On 6 October 2011, Minister Verhagen of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture & Innovation (EL&I) presented a symbolic cheque for € 5 million to the Centre for Valorization and Entrepreneurship (CVO) Groningen. This action marked the official opening of CVO Groningen.
In preparation for the centre and its activities, the Groningen partners formed a consortium in 2010. The heart of the consortium is formed by three knowledge institutions – Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen, the University Medical Center Groningen and the University of Groningen. Other partners closely involved in the CVO include the city and province of Groningen, NOM, the Rabobank, FrieslandCampina, Triade, Samenwerkende Bedrijven Eemsdelta and over 50 SMEs.
The CVO is financed by the Groningen partners, who have collectively contributed € 10 million, and the valorization programme of the Ministry of EL&I, which is contributing € 5 million. This comes to a total of € 15 million for the period 2011-2016. One of the goals of the CVO in the next few years is to give a strong qualitative and quantitative impulse to the regional economy through targeted valorization (converting knowledge into economic or social value). In addition, a great deal of effort will go into strengthening education related to knowledge-intensive entrepreneurship.
The Centre for Valorization and Entrepreneurship Groningen will be active in three main areas:
The CVO will actively involve students in the first years of their degree programmes with the possibilities of entrepreneurship, as enterprising professionals within a company or as independent entrepreneurs. The CVO is going to actively track and supervise research, students and entrepreneurs from the knowledge institutions and draw together the supply and demand for innovative knowledge. Finally, the CVO will earmark funds to support the innovation and growth of enterprises, focusing in particular on the strategic clusters Healthy Ageing and Energy. The contribution by the CVO to the expansion of these nationally important clusters is an important reason for the city and province of Groningen to support the initiative with a combined financial contribution of € 1.4 million.
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