With an innovative new rebranding, the Blue Tulip Awards – formerly known as Accenture Innovation Awards – kickstarts its 13th year. Accenture is the founding partner and lead organizer of the awards. The big finale will take place during the Accenture Innovation Summit on April 17th, 2020, in Zaandam.
With opportunities to connect, learn, and accelerate your business, the Blue Tulip Awards are ideal for startups and innovators who are pushing boundaries and registration is open now. To really learn what it means to participate and why you should definitely register your innovation, we talked to one of last year’s winners: Willemijn Wortelboer from Raw Paints. Read on to get to know more about this big opportunity!
The Blue Tulip Awards are an ecosystem-driven program that has four main events throughout the year, with prizes awarded to winners at each of the different stages of the event. Prizes include feedback from partners and other innovators, personal coaching from one of the judges, the opportunity to pitch your innovation at the Blue Tulip Awards, or an acceleration package designed for your business.
There are eight issue-based themes including climate, education, finance, health, living & working, mobility, nutrition, and security. Innovative businesses in these fields are encouraged to register. Throughout the program, there are several opportunities for companies to connect with potential investors, network with other innovators and learn from thought leaders, as well as getting extra exposure for their business.
Former winner one of this year’s judges
This year, former winner Willemijn Wortelboer will join the judges’ panel. In 2018, Willemijn’s company RAW Paints won first place in the climate category, which aims to find innovations that solve climate issues and encourage human change without being cost-prohibitive. RAW Paints does exactly that. They have developed different paint powder formulas where, once you’re ready to paint, you add water to the formula. With no water in production and therefore transportation, it reduces the amount of CO2. We talked to her about her experience during and after the program and asked her for insights and tips for anyone considering participating.
Gut feeling led to Blue Tulip Awards
Willemijn always goes with her gut feeling and believes everything happens for a reason, so when someone via the Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland (Netherlands Enterprise Agency) suggested that they should enter the Blue Tulip Awards competition, she did without really knowing much about it. “It was the best lesson I could have had at that particular time. Participating in challenges like this one helps you focus on what your mission is and can contribute to achieving the goals you have for your business.The acknowledgment from others, and getting people to understand our mission was most important to me,” Willemijn said. It was more about that than anything else for her.
Winning a Blue Tulip Award opens doors
Winning has helped them to connect with the broader audience. “I’m on a mission to rewrite history and transform the paint industry,” Wortelboer said. “Knocking on doors to say ‘Here I am’ is easier because of winning the award. In addition to my idealistic vision, the award shows my business case also has true value.”
Her advice for innovators that are thinking about entering. “If they believe they have something that can make a change for the benefit of everyone and they need an audience, they should enter. If they want to bring an idea to the next level, or if their idea is a product and they want to scale up, they should enter.”
As a woman who applies this to her daily life, Willemijn only has one tip for taking part in the Blue Tulip awards: “Stick with your gut feeling, that’s my only piece of advice,” she said.
And when it comes to innovation tips for businesses she’s just as clear about what to do. “Just do it! But also be reasonable; always reflect your idea to the people who know you well and can provide you with real advice, no matter whether they have to tell you to rethink or reconsider. With that advice, you will still be the one deciding yes or no, by listening to your instincts.”
So what’s next for RAW paints? “By 2023 we want to be the biggest paint powder producer in Europe. We are surrounded by a great team of investors and freelancers who all contribute their expertise to achieve this goal. I believe in partnerships to create more awareness for the fact we actually can reduce CO2 in this business fairly easy and we can make a difference for generations to come. With intrinsically motivated partners it is easier to bring RAW Paints to the higher level together.”
Sign up now!
Registration for the Blue Tulip Awards is open now. For more information on the Blue Tulip Awards, take a look at the video below, and register before November 17, to secure your place and avoid missing out!