Meet Valerie Hsu, founder of TAIWAN GLOBALIZATION NETWORK (TGN) in the Netherlands. Valerie is the perfect link for business opportunities between Taiwan and the Netherlands. 

VH: “Taiwan is really a technology island and famous for its innovation industry. Worldwide, ninety percent of the information technology products are made by Taiwanese – a lot of their factories are in China, owned by Taiwanese. Health care products, devices and software – in one word, MedTech, is a very important innovative sector in Taiwan. The Taiwanese government stimulates its companies and startups to think globally. The government evaluates startups, advises them and connects them to TGN. Our role is to introduce these companies to suitable partners and verify if there is a viable market for the product.”

‘Opportunity is always there, that’s my philosophy’

Last year TGN also started a ‘’Tiger Accelerator program’’ in Taipei City, which is a tailor-made ‘soft landing’ program for selected start-ups that wish to enter the EU market, starting in the Netherlands. At the same time the program in Taipei also offers Rotterdam and other Dutch startups or scale ups a similar approach. The Taiwanese government provides a portfolio of facilities to European startups aiming for access to the Asian market. Exploring the opportunities is facilitated with free workspace in incubators, access to subsidies and grants and regular programs which give easy access to the industry and research institutes which allow European startups a soft landing in Asia.

.VH: Taiwan has unique advantages for the Rotterdam MedTech entrepreneurs when it comes to scaling up. Say, you have a prototype and you want to have just a hundred copies, for presentations and the like. Most companies go to China, knowing production will be cheap there, but the Chinese companies are not interested in such small orders. In Taiwan, thanks to the government subsidies, small companies can place orders for a hundred or a thousand items, still produced in a cheap way. That can be of interest not only for innovative startups but also for big companies such as ESA Business Information Centres (BICs) for instance.’

‘’I love to go to the LSH010 breakfast meetings in Rotterdam Science Tower because of the energetic people and the ambition in this city!”

It’s not only in Life Sciences & Health the Taiwanese are interested in. Their interest encompasses technologies such as smart mobility, smart city solutions, and water management. TGN/Tiger Accelerator has an office inTaipei that works to bring the Dutch companies into contact with potential partners. At the same time, Tiger Accelerator accelerates the access to European markets for Asian Scale-Ups. In the global fight for talent, innovation and business, having an attractive proposition for foreign entrepreneurs is a key policy – especially for ambitious cities like Rotterdam. That’s why Tiger Accelerator seeks cooperation with Rotterdam: to develop a conducive environment and attractive program where Taiwanese scale ups can collaborate with the local businesses and institutes and work together for a better future.

Jelle van de Weijde, native in the 010 region and working at the Economic Board Utrecht knows that the success rate of LS&H startups is not very high, even after soft landing programs.

‘’There are several reasons, from lack of patience to no good market fit. Therefore TGN and Economic Board Utrecht are starting in september 2019 the ‘ RAPID Health Program’, a one-month bootcamp-like program to introduce the Taiwanese start ups  to the Dutch health care system and to get them to know where they meet potential partners and investors. In their week of visits & matchmaking they also visit the innovative city of Rotterdam and the last week is for making deals with partners. So this gives more opportunities to the Taiwanese and Dutch. Together they can come to a proof of concept, and build up relationships. Then the hard works starts …..”

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