International European Entrepreneurial Region Conference

public | by provincie Gelderland

22 May 2019 - 23 May 2019

Papendallaan 3
6816 VD Arnhem
The Netherlands


Registration for this event is no longer possible.

On the 22nd and the 23rd of May Europe will meet Gelderland and Gelderland will meet Europe.

Empowering Sustainability

Gelderland Topclimate for entrepreneurs

During the two-day international conference Empowering Sustainability you will meet other European partners, innovative start-up and scale-up hubs and clusters from various European regions. Together we will set to work to accelerate innovation in sustainability. The conference is the time to be inspired as well as a next step to European cooperation with other entrepreneurs, authorities and education institutes. 

Day 1. Get inspired

We have invited speakers from a variety of disciplines, looking at the theme of Empowering Sustainability from different perspectives. Each with their conclusions, their experience and their dreams. All with the same goal: we have to act now for a sustainable future. Why is it so urgent and why is collaboration between science, entrepreneurs and government the only way to speed up innovation on sustainability? 

Be inspired in work sessions, meet European partners

Meet entrepreneurs, administrators, policy-makers and innovation hubs from the Netherlands and Europe. Check the international cooperation corner and chat with experts.

Day 2. Empowering connection

The second day we will split into 4 groups, with more thematic goals. Look into the themes that matter: (agri)Food, Health, Energy and Industry. Learn from sustainable projects, innovative companies and remarkable locations in Gelderland.

Practical information

What’s included

  • Dinner on day 1 and lunch on day 2
  • Possibility to stay overnight with breakfast service in Hotel Papendal (at own expense)
  • Transport from and to Arnhem Central Station
  • Transport during the work visits on day 2


We advice you to book a hotel via the website of Hotel Papendal (event location). Please use the code EER2019 in the booking process. 


Conference participation is free of charge. The conference is for invites only; you only pay for travel (there is a good train connection: Brussels - Arnhem; only 3.5 hours) and accommodation expenses. In special cases we can contribute towards the costs.  

Work visits Gelderland

We try to place all participants in the work visit of their preference. In the registration process you can also select your second choice for the work visit. In case of oversubscription, we will close the subscription and you can choose one of the other sessions.

We aim for a balanced composition of participants. Therefore we may not able to grant for all applications. 

In case of questions please contact us on


Diana Matroos

Your host

Diana Matroos is a well-known radio and television host and journalist (among others from Dutch TV programme 'Buitenhof').


Michiel Scheffer

Provincial Executive member of the Province of Gelderland

Since April 2015 Michiel Scheffer has been Provincial Executive member of the Province of Gelderland for the political party D66. He is responsible for Economic policy, Innovation, European Relations.


Louise O. Fresco

President of Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands

Louise combines a long academic career as a professor in both Wageningen and Amsterdam with an extensive involvement in policy and development, with many programs in Africa, Asia and Latin America and teaching in Sweden, Belgium and the US.

Louise O. Fresco is a member of eight Scientific Academies. Ten years of her career was spent as Assistant-Director General at the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN, as well spending extensive periods in Africa, Asia and Latin America. She served on the boards of companies such as Rabobank and Unilever, and also serves in various philanthropies. Her successful book, Hamburgers in Paradise, the stories behind the food we eat, was translated into several languages. In total she published thirteen books, both fiction and non-fiction, while she also writes a bi-weekly column in NRC, the leading evening paper of the Netherlands. She presented a six-episodes documentary on food and development for Dutch public television (to be found in translation on her website You may have seen her TED talk in Palm Springs in 2009.


Els Sweeney

Head of the European Investment Bank’s office in Amsterdam

Previously, she worked as a corporate banker for the EIB, based in the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Before joining the EIB, Els worked as a finance professional for the British and Dutch governments, and in health care organisations in Southern Africa.

As part of the European Institutions, the European Investment Bank (EIB) finances projects that contribute to the goals of the European Union. These investments focus primarily on innovation, climate, SMEs and improvement of infrastructure. At the end of last year Allego received a EUR 40 million loan, with support from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), to roll out electric charging stations. Will the Netherlands soon be a model country for electric and sustainable mobility?


