Jorn Douwstra, Executive Leader for International Trade and Investment at Rotterdam and Partners
János Kele, General Director at Budapest Enterprise Agency
Dr. Bart Kuipers, Port Economist at Erasmus UPT, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Moderated by Alex Irwin-Hunt, Global Markets Editor and co-host of Rising Ecosystems Podcast at fDi Intelligence

We will discuss the current barriers to trade related to COVID-19 and Brexit. Will smart cities attract more FDI due to technology, or is trade and investment simply related to long-standing relationships and the city’s identity?

How can a city promote itself to ensure they are attracting interest for long-term sustainable economic stability? What does a city need to do to maximise the opportunities to promote trade and support businesses already invested?

It can be argued that prioritising changes to urban infrastructure is central to Smart City development, ensuring the foundations are in place before additional solutions and services can arise.

For entrepreneurship to thrive, it is vital that a robust support framework is both created and maintained. What are the pros and cons of multi-stakeholder partnerships to support innovation and drive change, and what impact does this have on the future of trade? Is this independent of being a smart city?

Jorn Douwstra, Executive Leader for International Trade and Investment at Rotterdam and Partners

Within Rotterdam Partners, Jorn Douwstra is part of the leadership team as Manager of the International Trade and Investment team. He got promoted into this position in the summer of 2020 after he had been working for Rotterdam Partners for over five years as a Business Manager for various sectors, but with a specific focus on the Maritime sector during the last years. He then also lead the acquisition team for the Rotterdam Maritime Capital collaboration and was responsinble for investor relations and attracted international companies to the greater Rotterdam region. In his current role, he is responsible for the teams working on Foreign Direct Investment, The Rotterdam Expat Centre as well as the Trade Development team.

He is trained as an economist at the University of Groningen and Copenhagen Business School. He started his working life at the Dutch Ministry of Transport and furthered his career by developing and implementing the innovation policy for the City of Delft before the  moved to Rotterdam Partners where he has been working since 2014.

Rotterdam is a dynamic metropolis, internationally acclaimed as the gateway to Europe. Our port is the central hub of Europe’s largest maritime cluster, but we are also a key player on a global scale in other strong economic sectors.

Thanks to our many internationally renowned knowledge institutions, a thriving international business community, high-quality culture and architecture, a rich leisure offering, and a highly diverse population, Rotterdam is the total package. Our strategic location in Europe literally connects us to the rest of the world.

Rotterdam Partners is the official investment promotion agency and your gateway to Rotterdam. We assist companies looking to expand their international operations and invest abroad. We open the doors to Rotterdam and use our expertise and experience to help you succeed. With our free, confidential and impartial services, we help you to find locations with the best potential for your business and to easily set up and grow your business in Rotterdam. We know Rotterdam like no other and can connect you to our broad network of service providers, strategic partners, business networks / associations, knowledge institutions and public authorities. The International Trade & Investment team of Rotterdam Partners, together with the Invest in Holland partners, offers a wide range of services to help foreign companies develop a business case that justifies an investment in Rotterdam

János Kele, General Director at Budapest Enterprise Agency

János Kele is the newly-appointed general director of Budapest Foundation for Enterprise Promotion, an institution founded by the Municipality of Budapest and responsible for elaborating the development policy designed for SMEs. János previously worked for the Hungarian government as an evaluator expert dealing with SME development programmes within the Cohesion Policy. Last year he was member of the staff responsible for supporting Hungary’s MFF negotiation in the European Council with calculating the country’s allocation from the Structural Funds. Recently joined to the Budapest Foundation for Enterprise Promotion now he is working on the implementation methods of the Municipality’s Smart City Strategy.

Budapest Enterprise Agency is the only organization founded by the Budapest City Council back in 1993 for the development and promotion of the micro, small and medium enterprises of the Hungarian capital. Its mission is to contribute to the development and expansion of viable, new and existing entrepreneurs based on the market needs, thus contributing to the creation and preservation of workplaces in Budapest and to the facilitation of the economic growth of the Capital.

Between 2014-2020 the Smart City Budapest (SCB) Initiative collected mostly grassroot organisations and projects in Budapest that fit the smart city concept. SCB Initiative aimed to introduce best practices from businesses, institutions, non-profit organisations and the people of Budapest. With knowledge transfer our goal is to encourage citizens to take actions for a better city. A city is smart when investments in capital and communication infrastructure fuel sustainable economic growth and a high quality of life, in combination with an efficient use of natural resources. But a smart city doesn’t exist without smart citizens.

Dr. Bart Kuipers, Port Economist at Erasmus UPT, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Bart Kuipers works as a port economist at the Erasmus Centre of Urban, Port and Transport Economics in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, where he is involved in policy advice and teaching courses for the master Urban, Port and Transport economics of the Erasmus School of Economics. His advice relates to economic impact analysis, spatial analysis and future/scenario studies on the port ecosystem and on global trade patterns. His work is characterized by seven c’s: Containerization, the Chemical industry—which was the focus of his PhD-work—, City-port relationships, Competition between ports, Chain analysis and the role of ports, CO2-and the impact of external effects on ports and Construction/maritime manufacturing. The impact of disruption and digitalization on the port business are additional fields of interest.  

Erasmus UPT is an independent centre of expertise founded by Erasmus University Rotterdam. 

Its mission is to help actual and future leaders develop a deeper understanding of the economic, managerial and social evolutions in the domains of: city, port and airport, transport and mobility. It aims to provide a solid knowledge and fact base to help their decision making on critical issues.

The organisation’s experts develop thought leadership by connecting high quality academic research with profound knowledge of the business.