Role in the Innovation Ecosystem

Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship is the leading centre for entrepreneurship in Europe. Fueled by our belief that entrepreneurship is the primary driver for innovation, we strive to embed entrepreneurship in the DNA of people by applying the knowledge and network of Erasmus University Rotterdam, a university founded by entrepreneurs more than 100 years ago. 

With our four professors and 35+ academic trainers on entrepreneurship, we offer executive entrepreneurship training and innovation programmes to corporates and starting entrepreneurs. Every year we teach 3.000 students the foundation of entrepreneurship. We do this at our own 10,000 m2 entrepreneurial learning environment, the Rotterdam Science Tower, the home base for our community consisting of 100+ innovative companies. We have a good understanding of the successful start and growth factors of companies; we monitor and study fast-growing companies and present the results in the ScaleUp Dashboard.


In our quest to encourage entrepreneurship not only at home but across the globe, Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship was one of the first partners to join the Global Entrepreneurship Network initiated by the Kauffman Foundation. Every year, we join the Global Entrepreneurship Congress to exchange knowledge, ideas, and experiences about how to stimulate entrepreneurship with ecosystem partners from over 160 countries. In 2010, we were honoured to receive the host country of the year award, a prestigious award for the country that organises the most value-adding activities for the innovation ecosystem.

Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship is internationally recognised for its expertise in entrepreneurship and we have been asked to speak for or represent the Netherlands at various international entrepreneurship events and networks, such as the 4 Years From Now Congress, a Trade Mission to Skolkovo in Russia of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, SME network of Oman and to the Korean Entrepreneurship Foundation in Seoul. In addition, we actively participate with and share our knowledge from entrepreneurship programmes to the European Union and United Nations. We are a recognised Startup Visa facilitator and have, to-date, given +20 startups outside of Europe the opportunity to expand their business in Europe.


Closer to home, we are an active member of networks such as StartupDelta / TechLeapNL and one of the founding partners of the Dutch Centres for Entrepreneurship (DutchCE). StartupDelta / TechLeapNL is the national organisation aiming to mobilise the entire country to work together and create a nation where entrepreneurs stand up, start up and then scale up. Our common goal is to help the Netherlands become Europe’s most well-connected and largest startup ecosystem! We are recognised by Emerce as the top incubator of the Netherlands (2019).

As part of StartupDelta / TechLeapNL, we are the initiator of the frontrunners group COSTA alongside VNO NCW, Rotterdam School of Management and CVN. COSTA aims to explore how corporates can become ‘startup-ready’ and how startups can become ‘corporate-ready’. During the COSTA meetups, our academic director, Prof.dr. Justin Jansen and Vareska van de Vrande share the latest academic insights with C-level executives and work together with the participating firms to conduct further research into the collaboration between corporates and startups.

To walk the talk and put our findings into practice, we organised the Startup Delta Summit , a flagship event of StartupDelta. During this event  innovative minds of the Netherlands meet as we mobilise corporates, startups and innovation hubs to innovate faster together as a ‘single hub’.

We are a founding partner of DutchCE, the collaborative network of centres for entrepreneurship of education institutes in the Netherlands. Through DutchCE, we primarily focus on improving the quality, offering and positioning of entrepreneurship education, training, and research in the Netherlands. On behalf of DutchCE, we are the lead coordinator for the Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) in the Netherlands.

To further promote and facilitate entrepreneurship among students, we were the first university in the Netherlands to introduce a special programme for ambitious student-entrepreneurs, called the Student Entrepreneurs Excellence Programme (StEEP) back in 2012. StEEP can be compared to similar programmes that exist for the best student-athletes and helps student-entrepreneurs combine their studies with running their business. The goal of StEEP is to prevent drop-outs and help student-entrepreneurs graduate. To stimulate other educational institutions to start similar programmes, we have shared our results and best practices which you can find here.


We make it happen in Rotterdam, the city  “where things are being manufactured, where people have dreams and where crossovers are being realised.” (Daan Roosegaarde)

Rotterdam is home to the biggest port of Europe and a breeding place for innovation; it has a vibrant international startup ecosystem. Our current home, the Rotterdam Science Tower, is situated at the heart of the Rotterdam Makers District in the Merwe-Vierhavens (M4H) area. A hotspot for entrepreneurship and innovation. Our own entrepreneurial learning environment spans over 10,000m² and occupies 1/3 of the tower. It is home to over 100 innovative companies in sectors ranging from fintech to port & logistics to healthcare. Every year, over 30,000 people visit our location to get inspired during one of the many events and to enjoy the stunning view of the Rotterdam harbour, where new products are envisioned and made.