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Young Heroes winner NOM PitchCamp 2022

Connect with each other and engage in conversation together," host of the day Leonie Ebbes concluded her opening remarks at the NOM PitchCamp 2022. The NOM business developer could not have expressed more clearly the main purpose of the event, which took place last Nov. 24 and featured Leeuwarden startup Young Heroes as the winner.

Of course, the PitchCamp offers four promising northern startups the chance to win €15,000 in prize money with an irresistible pitch. But for the early stage entrepreneurs perhaps even more important is getting to know (regional) networks and investors. To be able to more easily attract funding now or later, find a first launching customer or gain access to other interesting entrances in the business community. And yes, for that, the event is an opportunity par excellence.

Successful again

The setting for the PitchCamp this time was the stately chateau hotel and restaurant De Havixhorst, beautifully situated on an ancient estate in De Schiphorst, Drenthe, near Meppel. Afterwards, Reno Minnema, who organized the PitchCamp on behalf of the NOM, leans contentedly on a standing table. For indeed, this edition too, the second this year, was more than successful.

'The quality of the pitches was high, the atmosphere good and, above all, there was plenty of interaction between the startups and the investors,' Reno reflects. 'Exactly as we had hoped in advance and, to be honest, expected.' Shortly before, he saw that Young Heroes ' pitch had been chosen by the audience as the eventual winner. The company from Leeuwarden managed to stay ahead of EchtFit, and Solid.

Young Heroes winner NOM PitchCamp 2022

Different, faster, better or more sustainable

So Sarah's story made an impression. But actually the same was true of the other three pitches. You could tell from everything that they had been thoroughly prepared, with the support of the NOM. Moreover, the selected startups share the ambition to show that things can be done differently, faster, better or more sustainable. They each do this in different ways and each in a different market segment.

Groningen-based, for example, has developed software that makes it easy and affordable to create and review a variety of legal documents. 'A godsend for the vast majority of entrepreneurs,' argued founder René van der Horst. Because almost 90% say they find arranging legal documents complicated, expensive and boring. While we actually find it tremendously fun.'

Mathijs Dijkstra, CEO of EchtFit, also treated the audience at De Havixhorst to a convincing story. 'Why is it so hard to stay fit?' asked the self-confident entrepreneur from the Frisian town of Luxwoude. 'Because immediate gratification wins out over delayed reward. And how do you ensure that immediate gratification leads to a healthy lifestyle? Simple: knowledge, analysis and feedback. So everything a personal trainer also does. Only with the EchtFit app we do it with the help of an algorithm more accurately, faster and, above all, scalable.'

Equally confident, Harm Besseling, also from Friesland, entered the stage. "Solid is a manufacturer of the strongest motorcycles and mopeds in the world," the founder and owner of the Marssum-based company began. To give those present a concrete picture, he had driven a moped into the hall beforehand. A beautiful vehicle, to be sure. One hundred percent electrically powered, moreover, and with a distinguished design. Especially meant for people who are looking for a sustainable alternative to go to work, for example," Harm clarified.

Young Heroes winner NOM PitchCamp 2022

Thinking big

Between pitches, there were speed dates with investors and co-owners Judith le Fèvre and Richard Bruins of Meppel-based Ferr-Tech, which has developed a revolutionary solution for purifying (waste) water, told how their company grew from startup to scale-up. They also came up with some valuable tips for startups. Such as: If you bet big, you're also going to think bigger. Or: Stay focused under all circumstances. But also: Try to get over your own ego and look for partners who are complementary.

"Ferr-Tech's story really inspired me," Eva van Leeuwen, CEO of Young Heroes, told me after receiving the award with colleague Sarah, the winning pitcher. 'The whole PitchCamp was a beautiful and educational experience anyway. What are we going to do with the prize money? We are going to use it for marketing, including the creation of a campaign to also bring the upcoming coaching and career program to the full attention of Young Professionals.'

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