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Open Data and Entrepreneurship

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Startup Weekend Utrecht (SWU) has traditionally focused on creating added value for society by encouraging new startup initiatives. Last year, sustainability was central to SWU; this year the focus is on the chance to stimulate ‘open source entrepreneurship’.

Open source products (software with freely available source code being the most well known example) as well as other open methods (such as data, access and standards) have not only encouraged startup-rich areas such as Silicon Valley, but also made it possible for regular people with great ideas to be innovative.

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Consider some examples of what open data has done and can do for entrepreneurs: https://data.overheid.nl/ is a source of publicly available data built by the Dutch government and is available to anybody who wants to build a value-added application. There are a number of different types of data, such as education stats, license plates, budgeting and buildings. Check out award-winning apps such as OmgevingsAlert, iKringloop or Bike like a Local that make use of open data like this in new and practical ways.

neeliekroesIn fact, European Commissioner Neelie Kroes talked this past July about open data and businesses with Chair of the Waag Society Marleen Stikker; watch it here via Apps for Europe. She believes that young entrepreneurs who recognize the importance of open data and focus on making use of it are the ones who will come out on top. Waag Society also recently did an open data project about all 9,866,539 buildings in the Netherlands, see herewaagbdg

The term ‘open source’ has been around for 15 years – we’re celebrating that! The question is how we can all best learn (and profit) from this successful innovation from the tech industry during (and beyond) the weekend together. As an organization, we’ve pledged to make open source as many event documents as possible so that the crew of SWU’14 has a quick start in making preparations for the next edition. Check out http://party.setup.nl for a celebration of Open Source in Utrecht earlier this year.