Up!Rotterdam will run the global digital festival Upstream from September 21st-27th, to spark collaboration and growth among the frontrunners of the next economy. The festival brings together thought leaders, change-makers, and creative disruptors working at the forefront of digital, carbon-neutral, circular, and inclusive societies, uniting more than 30 public and private partners to co-create a diverse programme with one thing in common: to transition to the Next Economy.
We talked to Lars Crama, Chief Ambassador of Upstream, about the festival and its mission.
What is the vision behind Upstream 2020?
Upstream is a bottom-up initiative for changemakers, by changemakers connecting entrepreneurs, investors, corporates and students driving the transition to a digital, carbon-neutral, circular, and inclusive new economy.
We bring together proven formats from the Rotterdam, Delft, and The Hague region into a year-round networking platform and a week-long festival, kicking off next week on 21 September.
What would be some of the key topics being discussed during this festival?
Our programme has been designed by more than 30 co-creation partners leading to a diverse lineup of 45+ keynotes, talk shows, roundtables, workshops, webinars and networking events with more than 80 speakers with one thing in common: underlining the necessity of a transition to the Next Economy and showing practical ways on how to get there.
We focus on key drivers to growth: access to talent, international markets and capital. Themes include digitalisation, circular economy, energy transition and inclusive economies. This makes the festival accessible and relevant to people from all industries.
You are talking about the transition to the “Next Economy”. What are the key aspects of the “Next Economy” and how can startups and other stakeholders of the ecosystem adapt to it?
The ‘Roadmap Next Economy’ provides a roadmap towards the future and formulates five transition paths needed to shape the new economy: Smart Digital, Smart Energy, Circular Economy, Inclusive Society and Entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurs play a pivotal role in speeding up this transition. We need all hands on deck; not only looking for “green” or “social” entrepreneurs but all entrepreneurs that want to grow their impact and scale their business for good.
How can festivals like Upstream 2020 help in reviving economies ravaged by the pandemic and make them more resilient to future catastrophic events?
Startups, scale-ups and fast-growing SMEs are the biggest drivers for innovation and job creation. I believe in the power of connectedness and networks to drive positive change. That’s why Upstream has been built bottom-up – with the ecosystem partners at its core – as a space for structured serendipity, to provide access to talent, markets, and capital. One of the examples during upstream is Unlocked, where we scout startups and scale-ups globally to present their solutions for circular challenges.
The Greater Rotterdam region is home to more than 1300 innovative startups and scale-ups that are building future proof solutions. That’s why we strongly believe and invest in peer networks, such as our CEO Circle, to connect entrepreneurs. It’s all about the right people connecting and making things happen, and at Upstream we’re making that happen by attracting more great talent to build the businesses of tomorrow.
This article is produced in collaboration with Up!Rotterdam. Find out yourself and unlock your free ticket via UpStream Festival.
Image credits: Upstream