Upstream Festival 2020 - Meet the frontrunners of the next economy

From 21 to 27 September, the Rotterdam Metropolitan area transforms into the place where startups, scale-ups, investors, bold corporates, policy makers and students come together to make a positive impact in the world. Upstream provides access to finance, new markets and talent for entrepreneurs who want to scale their business.

Learn more about digitalisation in the maritime capital of Europe.

The global economy needs to transform; it needs to become more sustainable, digital, circular and inclusive. That’s why the region of Rotterdam, The Hague and Delft are launching Upstream: a platform and week-long festival, from September 21st to 27th, to explore the new economy and foster connection, collaboration, and inspiration to scale change.

Upstream is a new initiative to facilitate intensive collaboration and exchange of knowledge and networks between a large number of ‘co-creators’ in the new economy space. It offers year-round knowledge sessions, training and workshops via an online platform, and this September will launch ‘Upstream Festival’ to spotlight innovative and impactful developments in, and outside of the region.

Together for the new economy

While many individual companies and initiatives are working to design and develop solutions for the ‘new economy’, a lack of collaboration and cross-learning is a challenge. Upstream provides the opportunity for partners to expand horizons through shared expertise and networks; working to ensure companies, start-ups, entrepreneurs, investors and talent can connect, and learn from one another to accelerate change.

The region including Rotterdam, Delft and The Hague are home to nine leading industries such as aviation, aerospace, maritime, bioscience, energy and digital technologies with much to learn from one another. Promising start-ups such as SKOON Energy and transport-disruptor Hardt Hyperloop, are examples of ‘new economy’ innovations born in this region.

First speakers announced, pre-registration opened

The festival can be attended both offline and online, and features an exciting line-up of visionaries to share their perspectives on the new economy. The first names include Katherine Trebeck (Oxfam), Suzanne Lee (Biophillia, BioDesigner), Ted Howard (Democracy Collaborative) and Tim Houter (Hardt – Hyperloop).

The power of collaboration and cross-learning is key to the future. For this reason, participants are challenged to go beyond their own borders during the Upstream Festival – not necessarily seeking “like-minded” people, but connecting with experts and thought leaders from other industries and sectors; to be inspired by surprising solutions, and start ‘unexpected’ conversations and fresh connections.

Opening by Vice Mayor Barbara Kathmann

Vice Mayor Barbara Kathmann (Economy, districts and small locaties) will open Upstream Festival on September 21st. “I think it’s fantastic that together with other municipalities and so many different co-creators we can offer an international platform for the frontrunners that help our region move forward to a new economy that is digital, carbonneutral, circular and inclusive. I am very much looking forward to all digital and physical meetings with these inspiring people during the festival and for the rest of the year”. Kathmann says.

Partners and Co-creators

Upstream partly stems from the Rotterdam Capital Days event and is an initiative of the City of Rotterdam in collaboration with the City of Delft, Rockboost, 42Workspace, Blue City, ECE, Erasmus University, Buccaneer, Golden egg, Innovation Bridge Europe, HortiHeroes, Innovation Quarter, IT Campus, KPN, The Mobility Campus, NLGroeit, PHX, Rabobank, RVO, Techstars Startup Weekend, TU Delft, Unknown Group, Venture Café, CIC, Worldstartup and YES!Delft.

See the full program and register on the website of Upstream