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Venture Café’s Year Program 2020

Check out what Venture Café Rotterdam will focus on in 2020.

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Andreas Stillman
by Andreas Stillman in News
December 20, 2019 0 comments

With more than 600 sessions taking place at Venture Café’s Thursday Gatherings every year, we house an incredible amount of knowledge and inspiration on a week-to-week basis.

We shape our year program around themes which are a mix of subjects selected based on our community and its needs, large events taking place in the region, our innovation partners’ calendars, and generally important (inter)national trends and innovations.

As a proud signatory of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, we strive to include these ambitious but necessary goals into all of our programming.

Our program is hosted by inspiring speakers and experts as well as talented people from our community. If you want to host a session as part of our program, contact our Program team;

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Monthly Theme Breakdown

January at Venture Café #getstarted

A new year, a new decade; the perfect time for new ideas to come to life. To get started, one needs to be prepared. So, this month is all about going back to basics, making sure the right foundation is laid for great ideas to be built on.

At the same time, getting started also means looking ahead at the trends and ideas that will come to dominate the upcoming decade.

This decade will be all about sustainability as well as learning from nature. From planting a seed to harvesting, cultivation, cross-breeding, organic life cycles, generating energy for growth and increasing yields; ideas can be grown just like plants. Therefore, our program during the month of January will give you the perfect push to sow, nurture, grow and reap your next idea.


February at Venture Café Life Sciences, Health & Wellbeing

In line with the mission of the “Top Sector” Life Sciences & Health (LS&H) in the Netherlands, we will address the biggest societal challenges in prevention, cure and care: improving the quality of life while restraining the costs of healthcare. During our Thursday gatherings we will bring the LS&H network together to allow for valuable connections to be made and to provide a platform for the latest LS&H innovations and trends in the sector. Also: Rotterdam will be the host to the “Innovation for Health” conference of which Venture Café is a proud partner.


March at Venture Café The Smart, the Resilient and the Sustainable

We need cities, communities and businesses to be smart, resilient and sustainable. The transforming towards these future-proof societies requires the redesign of cities as well as a radical shift in our patterns of production, consumption, and waste. More than 50% of the world’s population lives in urban areas. By 2050, this will be nearly 70%. This increased urbanisation raises huge challenges for municipalities and city planners. Information and communication technologies offer the solution to many of these challenges.

Reconstruction, working on the future, the ability to keep going forward and improving on resiliency is in Rotterdam’s DNA. The City of ‘no words but deeds’, works hard on achieving this by collaborating with residents, companies, institutions, local and (inter)national partners, as well as the worldwide city-network ‘100 resilient cities’ (100RC).

At the same time digital developments and breakthroughs follow in rapid succession and create new opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses. Rotterdam is consciously and actively working to prepare residents and businesses and the city as a whole for the Next Economy.
Our program will highlight developments such as the Internet of Things, blockchain, urban big data and high-speed and secure Internet which will enable many new applications.


April at Venture Café Let’s Go for Zero!

As part of the Sustainable Development Goals, we unite to become more sustainable, C02 emission free and free of waste on a global level. New sources of energy and circular solutions are the name of the game. Rotterdam is also preparing for the Next Economy.
Locally the innovation action program Up!Rotterdam is aiming for Rotterdam to achieve among other things zero C02 emission and zero waste. This poses both challenges and opportunities for the city as well as the innovators and businesses in our community.

This month it’s our program’s goal to explore the relationship between sustainability issues and competitive advantage for startups, SMEs and (multinational) corporations. We also aim to enhance our collective understanding of what can be done on an individual level to contribute to these ambitious targets.


May at Venture Café Innovating the Industry

Existing businesses play a large role in both our current and future economy. However, many of them are facing challenges in order to transition to the new economy.
Increasing concerns about the state of our planet have catapulted sustainability issues into the boardroom of many SMEs and larger organizations. Consequently, corporate sustainability initiatives have flourished, driven by the desire to minimize costs and risks, maximize opportunities and enhance reputation.

What does sustainability mean in the business context? How can businesses manage emerging sustainability challenges without compromising their core advantages, and transform themselves into ‘sustainable enterprises’?

During our Thursday gatherings we aim to enhance understanding and to spark our entrepreneurial visitors to be as sustainable as possible.

Oh, and don’t forget: Rotterdam will be hosting the Eurovision Songfestival 2020!


June at Venture Café Across bridges, Sectors & Generations

This month we will cross cultures, bridges and generations. Rotterdam South will be put in the spotlight as we focus on all the great developments in this vibrant part of the city. For those who plan to take their business abroad, we will host an Expansion Café to help you with what you need to cross borders. To explore what we need to cross these paths, we will highlight the developments in the field of Arts & Architecture as it is Architecture month in Rotterdam.


July & August at Venture Café Summer School

During summer take the time to upgrade your skills and competences! Venture Café partners with various organizations to bring you an entrepreneurial school that will allow you to build and/or take the next step with your business, upgrade your 21st century skills and get you inspired about the latest innovations and developments.

  1. During the summer school we will focus on two tracks:
    “Build your business in 8-weeks”: aimed at entrepreneurs, early stage startups and those with a great business idea.The curriculum will include the idea phase,
    orientation, Think about “How to build a successful team”, “How to get noticed by your target audience”, “How to get paying customers” etc.In this track we aim to cover all relevant subjects for running a successful company ranging from organizational design, to finance and marketing & sales.
  2. A track around 21st century skills and the latest developments: think about e.g. coding, blockchain and IoT – this is aimed at a broader audience to also include corporate representatives, students and individuals seeking inspiration.


September at Venture Café Global Challenges, Local Solutions

As Gail Whiteman, Professor at Lancaster University, indicated during Rotterdam Capital Days on 19-September 2019, “UN Sustainable Development Goals is all about understanding the earth’s system and setting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the earth”. An astonishing 90 countries have already aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, all working towards achieving these goals by 2030.

In September 2020 the SDGs celebrate their fifth birthday since they were set in 2015.

The question we want to ask this month is : where do we stand today? And: can we as a community deliver on getting us where we need to be in 2030? This month Venture Café Rotterdam will offer a platform to showcase what the Netherlands and Rotterdam have to offer to solve global challenges and we will showcase what is happening within our network to contribute to the SDGs! We won’t go at this alone; all of the sister Venture Cafés worldwide will work together to create an even larger community for change.


October at Venture Café Capital & Growth

Find all the elements to get you and your business growing. Expect our program to cover funding, scaling up and revenue generation. Our program will focus on your personal and team’s growth. October is capital month all around, as the next edition of the Rotterdam Capital Days will be organized.


November at Venture Café Purpose, Impact & Growth

Social entrepreneurs are addressing manychallenges communities face today like sustainability, livability within neighborhoods and social welfare.  We celebrate them and their initiatives during our Impact Month in November. Since ImpactFest, Purpose Day, as well as The Impact Days are taking place this month we want to offer a stage at our Thursday gatherings to all entrepreneurs and organizations with a social mission.

Our program will address sustainable economic growth of any type of company. And: we will celebrate entrepreneurship, as part of the Global Entrepreneurship Week!


December at Venture Café Future Forward

Can you imagine what the world will look like in 2050? Where do we work, how will we work, and what skills do we need? What will our economy look like: will universal basic income have been introduced? Will our healthcare system be fully automated? And: will we have attained the Sustainable Development Goals or will The Netherlands have flooded by then?

Let’s get together to philosophize, explore and debate around these subjects


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