Last week I enjoyed some southern hospitality and was struck by the clean tech ecosystem that is present in Austin Texas.
East Coast Electric joined a delegation of Alliander, Cogas, University of Twente, Dr. Ten, Enervalis from the Netherlands to establish an ongoing cooperation between Amsterdam and Austin. Reason for this cooperation is the ongoing effort by both Alliander and Cogas to play a leading role in the Dutch and International Smart Cities arena. Through establishing international relations, setting up research programs and exchanging knowledge (by actually sending Phd students across the Atlantic). But most of all the smart cities collaboration between Amsterdam and Austin makes it easier for entrepreneurs to land in a trusted environment across the Atlantic.
So what struck me in Austin? Mainly 3 things: The first is the level of the existing cooperation between the University of Texas, the CleanTX incubator and the utility Austin Energy. Simply put; the cleantech field in Austin is transparent and the environment is open and cooperative. The second part that struck me is the integration with events such as the South-by-Southwest festival that creates awareness of the innovation for a broad audience (a step that is often forgotten in the NL). Thirdly the receptiveness to international cooperation. Austin is a cleantech hotspot, but rather than having an exclusive approach, they open up and look beyond their horizon, in order to make their ecosystem flourish. They acknowledge that cooperation and partnerships only work when it is a two way street.
So what have I learned in Austin? That Texas is open to innovation. That the grid problems take place on different parts of the day, but the systems to solve these problems are the same, and that spring starts early down south.
The level of cooperation between Austin and Amsterdam is admirable. And upon this international cooperation the NL and the US can only grow. Through a concerted effort the Austin - Amsterdam partnership has deemed itself very admirable.
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