The two 2016 Dutch national EEPA finalists, De Rotterdamse Zaak and Agrico, were invited to perform the prestigious bell ceremony  to open the Amsterdam Stock Exchange on 13 May. The two finalists, who will now go through to the European EEPA competition to be held in Slovakia in November, said it was a great honour to be part of the opening ceremony.
Competitive Dutch national final
After winning an EEPA last year for Zomerondernemer, the 2016 Dutch EEPA Final saw 14 initiatives battle it out for a place in the European finals. Following a preliminary round, five projects where shortlisted and invited to pitch their projects at a conference on 11 May. A number of great initiatives were in contention, such as Krachtbedrijf, which supports refugees in finding jobs or starting a company, and the Center for Enterpreneurship at Saxion Hogeschool. The quality of pitches didn’t make things easy for the jury, but Agrico and de Rotterdamse Zaak were judged the ultimate winners.
Agrico, a Public-Private Partnership, has created a sustainable food chain in Kenya, replacing the growth of corn with the more sustainable and environmentally-friendly growth of potatoes. Agrico also empowers farmers, often female, to set up their own small businesses, and has created an aid and trade collaboration between the Netherlands and Kenya.
De Rotterdamse Zaak is a learn-work project in which bachelor degree students and experienced entrepreneurs coach and assist new entrepreneurs in running their businesses. Their motto, “Young and Old = Gold,” is based on their winning combination of experience and youth teaming up to help entrepreneurs who are operating below the poverty line.
Awarding the winners, chairman of the Dutch jury, Paul Thewissen from the Ministry of Economic Affairs, said: “We have chosen these projects because, not only are they creative and inspiring, but they also have a great impact on society. We are delighted to give these two projects the chance to present themselves at a European level and believe they have a great chance to become European winners.”