Bart De Wever
2015 winner of the Startup Nations Award for Local Policy Leadership
Belgium
Mayor of Antwerp
Since 2013, Bart De Wever has been mayor of Antwerp, the largest city in Flanders. Startup Nations and the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) honored Mayor Bart De Wever of Antwerp, Belgium, with the 2015 Startup Nations Award for Local Policy Leadership. De Wever was recognized for his public sector achievement in championing policies and programs that advance new and young firm formation. He and his team introduced the Antwerp Startup City Program in 2014, as an ambitious and all-encompassing response to the absence of a startup scene or city-wide program. His leadership in favor of entrepreneurship has focused on four main goals – to stimulate entrepreneurship, provide a premium incubator network, have virtual incubation and see growth and internationalization. The Startup City Program has improved Antwerp’s digital infrastructure by installing wireless Internet connections, LoRa and open-sensor networks. An aspect of the program, the City of Things project, improves Antwerp’s “user experience,” and involves local startups in continuously improving the digital infrastructure. At the national level, since 2004, Mr. De Wever has served as a representative in several of the country’s parliaments, including the Senate. Bart De Wever has also written editorials for various Flemish newspapers for years about social trends and events that preoccupied him. These have been bundled in several books, along with essays he has written. As an indisputable opinion maker, Bart is a particularly sought after speaker and participator in debates.