The province where the lights are always on and the good times never end: Brabant. Who knows, this province might just be the best place to establish a start-up. New companies are invested in heavily, there are plenty of incubators and accelerators (of which HighTechXL is the best known) and in several cities, the most favourable climates are created to let start-ups grow. There are many promising initiatives, but there’s still a lot of profit yet to be achieved.
THE START-UP CITY: EINDHOVEN
When thinking about start-ups in Brabant, often and mainly Eindhoven comes to mind. This city with campuses like the High Tech Campus Eindhoven (HTC), the University Campus and the Brainport Industries Campus (BIC) is the engine of the start-up industry in Brabant. “When companies want to bring their enterprise to the market commercially, they’re at the right place with us,” says Paul van Son, marketing manager at the HTC. “There are now 45 to 50 start-ups located at our campus alone,” he says. A part of those is located in the recently opened High Tech Plaza, presumably the largest start-up hub of the country and the place where many HighTechXL alumni take their first steps towards the market.
According to Van Son, Eindhoven is the perfect place to launch technology start-ups. “Because the Technical University is here, a lot of new tech-companies are born here as well. There’s very specific knowledge here.” Besides, several multinationals are also located in the city, think of ASML, Philips, Intel and NXP. The start-ups can learn from the big companies and the other way around. “Start-ups are much faster and more flexible with innovations than the big companies. Then again, big companies have a lot of knowledge and a large network. It’s therefore not a matter of ‘competing against each other’, but more a matter of ‘learning from each other’,” says Van Son.
The High Tech Campus calls itself ‘the smartest square kilometre of the Netherlands’. Eindhoven offers a lot of innovation opportunities. 71% of all funding goes to Eindhoven, research of StartupDelta shows. But Brabant is bigger than just Eindhoven. Although the city clearly profiles itself as the start-up city, in a lot of other places in the province, young companies are invested in. There’s a lot of mutual cooperation: “In terms of supporting start-ups, there’s a close association in the whole of Brabant,” says Bram van den Hoogen, marketing communications manager at the Brabant Development Agency (BOM). And this pays off. “Brabant sticks to its strengths. The growth figures of the economy were 3.3% in 2017 compared with the national average of 3.1%.”
“Brabant is an economically strong province with its ‘own DNA’ and its own distinctive factors,” says the spokesperson of Bert Pauli, deputy Economy and Internationalization of the province. Especially when a start-up focuses on the medical (technological) industry, Brabant is the designated place to settle. “In absolute numbers, the list is supplied by the HTSM companies,” Van den Hoogen says on behalf of the BOM. These are companies that focus on technology in the broad sense. “Closely followed by life sciences and software.” This also includes start-ups that focus on medical technology.
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Source: Innovation Origins