Hubs’

3D Hubs co-founder Bram de Zwart on the new office in NYC, partnerships with world players in 3D print and the future of his rapidly growing startup

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Bram de Zwart and Brian Garret were two colleagues at 3D systems with something in common: they were ready to create access to 3D printers for a much greater audience. They left the company, took a chance and built a platform that connects owners of 3D printers to the people who want a 3D design printed: 3D Hubs.

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November 28th, 2014 by



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