Warm transfer from LSH010 to Rotterdam Square at crowded Kick-Off
Wednesday, March 22, 2023, the Life Sciences & Health 010 (LSH010) activities were officially handed over to Rotterdam Square during the crowded kick-off. The Tuin van Verbondenheid at Erasmus MC was the symbolic location. ‘Rotterdam Square will be the village square where education, researchers, entrepreneurs and government will meet each other.’
It’s Wednesday afternoon, a quarter past twelve when the sound of the gong vibrates through the Tuin van Verbondenheid at Erasmus MC. Ellen Smit has just given a big hit to the instrument. By doing that, the managing director of Rotterdam Square marked the end of an era, but mostly the start of a new phase. After more than eight years of boosting and promoting, the Municipality of Rotterdam confidently hands over the baton to Rotterdam Square. This is the campus organization for the new Erasmus MC Campus, that will continue to develop the Life Sciences & Health sector within the Rotterdam region and take it to the next level.
That this is a warm transfer, was evident from the many smiling faces among the 200 attendees and the festive program. The attending professionals of health organizations, innovative companies in Life Sciences, educational and research institutions reflected the target audiences that Rotterdam Square will bring together. ‘In that respect, the Tuin van Verbondheid is a symbolic place,’ Ellen said, who also made the connection with the name Rotterdam Square. ‘We want to create a village square, where people meet, challenge and strengthen each other. But Square also represents the square in which education, research, entrepreneurs and government work together. With Rotterdam Square as its connecting link.’
Municipality stays involved
Rotterdam Square will be supported in this by the Municipality of Rotterdam Square, told alderman Robert Simons (Port, Economy, Hospitality & Management) at the start of the kick-off. ‘The Municipality of Rotterdam stays involved and is proud that partners from the sector will now take the lead. The LSH sector is one of the biggest employers in the city and one of the most important economic sectors in the region. In addition, important innovations arise here, which are important with the increasing aging population and shortage of personnel. That is why we wholeheartedly support Rotterdam Square.’
The importance of good collaboration between healthcare, technology and entrepreneurship was the common thread during the event. It was emphasized during the panel conversation between Stefan Sleijfer (Chairman Managing Board Erasmus MC), Constantijn van Oranje-Nassau (Special Envoy Techleap.nl) and Varsha Thakoersing (Partner and CEO of startup IMcoMET). Stefan mentioned the challenges within healthcare. ‘If we continue like this, that means in 2060 one out of two people will have to work in healthcare to continue the quality and accessibility. That is why we need to bring digital innovations to the people faster. That requires entrepreneurship. That cross-pollination between science and entrepreneurship can arise at Rotterdam Square. I hope that in a few years we have released a few products that make a real impact.’
Playground for adults
There was also plenty of time for stories of entrepreneurs. For example, Varsha Thakoersing told about her company IMcoMET, that works on a revolutionary way to fight (skin)cancer from the Erasmus Incubator at the Rotterdam Science Tower. ‘For us it’s really valuable to be close to Erasmus MC and all specialists. I find doing business in the LSH sector to be like a playground for adults,’ Varsha said, whose inspiring call to think primarily in opportunities led to a big round of applause.
Pearls of the City
Four other companies, renamed to Pearl of the City, also inspired with their story. Patrick van Luijk of BioCheck talked about his route from startup to scaleup and Sade Faneyte of Maasstad Hospital talked about the added value of data in the care path of patients. Douwe Jippes of investor Healthy.Capital spoke highly of the Rotterdam LSH ecosystem. ‘A beautiful mix and focus like in Rotterdam you don’t find anywhere else in the Netherlands.’
Willem Mees van der Bijl of Dune Innovation talked about the added value of establishing a location inside Erasmus MC. ‘You need to have a square, literally and figuratively, where you meet each other. Only then you can properly market beautiful medical-scientific innovations. We had that square during the LSH010 events. And with Rotterdam Square, we will soon have a permanent place here.’
So the circle was complete and Ellen Smit was able to herald the next phase for the LSH sector in Rotterdam with the sound of the gong. A blow that was received with approval and enthusiasm by all those present, who then also enjoyed a performance by spoken word artist Burnice and trumpeter André Heuvelman, who translated the theme of connectedness into culture in a beautiful way.
Date: March 23, 2023