Rotterdam collaborates with Dubai on innovations in water, food and energy


Rotterdam is committed to the ambition of being a resilient city, fully prepared for whatever happens. Innovation is crucial to accelerate the energy, circular and digital transitions of our city and we often lead the way in new ideas and innovations. Rotterdam is home to world-leading clusters in water technology, food and energy and we showcased this knowledge during a succesfull innovation mission in Dubai from 24 March until 28 March. This mission was organised in the run-up to the Dubai Expo 2020, where the Dutch participation will be centred around the theme ‘Water, Food & Energy’. The Dubai mission was organised by Rotterdam Partners together with RVO and ScaleUpDelta.

Innovation mission

The Mayor of Rotterdam led the innovation mission to Dubai where 16 promising scale-ups from the water technology, food and energy sector from Rotterdam and the Netherlands were matched with relevant companies in the Gulf States. V8 Architects, the Rotterdam architect firm that will design the Dutch pavilion for the World Expo 2020 Dubai also joined the mission. Other scale-ups include Travis (translation devices), Proton Ventures B.V. (innovative engineering solutions), Comon Invent (emission reducing technology), Wellsun (energy performance of building environment), Thomas Consulting (sustainability and agrifood consultancy), SEALEAU (salty wastewater management and recovery of resources). Part of the program was a visit to DEWA (Dubai Electricity and Water Authority) and Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City, one of the world’s most sustainable urban communities. Also Sharjah was paid a visit following their visit to Rotterdam last year and offered concrete business opportunities to the delegates. Infinipipe was invited to showcase their solution for producing endless pipelines on the spot.

This innovation mission builds on the Memorandum of Understanding between the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Rotterdam Partners to increase collaboration and economic promotion. The MoU was signed in 2016 and has led to important collaborations. It has resulted in a knowledge exchange between CIC Rotterdam, Yes!Delft and actors in Dubai’s innovation ecosystem. It has provided a basis for SME’s based in our region, like Wafa Industries, to expand their business in the Gulf region over the last years. Another achievement is the executive training programme that Erasmus University Rotterdam / Rotterdam School of Management has developed for DP World, a world-leading Dubai company.

Impression of the Dubai mission

MoU Rotterdam Partners and Dubai Chamber

During the innovation mission, a new MoU between Rotterdam Partners and Dubai Chamber of Commerce for the period of 2019-2021 was signed. The collaboration will enter a new phase in which Rotterdam Partners will partner with the Business Boosting Unit of the Dubai Chamber. The aim is to identify mutual business opportunities for investment and trade to strengthen both economies. Following the signing ceremony witnessed by Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb and H.E. Majid Al Ghurair, Dubai Chamber organised a very successful business matching event where the Dutch companies met with potential clients, investors and business partners. In the days after many follow-up meetings took place and contracts were signed.

One of them is LG Sonic, which offers chemical-free solutions to monitor and control harmful algal blooms in large water surfaces. This company will work together with the Dubai municipality to improve the water quality of thirtylakes. Other successful deals were closed by SoundEnergy, which converts heat into cold and has been invited to apply its solution to local food production. Wellsun, a business which offers solutions to make buildings more sustainable and livable, made cooperation arrangements with DEWA. IBIS Power signed a contract to place a PowerNEST in Sustainable City. And Travis the Translator also managed to close multiple deals for the sale of their product.

Future plans

Tuesday April 16th 2019 a remeet with the delegation, coaches and mission organisers is planned to secure the business deals that has been discussed during the mission. A mission from Dubai to The Netherlands is being planned for autumn this year. Meanwhile Rotterdam Partners is closely cooperating with the Dutch Expo2020 organisation to further grow the friendship with Dubai and build long lasting relations with the Gulf region.

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