Dutch Startup Changemakers: Ferry Tillekens

We had a chat with Ferry Tillekens, the Community Manager at YES!Delft The Hague, who is attracted to the startup world because of its diversity and versatility. Find out how he thinks he can influence the startup ecosystem in the Netherlands, what’s his mission at YES!Delft The Hague and what are his plans for creating an attractive Digital hub in The Hague.
A man with glasses sitting and having a conversation with a woman

1. Hi Ferry, thank you for agreeing to do the interview. Could you tell us a bit about your background and how you entered the startup world?

Of course! Between my bachelor and master’s, I decided that it might be a good idea to get some job experience. I found a job at a company which had only ten employees. I started as a Marketing Assistant but was soon involved in multiple processes in the company. That’s where I found out that I really enjoyed working in a team where the communication lines were short, and the diversity of the tasks is immense. 

After this experience, the summer before starting my master’s program, I was looking to get some real entrepreneurial experience. That is when I joined the two founders of a startup called Rebottled. We upcycled empty wine bottles to drinking glasses with the help of people who have a distance to the labour market. During my period there, we were mainly validating our idea and polishing the production process of drinking glasses. The diversity of tasks you run into with a startup is incredible: every day is different.

This made me realise that I prefer an environment where you have a lot of responsibility spread over various tasks that you are trying to solve with a small number of people. I have found such an environment at YES!Delft as a Community Manager at our new location in The Hague.

2. You’re the Community Manager at YES!Delft The Hague. Tell us about your mission there.

Community management is broad and includes a lot of different tasks. As part of my mission, I help startups find their way in our ecosystem, connecting them to our mentors, experts, other entrepreneurs, partners, and corporates. Moreover, I also look for ways to connect our community to the other communities in The Hague. The aim is to organize and facilitate events together to strengthen the community. We collaborate with other hubs and have a partnership with the municipality of The Hague. Together, we are creating a Digital hub that focusses on AI and Blockchain startups.

3. What is it about the startup world that particularly attracts you?

The startup world is very diverse and versatile and this is precisely what attracts me the most. There is no such thing as a day-to-day rhythm; every day brings different questions and different problems that need to be solved. It’s also a good mix between work that yields immediate results, as you hit short-term milestones and the satisfaction that comes from achieving your long-term goals.

4. How do you think you can influence the startup ecosystem in The Hague and the Netherlands. When will you feel your mission at YES!Delft The Hague has been a success?

 By connecting our ecosystem to the various other startup ecosystems in The Hague, I believe that we can create a startup environment that benefits the ecosystem in the city in general. At the moment, we are intensively working on creating a Digital Hub together with the other communities and the municipality of The Hague.

Aside from building this local community, YES!Delft is working with startups throughout the entire the Netherlands, helping them in their startup journey by creating an environment in which they can thrive.

5. What are your plans for the upcoming months, what will you focus on?

My aim is to further strengthen and expand the connections between our community and the other communities in The Hague. Our goal is to create a strong high-tech community. Furthermore, we are working on building a more active network and event programming for AI and Blockchain. All this contributes to creating an attractive Digital hub that appeals not only to startups but the municipality and corporates as well.

Thank you very much for the interview Ferry! We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavours.

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