YES!Delft and Smart Delta Drechtsteden accelerate innovation in the maritime industry

Accelerating the energy transition in the maritime sector, advancing digitalization, and engaging in critical discussions about biofuels.

At the event ‘Creating a Maritime Future’ on June 19 at the Duurzaamheidsfabriek, participating parties set their own agenda. Smart Delta Drechtsteden and YES!Delft connected startups, scaleups and other companies to accelerate innovations in the maritime manufacturing industry. This is crucial to maintain and strengthen the region of Drechtsteden’s TOP-3 position in Europe.

The so-called Unconference is the first public event organized jointly by Smart Delta Drechtsteden and YES!Delft since their collaboration began in April. By connecting startups from YES!Delft’s network with maritime manufacturing companies and organizations in the region, knowledge sharing and collaboration are fostered. Through this cooperation, new technologies in the sector are developed earlier and faster. This is essential, particularly for the energy transition in inland shipping and addressing the labor shortages in the maritime manufacturing industry. During the event, various startups and scaleups were connected with other companies and organizations in the region, including parties like Van Oord, Baggerbedrijf de Boer, TNO, and Rijkswaterstaat.

“By partnering with YES!Delft, our region can strengthen ties with education and industry in the maritime manufacturing sector. Startups bring new technologies and develop them faster. This is crucial for our region to innovate more quickly. This partnership with YES!Delft is something we hope to expand further in other technical sectors in the future.” 

Councilor Jan Nederveen, co-managerial leader of Working & Economy for the Drechtsteden municipalities

Creating a joint program

After the opening remarks, the agenda was set by the participating parties, clarifying the key themes in the sector and areas for knowledge sharing and innovation. These topics were then addressed in various breakout sessions. In these sessions, several parties expressed a desire for certainty regarding sustainability investments that could affect market competitiveness. Discussions also covered how parties can jointly accelerate digitalization, how innovations can enhance productivity, and how collaboration can expedite the energy transition in the maritime sector.

Aligning with existing initiatives

Business Developers Pieter Boersma from the Refit Alliance (Sustainable Sailing) and Arjen de Jong from Zero Emission Dredging (ZEDHub) (Sustainable Dredging), alongside Smart Shipping Hub, were also present to discuss existing initiatives that companies can join. These initiatives are part of the Innovation Roadmaps supported by the ongoing Regional Deal Drechtsteden-Gorinchem. Interested in learning more about these projects? Contact the Business Developers.

Interested in participating in the startup innovation challenge for both companies and startups in the Drechtsteden region? Keep an eye on our events page or contact Amber Marijs (

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