Rethink 2020 ...
It has been a difficult year for many of our members. Fortunate exceptions aside, as for some of our members it was unexpectedly a very good year. Think for example of Nuno Prata, a young entrepreneur who runs The Fietsenshop and who could hardly keep up with the demand for bicycles...
Unfortunately, the majority of companies was not so lucky and thus straight from the start of the pandemic, the Chamber's team realized all "hands were needed on deck" to support our members whenever and wherever possible. Hence, we pro-actively contacted our members one-by-one throughout the year. At the end of 2020 we produced an "Antidote 2020" video with and for our members. We are sure it will provide for a smile: have a look here.
During 2020 invitations were sent out to all our members to participate in our specific and general online events. In particular, the small-scale sessions, called Focus Groups, with groups of entrepreneurs from the same sector or region proved to be useful for members to exchange ideas and to share concerns, experiences and solutions with each other. We also invited legal and fiscal experts to provide for up-to-date relevant information. Many indicated that they would like to continue such sessions in the future, even once face-to-face meetings and public events are possible again. We will certainly respond to that.
Another new event was the so-called Idea Café, in which small groups of entrepreneurs from the same sector brainstorm with each other about their challenges and may discover new business opportunities and gain useful contacts on the way. On our site you will find all upcoming events and of course we will send you regular invitations. We hope you will be taking part soon.
In recent months, we have also invited our members to useful seminars on a wide range of subjects, whether it be legal or fiscal topics, remote work, impact of Covid on the economy, tendencies or, for example, practical information on the Brexit arrangements. We understand that not all topics are useful to everyone, which is why we offer a range of webinars, together with our members and partner organizations, such as NLinBusiness, other bilateral Chambers of Commerce, AICEP and others.
Many members have also used the free hour of service that everyone is entitled to, for example, to obtain useful contacts or information. Several companies also took advantage of the opportunity to post strategic news on our site and social media.
A number of members have also made use of our Export Passport service, where we helped them for example to increase their market by providing for introductions with potential clients and partners (e.g. export of tropical wood to the Netherlands), applying for grants (e.g. shoe factory), setting up IT company in Portugal (PIM solutions for textile industry). Unfortunately, we also had to spent quite a bit of time on company checks to get information about potentially fraudulent companies and to protect members from purchases that would ultimately not be delivered.
During the year we have received the support of many of our Members, Board Members and our Corporate Members. We would like to especially thank the people of our Núcleo Duro ("hard core") for the ideas and support we received from them. The Núcleo Duro consists of some of our Board Members and Members who actively wish to contribute to the Chamber and who meet once every 2 months. Last year we received the inspiring support of Nuno Pinto Magalhães, Eric van Leuven, Luís Newton, Alex Griekspoor, Erik Lassche, Maarten Drenth, Joana Neto Mestre and David Carvalho Martins. If you are also interested in participating in one of these meetings, please let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org
The cooperation with the Embassy was also of great importance at the time of corona. Ambassador Nienke Trooster was actively in touch with the Dutch community and kindly organized a corona proof lunch for a small group of members. Also this year, the Ambassador plans on inviting more members as soon as the situation permits. Both the Economic Team and the policeman present at the Embassy actively supported our requests. Thank you all !
A memorable moment was provided by our member Gesink Náutico, as the result of a request by the Terra dos Sonhos Foundation to provide the 12-year-old seriously ill Gonçalo an unforgettable "Dutch" birthday. Read more about that special day here!
In addition, we would like to thank all members who have supported us spontaneously and throughout the year with new ideas, contacts and all the people who have contributed to the study trips and casestudies from RSM and TIAS Business School. We look forward to a continued pleasant collaboration!
We were pleased to see that new members also joined us in 2020 and we look forward to be able to introduce them properly at a live event! Let us hope for everyone that this will be before long.
With special thanks to our Corporate Members: