Yesterday, the Global Entrepreneurship Week started worldwide. In the Netherlands, there was a big opening event at the Airport of Rotterdam. Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Liberal Democrats, opened the event.

Afterwards a live episode of the popular BBC TV show “Dragon’s Den” took place. Four entrepreneurs had the chance went on stage and pitched to the “Dragons”:

Arjen de Koning, Founder of Paradigit (Computer manufacturer and retailer)

Rachel Elnaugh, Founder of Red Letter Days (gift experience vouchers) and one of the first BBC dragons

Willem Sijthoff, Founder of the Dutch Financial Times and BNR Nieuwsradio

Henk Keilmann, Founder of RIG Investments

The business ideas they were pitching came from very different areas:

  • A chain of budget (cubicle) hotels, with the first hotel in Amsterdam.
  •, a casual marketplace for second-hand goods, directly competing with eBay. They will launch their second version at Le Web 2010 in Paris (Dec 8th)
  • A large fish farm in Nigeria to serve the unmet demand for fish.
  • A innovative desk lamp with iPhone-like multitouch interface to control direction, size and intensity of the light – targeted retail price: € 750!

Unfortunately the “Dragons” only indicated their interest but did not commit to investment amounts on stage. But still it was interesting to see which questions they were asking the entrepreneurs about their business cases. When was asked about their current number of users they could not give an answer – not sure if they were caught off guard or not really seeking for funding – at least it left a bad impression among the “Dragons” that they didn’t know their numbers.

Overall it was an interesting event which surely contributed to a more entrepreneurial culture in the Netherlands.t

P.S.: Here is the passionate opening speech of Nick Clegg (he’s even fluent in Dutch):