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Meet the Team: Ellen Smit

Rotterdam Square is a team of six, working together to build the innovative Life Sciences & Health ecosystem within the Rotterdam region. We’d like to introduce you to our team, getting to know the faces behind ‘Rotterdam Square’. Meet Ellen Smit, our Managing Director.

Could you first introduce yourself?

Hi, my name is Ellen Smit and I am the managing director of Rotterdam Square. I started at Rotterdam Square in June 2022 as quartermaster, building up the organization and team from scratch, which started in March 2023. In my role as managing director I am in charge of amongst others the daily management of the organization, the strategic and operational development of the campus on the ‘soft’ side and building up and maintaining strategic relationships with our contributors and stakeholders in the Rotterdam region.

What is your background?

I studied Economics at Free University Amsterdam and started my career working as a consultant at two engineering firms. I developed my experience in Life Sciences & Health sector when I moved in 2002 to the municipality of Leiden and became Account Manager for Leiden Bio Science Park. In 2006 I joined Leiden Bio Science Park foundation, the campus organization of Leiden Bio Science Park. In this role I was amongst other things focusing on acquisition, building the ecosystem and park management. In 2018 I returned to the engineering sector, working as operational manager at Koninklijke NLingenieurs, the branch organization of engineering firms.

What motivates you in your job?

We are living through turbulent times. Social challenges are huge, also in healthcare. With the ever-increasing demand for healthcare, especially among elderly and the existing shortage of people working in healthcare which will become even bigger in the future, the sector must be transformed to tackle these challenges and keep healthcare affordable, accessible and of good quality with equal access to care for everyone.

What motivates me the most is that I can bring a small difference in this needed transition, together with the Rotterdam Square team. I love to share and want to make use of my experience and my network in the LSH sector in the Netherlands and abroad to make this happen in the Rotterdam region. By bringing together experts, visionaries from healthcare, science and technology from academia and industry, we create and accelerate healthcare solutions of the future. By creating an environment for partnerships and scientific collaboration, giving transparency and access to Education, Research and Healthcare we enable companies to establish successful partnerships. And by building an environment where startups and scaleups can flourish, serendipity happen and solutions can be created with impact, we create benefits for patients and society.

Date: May 15, 2024