‘The level of ambition for northern business can increase significantly’

The region of Groningen, North and Central Drenthe does too little with the economic potential in the area. This is what economists from Rabobank say in a report on the area. The region has grown less rapidly than other parts of the country over the last 25 years. According to the researchers, Drenthe and Groningen can play a leading role when it comes to sustainability, energy conversion and green technology.

The report from Rabobank Kring Groningen & Drenthe is about the capital region Groningen. The municipalities of Aa and Hunze, Assen, Noordenveld, Tynaarlo and Midden-Drenthe also belong to this region in the study. In the study, 33 people from the northern business community, education and health care were interviewed. NOM director Dina Boonstra, Mare Riemersma (board of Drenthe College), Paul van der Wijk (chairman of the board of Wilhelmina Hospital Assen) and students from Groningen participated.

The researchers conclude that the level of ambition in the northern business community can increase considerably. To do this, the region must shake off its unwarranted modesty. “We get from our mother here in the Nordics that we should not ‘gasp’ too much. It is a strength, but at the same time also a limitation, because sometimes you just have to blow yourself up in what is possible here.” says Rabobank CEO Carlo Ezinga. According to the bank, the area ‘with its unique strength can play a crucial role in the new sustainable and inclusive economy’.

‘Retains the lead on hydrogen’

The northern region is very well suited to become our country’s sustainable energy region: there is space, the infrastructure (roads and railways, ed.) Is good, and there is also enough knowledge in the field. The region can become a frontrunner in the production of green hydrogen and already plays a leading role in electricity production with wind and solar energy, the researchers say.

“In terms of infrastructure, we are perfectly located in the north, if you look at a theme like energy transition,” says Ezinga. “Only that is what they themselves think in Amsterdam and Rotterdam. We still have a lead in the hydrogen area, but we must make sure that we maintain that position and that we are not quickly overtaken to the left and right by other regions.”

The researchers conclude that it would be good for the regions of Groningen, North and Central Drenthe if the government made the choice to fully embark on the energy transition in this region. The bank emphasizes that speed in the decision-making process is necessary through good cooperation between the state and business. Determination encourages entrepreneurs to continue investing in energy conversion and sustainability.

Better collaboration

Researchers advise companies to join forces. By working together, you stand stronger when you sit at the table with important parties, the council says. It is important for companies to have close contact with government and education, because the latter two are very crucial when it comes to politics.

Better cooperation between business and education is necessary in any case, the researchers say. Currently, both work too much independently. Therefore, knowledge of major social themes reaches too little to the business world, and young talents do not find such an easy path from education to business either. Among other things, schoolchildren and students must meet people from the business world at an early stage.

‘Not to be an underdog’

Bank director Ezinga also sees with sadness that many students, when they have completed their education, travel to Randstaden. “And what do they say when you ask why they travel?” We would rather stay in the Nordics, but there is simply nothing for us here. “Then one thinks: oh oh oh, what a missed opportunity, because there is of course enough in the north. “

Ezinga is convinced that young people do not know that this has to do with northern modesty. Companies should go public much more often, he says. “We have to profile ourselves better, because otherwise the talent will go to Randstaden.” It is important to be proud, he believes. “We talk more, even when we’re in the West. Not always the underdog or the Calimero.”

Take control

Research also shows that it would be good for companies that are technologically advanced to take the lead. They can involve other companies in the transition to a more sustainable economy. According to Rabobank, this is especially good for small and medium-sized companies. In addition, the start-up climate should be improved. Start-up entrepreneurs are often innovative, but it is often difficult for startups to find appropriate funding.

The researchers also recommend investing in the leisure economy in rural northern Holland. Healthy aging in other words healthy aging, is also an important theme to invest in, the researchers recommend. Money must be spent on measures that can ensure that the elderly can live longer at home with good care, the council says. The accessibility of the Nordic countries from the rest of the Netherlands is very important in this respect.

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