Anja van Niersen

CEO of Allego

Anja van Niersen has worked in the field of energy since 2010 when she started working for one of the largest energy operator networks in the Netherlands, Alliander. Experienced in the field of product development and management she felt right at home in the upcoming innovative world of electro mobility. She became CEO of Allego in 2013 and is accelerating e-mobility at this international provider of Charging Solutions. She brings vast product management & product development experience from her years working at Atos Origen and Alliander. At Allego, Anja and her colleagues provide smart solutions for Cities, Companies and Consumers to enable zero-emission mobility for a sustainable world.


John Baekelmans

Vice President & Managing Director imec the Netherlands

As Managing Director, John is responsible for the overall NL business and operations. Next to his Imec NL role he leads the Internet of Things and Connected Health Solutions teams and is responsible for the Smart City vertical across imec globally.

Before imec, John spent 21 years at Cisco where he held various global leadership positions within Engineering, Services and the M&A departments and has authored numerous US and European patents. John was also the co-founder of a Belgian residential solutions start-up called fifthplay. Before Cisco, John designed, implemented and operated large PBX-networks at Siemens.

John obtained a Master’s degree in computer science from the University of Antwerp, Belgium and is a former Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE). In his spare time, he is engaged in Belgium’s National fast response rescue team to assist in global disasters. He loves to ski, is an advanced scuba diver and currently lives in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.


Alberic Pater

Sustainability Manager IKEA Netherlands

As sustainability and CSR professional, Alberic supports businesses in enhancing their social and environmental performance, creating value for society and the organisation. He has more than 10 years hands-on experience with sustainability change management at both operational and corporate level. He worked in various industries – including FMCG retail and financial services – in more than 20 countries worldwide. 


Harry Matser

Alderman for Climate and Energy at the municipality of Zutphen

Harry Matser, Alderman for Climate and Energy at the municipality of Zutphen, pleads for scaling up and collaborating on the energy transition in order to ensure a good market proposition and affordability for the inhabitants of the municipality. The municipalities of Apeldoorn, Zutphen, Deventer and Zwolle are collaborating in the Transform programme: an area-based approach to accelerate the transition of 40.000 existing homes from natural gas to sustainable energy.


Erik van Wijk

Innovation Lead – Program Lead ‘1 mln Near-Zero Energy Homes in Europe’

EIT Climate-KIC is a European network, funded by the EU, with the ambition to lead the transformation towards a carbon-neutral society. We do this by facilitating solving those ‘wicked problems’, problems that need to solved in order implement the changes that we need to realize a 1,5C climate scenario in time. We closely collaborate with companies - from startups to corporates – institutions and (local) governments to accelerate sustainability innovations and bring them to the market at a quicker pace.

Erik is heading development activities that help cities accelerate their transition into carbon-neutral cities. Erik has a special interest in making systems innovation work. He has an international background in strategic business development as well as executive coaching and organization culture change. Erik has worked for DSM and ELF. After his corporate experience, Erik decided to become an entrepreneur and has founded several tech and service companies all aiming to build a better world either through tech innovations or developing people.

Within Climate-KIC Erik aims to increase his climate impact at larger scale than individual companies, building opportunities for generations to come.


Bert Ravelli

Programme Manager Programme Development and Financing East Netherlands

Bert has a background of 25 years in business (both SME and corporate) and 15 years in public services (central and regional government). He has set up two investment funds (public / privat fund Twinning in 1998, Topfonds Gelderland in 2016). Since 2016, he has been working with his team and colleagues of the province of Gelderland on long term, integral development and investment programs, mainly in the area of climate change and innovation.

Programme day 1: Location Papendal

Time Description
13.00 - 13.45 Shuttle-service from Arnhem CS
13.45 - 14.00 Walk in, coffee/tea
14.00 - 18.00 Plenary Programme Feed the Future!

14.00 Start & Welcome by Michiel Scheffer (Provincial Executive member of the Province of Gelderland)

14.15 Introduction programme by Diana Matroos (Host)

14.30 Louise Fresco (President of the WUR Executive Board)

Wakeup call: why innovation and sustainability is NOW needed from a global perspective.

