Venture Cafe - Rotterdam Maritime Capital of Europe - Shaping the future Credit: Iris van den Broek

Shaping the Future.

Creating opportunities for start-ups & scale-ups.

Rotterdam offers the ideal conditions to enable innovative maritime start-ups and ambitious scale-ups to develop their ideas. The region has a proven track record of successful innovations in digitalisation and zero emission technology. Because of this it is the ideal location to grow a business to its full potential: from concept, design and development, all the way to production and delivery.

Building a sustainable future

The shipyards and maritime equipment suppliers located in the Rotterdam region are renowned for constantly striving to optimise their products and services. The same is true for the offshore industry, for which Rotterdam is an unmissable logistical and technological hub for operations in the North Sea and beyond. Whether you are a start-up or a scale-up, these strong shipbuilding and offshore foundations make Rotterdam the ideal location to accelerate new initiatives.

A springboard to success

For start-ups and scale-ups looking for a high concentration of globally operating maritime companies, Rotterdam is the ultimate sales environment. The sheer extent and scope of potential partners, investors and clients who are very often just ‘around the corner’ makes networking highly productive. This map shows you what we are talking about. Rotterdam has everything you need to accomplish your ambitions.

Room for pioneering

The Rotterdam region holds a number of world-class universities and research institutes. Besides the Erasmus University and Delft University of Technology, the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences has a dedicated maritime faculty. What’s more, TU Delft has set up RAS Lab, its own Research Lab to study autonomous shipping.

These knowledge institutions offer no less than 14 different maritime-related Master’s degrees. It is no wonder that Rotterdam is where the future professionals can be found. It is their skilled talent that pushes the region’s innovation ecosystem forward.

The region has a broad network of organisations that help transform ideas of into business. A network of incubators and accelerator programmes like PortXL, Yes! Delft, Buccaneer Delft and CIC connect people (and their ideas) to each other.

A complete maritime network on your doorstep

Rotterdam is not just home to the ‘hands-on’ specialists. It also has an extremely diverse and comprehensive network of maritime business service providers. Here, we are talking about highly specialised insurance and legal experts, classification societies and banks. These parties are experts in their fields; this lets you stay 100% focused on your own start-up or scale-up activities.

Finding the funding is not always easy. There are numerous possibilities to secure the investment you need in the Rotterdam area. Rotterdam is proud to be able to call itself an enabler of new business ideas. These stories from EST-Floattech and Tetrahedron show how it’s done. This database from UP! Rotterdam will help you get the ball rolling.


Jorn Douwstra

Jorn Douwstra

Manager International Trade & Investment
Rotterdam Partners

+31 (0)10 790 01 40