The future of the Netherlands is on stage at YBA
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YBA now on RTL with 1 million euros for the winner

For the winner of the Young Business Award 2022, 1 million euros in investment money is waiting. And as if that is not enough change already: the 4 preliminary rounds plus finals will be broadcast on RTL-Z and Videoland.

It is yet another step for the national scale-up competition, which in its eight-year existence has already had hundreds of millions in investment value on the stage. Niels Palmers, already at the first edition in 2014, runs the Young Business Award (YBA ) with his companions Thomas Nauw and Roy Rocks as if it were a startup. Every year, therefore, it has to be better, bigger and different.

To a million viewers

Sometimes coincidence plays a role in this, such as last year during the comeback edition (YBA was organized differently due to corona measures in 2020) when a setting with an audience was still not possible. ''Still, it was the best edition with the greatest reach,'' Palmers notes. And through the new channels plus digital, he counts on more than a million viewers at the upcoming edition.

A much higher reach and much more money will give the YBA an even more solid image. But there will not be even better scale-ups - for the simple reason that the best start-ups and scale-ups in the Netherlands have already been on stage in Emmen in recent years. Last year alone, renowned parties such as Felyx, Klippa, Red Je Pakketje, Greener, Bidroom and CodeSandbox were among the last twelve. Palmers: "The twelve participants of the previous edition had then collectively raised over 94 million euros from investors."

'CodeSandbox becomes a billion-dollar company'

That value will only increase, is Palmers' sacred belief. According to him, the 2021 winner - CodeSandbox by the duo Ives van Hoorne and Bas Buursma - will be a unicorn, a company worth $1 billion. The company will grow faster than, say, Catawiki, which has to incur much higher marketing costs for growth and thus has a much stronger capital requirement.

''All signs for CodeSandbox point to great growth,'' Palmers says. And the remarkable thing, he thinks, is that CodeSandbox is a spin-off of the online auction wonder Catawiki. Because Van Hoorne worked at Catawiki, where co-founder Marco Jansen took care of them. Palmers: "CodeSandbox has the potential to become much bigger than Catawiki itself."

In today's environment of startups and scale-ups, CodeSandbox occupies a special position. Bas Buursma and Ives van Hoorne are in their mid-twenties, which is very young, Palmers knows. "Statistically, the founders of successful scale-ups are often at least ten years older," he knows. ''You have experienced setbacks as an entrepreneur in that age group and been scarred, you have experience, you know what choices are crucial in growing a company.''

Good agreements on the 1 million

Within the format of the YBA, there are at least two major changes: broadcasts via RTL Z, Videoland and an investment sum of 1 million euros for the winner. A third change is that the YBA has more or less evolved from a contest for startups to a contest for scale-ups. The contestants were founded between zero and eight years ago, but often have already raised substantial value and millions of euros in growth money from investors.

By the way, the investment pot of 1 million euros does come with a few conditions. The 1 million euros is an investment, which can help the winner take new steps. Palmers: ,,Maybe the winner has to give up 1 or 2 percent of the shares for that. The winner must also want to do that. Good agreements are made about that afterwards. It is just like Dragon's Den, there too the financial agreements are worked out exactly after the broadcast.''

Millions audience and grand prize of 10 million

There is plenty of money available for startups and scale-ups in the Netherlands. In the first three quarters of 2021, 4.5 billion euros were invested in startups and scale-ups. Palmers: ,,The capital market in the Netherlands is developing strongly and is ready to bring such a format to national TV. From the YBA, we envision a TV show in the future, with an audience of millions who are terribly curious to see who will walk away with an investment of 10 million euros - or perhaps 30 million. We can realize this, if our growth continues with the YBA, within two or three years."

Also goodbye Jort Kelder

The 2022 YBA edition will see a farewell to presenter Jort Kelder. ,,It feels like saying goodbye to your critical buddy. Jort has contributed a lot of positive things to the YBA and also used his network for us. We would have preferred to continue with him, but yes, Jort became an official at Op1.''

Jort Kelder is currently a presenter on talk show Op1 on public television. Hence this joke. The consequence of this work is that he is not allowed to present for another broadcaster. Palmers: ,,That is a pity, because Jort kept us on our toes. Contractually it is therefore unfortunately not possible to keep Jort involved with the Young Business Award."

The organization of the YBA is sorry that Jort Kelder cannot be retained as presenter. Palmers: ,,Jort Kelder cannot really be replaced as a personality. He is fast, always has his reaction ready and at the right moment he says the right things.''

In doing so, the organization of the Young Business Award chooses to focus entirely on the television program. "The YBA will continue fully as a TV program this year and this will be recorded early next year. This year, in cooperation with our partners, we are making the switch, in which from now on the TV program is the focus of the Young Business Award and the live event with visitors is secondary."

Broadcasts on RTL-Z

  • Broadcast episode 1 (preliminary round) | Sunday, May 15 | 5:00 p.m.
  • Broadcast episode 2 (preliminary round) | Sunday, May 22 | 5:00 p.m.
  • Broadcast episode 3 (preliminary round) | Sunday, May 29 | 5:00 p.m.
  • Broadcast episode 4 (preliminary round) | Sunday, June 5 | 5:00 p.m.
  • Broadcast episode 5 (final) | Sunday, June 12 | 5 p.m.


NOM has been a partner of the Young Business Award (YBA) for many years. We see the startup ecosystem as an important part of the economy in the Northern Netherlands. The Young Business Award ensures that the best startups from all over the Netherlands get in touch with the northern startup ecosystem through the startup competition. The Young Business Award stage enables startups to connect with a stellar business network, media and investors. Together with the Young Business Award, we work to connect, develop and promote the northern startup ecosystem.

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