Scope: Innovation is key in resolving future problems. It is urgent. We must act now to prevent climate change and food scarcity in the future. We can only achieve our goal together with partners from science, government and business. We need a long-term strategy and we have to act now to achieve a sustainable society with sufficient food for everyone, with healthy and sustainable agriculture, with a healthy aging population and a climate-proof environment.

15.00 – 15.15 Alberic Pater (Sustainability Manager IKEA Netherlands)

From a business perspective: what can entrepreneurs contribute to prevent climate change?

Scope: IKEA focuses on sustainability in its business operations, involving a whole chain of developers and suppliers. Thinking about the choice of materials, production, packaging, logistics and human resource policy. IKEA is also the 9th biggest restaurant chain in the world. Here the company focuses on sustainable food production, meat substitutes and circular materials. What responsibility does IKEA have towards its customers. Is the company able to raise awareness among its customers? Is a company that aims to sell as much stuff as possible the right messenger for such a message?

15.20– 15.35 Erik van Wijk (Programme Lead Near-Zero Energy with EIT Climate-KIC) and Harry Matser (Alderman for Climate and Energy at the municipality of Zutphen)

From a public-private partnership perspective: What can business and entrepreneurs contribute to a sustainable and future-proof environment? And how can Climate-KIC and the accelerator programme help to speed up the pace? 

Scope: Climate-Kic is a European programme that helps start-ups to accelerate sustainability innovations and bring them to the market at a quicker pace. Why should there be a special programme for this? What is the scope of the programme and how can we embed innovation on sustainability even better in all innovations, products and services. 

15.45 - 16.15 Break

16.15 – 16.35 Start with film followed by an interview Michiel Scheffer (Provincial Executive member of the Province of Gelderland) and Bert Ravelli (Programme Manager Programme Development and Financing East Netherlands)

From a government perspective: a changing role for regional government in investment in society by long-term programming and financing.

Scope: With the challenges we face nowadays, the government (including politicians) will have to make long-term choices in terms of programming and funding. Working together with science and business partners is necessary to speed up innovation in sustainability. 

16.35 Els Sweeney-Bindels (Head of EIB Group office Amsterdam) together with Anja van Niersen (CEO Allego)

How does the EIB support innovation and sustainability? A practical example of a EIB beneficiary from Gelderland: Allego.

Scope: As part of the European Institutions, the European Investment Bank (EIB) finances projects that contribute to the goals of the European Union. These investments focus primarily on innovation, climate, SMEs and improvement of infrastructure. End of last year, Allego received a EUR 40 million loan with support from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) to further the company’s investment in creating an open and interoperable charging network in Europe. Will the Netherlands become a model country for electric and sustainable mobility?

17.00 John Baekelmans (Director One Planet Netherlands)

One planet as excellent example of international cooperation between science, business and government

Scope: One Planet is a research centre that will develop long-term solutions that promote health. It also carries out research on sustainable and balanced food production. An ambitious example of collaboration and investment by science, government and business partners. What will One Planet contribute to innovation in sustainability. And how quickly will we see the results?

Wrap up and introduction to the evening and next day programme by Diana Matroos (Host). 

18.00 Open network sessions

  • How to create an innovation ecosystem; needs and opportunities; dialogue between innovation hubs and the wishes and needs of start-ups and SMEs.
  • International cooperation corner; plans for working together in the future
  • Proof of concepts corner; various successful programmes from Gelderland explain their approach. Learn and decide which points to take back to your own region

19.30 Dinner with innovate-talks by Jeroen Wouters (Eat2Move) and Eric te Velthuis (Chef de cuisine)

Programme day 2: Locations throughout Gelderland

Time Description
09.00 Introduction of themes, expectations, questions, desired 'outcome'
10.00 Transport by bus and 'storytelling'
11.00 Work visits Gelderland. Themes: Food, Health, Energy and Industry with good practices and exploration of the future
15.00 Transport by bus
15.30 Closing and farewell drinks
15.30 - 17.00 Shuttle-service to Arnhem CS