Netherlands: The Stables for Raising Unicorns

Overview His Royal Highness Prince Constantijn van Oranje of the Netherlands highlights the county's journey to being a unicorn nation, and what he thinks will help the country accelerate innovation and growth.

Prince Constantijn van Oranje of the Netherlands, special envoy for Techleap, sees startups as being more exciting than big corporations.

“I love people that don’t stick to the status quo,” His Royal Highness said. “Startups are very close to their core and they want to change things.”

Prince Constantijn has brought a delegation of Dutch startups to CES® since 2016, encouraging tremendous growth from Dutch participation and accelerating the creation of CES Unveiled in Amsterdam.

In 2019, he noted a vision of the Netherlands becoming a unicorn nation — a country of startups valued at more than $1 billion.

At CES® 2021, Prince Constantijn joined Consumer Technology Association (CTA)® leaders Gary Shapiro and Karen Chupka in describing the path toward making that a reality.


Building the Stables

His Royal Highness highlights that though the Netherlands has indeed been “raising unicorns” and is seeing growth in the area, it is about more than just the companies.

“You like to have an economy or a climate for entrepreneurship where companies actually scale,” he said. “It’s more about the stables than the unicorns themselves.”

He highlights that countries must focus on ways to bring technologies to market and consider how to scale internationally in order to remain competitive and be a place for promising startups to thrive.


What the Netherlands Needs

If he could change one thing for the Netherlands to help innovation and growth, Prince Constantijn would instill what he calls the think big, dream big mentality.

While many people are taught that it’s great to have big ideas, he said, we are often taught to be more realistic and scale back. But in order to reach a larger market, innovators must think big and “think global.”

In the future, Prince Constantijn hopes that as Europe expands and grows its own technology companies, that it will be a strong global partner in helping build tech solutions to pressing challenges.


The Value of Startups

“Every sector is now being challenged by a startup,” Prince Constantijn said.

Through the pandemic and as the world recovers, he sees startups continuing to evolve on trends and set out to improve what’s already been done before. He hopes that the companies that have demonstrated added value will continue to grow to be next-generation tech leaders.


See the full interview with Prince Constantijn

On-demand programming from the all-digital CES 2021 is now available for all to view. The industry-changing insights and announcements shared by tech visionaries at CES 2021 are key to the continued growth and advancement of your business and our tech ecosystem. With that in mind, we’ve opened the CES sessions to everyone.


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