It is the dream of every start-up: expanding to a successful company. But how do you accomplish that? In the episode of Boven het Maaiveld on the 8th of April, Rudy Dijkstra CEO of Acquaint spoke about the basis of his success, the condition of the start-up climate in Friesland, who he had around him to become successful, and what is necessary for more start-ups to grow.
After a brief explanation on the inspection techniques that Acquaint currently offers, it was discussed what preceded the production and marketing. Rudy says: ‘’The first idea is about fifteen years old. Through my experience in the oil and gas industry, I researched if the same inspection techniques could also be introduced in a different sector. It turned out not to be the same. A water board pointed out that this was exactly the type of technology they are looking for. Within a day I found two more water boards and the first investigation was soon started. The next step was to develop, together with five Dutch drinking water companies – that represent around 83% of the entire pipeline network – and a few waterboards, a pilot tool.’’
The definition of a successful start-up is somewhat relative. Rudy emphasises on crossing the chasm in his vision: ‘’When you are working on an innovation and when you also manage to reach a large part of the market, then you are a successful start-up’’. There is not really a start-up culture in Friesland. Unlinke big cities such as Eindhoven or Amsterdam. ‘’It is important to find people who are willing to contribute to the growth of the company, mentors with who you can spar. What I remember most from all the different mentors that I had around me is that I have to keep the focus and give direction to the people who work for me. . I try to be a source of inspiration and to challenge them continuously. That thought I take with me every day’’, says Rudy.
In the north of the Netherlands there is a lot of job opportunities for physical labour. The combination with, as Rudy mentioned ’cleverness’, such as IT, could create high-quality labour. Rudy is enthusiastic about the cycle in which companies are in: ‘’Because of this, new start-ups will be created. Graduates returning to Friesland to work bring an enormous amount of innovative power with them: They represent future-proofness. Leeuwarden has a certain appeal to attract students. Acquaint, for example, has no trouble with attracting a lot of good students to do a graduation or an internships.’’
‘’During this corona time a lot of companies had a ‘wakeup call’. We are in a situation where we can do a few client visits. The world is changing in the way people interact. You can do two things: wait till things turn back to the past or adapt to see how you can operate within the market. There are loads of possibilities online. A couple of like-minded entrepreneurs in Friesland meet up. For example, we participate in the Export Academy: a group of 5 entrepreneurs that have the same problems and challenges. One has more experience than the other, but you strengthen each other and that is what the world currently needs.”
Listen to the podcast via: Spotify.
Would you like to know more about Acquaint or one of the inspection techniques? Contact Rudy Dijkstra via firstname.lastname@example.org.