Maaike van Heeren, Chemport program manager

"I like that you can contribute to useful issues every working day."

Maaike van Heeren

"I like the fact that every working day you can contribute to useful issues. In my case: the greening of the chemical sector. This is so incredibly important, everything you use in daily life, from toothpaste to the materials in your phone, the packaging of your food, everything has its origin in chemistry. And we all need to make strides in that to make it greener and more sustainable. So if you ask me if I have meaningful work, I say a resounding yes! Apart from that: it's just really fun and varied work."

"Everything at NOM revolves around the three themes of more sustainable, healthier, smarter. Certainly in chemistry it's always about greener. I want to immediately clear up a misunderstanding: if people already know NOM, they often think it's only about money. While that is only a very small part. I would rather say: we want entrepreneurs to be able to do business as well as possible.

We help in finding a convenient network, we look along in choosing a suitable location, are the right things in the business plan, which smart collaborations will help the entrepreneur move forward. Because we talk to many entrepreneurs, we can bring important themes in The Hague to their attention. I believe that 'good business' can be translated 1:1 with 'responsible business'. It has to be sustainable. And it is the entrepreneurs who will ensure this, with some support from us. If tomorrow a company knocks on our door that wants to start something with fossil raw materials such as oil; we won't do it!

I visit many chemical companies in Emmen, Heerenveen, Delfzijl and Eemshaven. Everywhere the raw materials transition plays a huge role: replacing fossil raw materials with 'above-ground raw materials'. Opportunities abound: capturing flue gases (rich in CO2), recycling in general, reusing green waste from agriculture. You can make almost anything from it, think sustainable plastic, for example. Surely these are super cool developments! In any case, it gives me great satisfaction when something like this succeeds."

"And then there are your colleagues at NOM, you get them for free. All people who have a heart for improvement, who want to make our region a little nicer. You can feel that. It is a very nice club to work for. I say: do it."