Record of foreign projects heralds post-coronavirus recovery

17 February 2022

Tilburg, February 17, 2022 – The 53 foreign companies that established in Brabant last year marks a slight rise over the record level of 50 in 2019. This figure demonstrates that the province has made a complete recovery from the 2020 Covid-related low of 35. Companies view Brabant as a strategic region in terms of further optimizing value chains in the European market. fDi Intelligence cited the manner in which Brabant is capitalizing on the decentralization trend as one of the reasons it was awarded the Strategy Award for Mid-Sized Regions 2022/2023.

Globally, winning this biennial competition, which is run by the Financial Times-owned fDi, is considered a validation of a market-oriented internationalization strategy, a strategy that the Brabant Development Agency (BOM) oversees in Brabant.

"The fDi Award affirms the course that we adopted in 2014," said Eelko Brinkhoff, Manager Foreign Investments at BOM. "That chosen path entailed us focusing in full on the unique product-market combinations available in Brabant, such as high tech systems and materials, agri-food, and life sciences and health, together with a focus on top innovation regions around the world." In the last year, the Agency's in-depth sector studies, which have been highly regarded internationally, as well as the actions in response to Buck Consultants International's report on reshoring were pivotal in that strategy. BOM moreover assisted international companies to become more sustainable, with the Coca Cola factory in Dongen serving as a great example of those activities.

The award underscores the strength that exists in Brabant. The ecosystems that revolve around high tech, the manufacturing industry, and life sciences, which we have continued to develop in recent years, are clearly very appealing to foreign companies. Our focus on innovation not only boosts business, it also results in smart solutions that benefit the people of Brabant. The international strategy adopted by the province of Brabant and BOM works, and it creates a healthy economy both today and in the future.

Martijn van Gruijthuijsen - Provincial Executive Deputy (Economy, Knowledge and Talent Development)

Focusing on recovery

The 53 newcomers in 2021 represent a total investment value of €369 million and will create 1,841 jobs in the next three years. Many companies spent last year investing in value chain optimization by, for example, moving production closer to their clients. Covid-19, the closure of the Suez Canal, and Brexit also all caused many companies to restructure their supply chains, which means the number of companies engaged in market-focused activities was dramatically higher than in preceding years, increasing the gap with R&D-oriented companies. The fact that restoring delivery continuity took priority over new R&D investments meanwhile saw the number of projects involving R&D drop from 31% to 17%, although that was still above the Dutch average.

It is notable that, keeping in line with BOM's targets, an increasing number of companies are playing a part in solving the challenges that society faces. Some examples include the organic alternatives to plastic which Footprint is working on, Redefine Meat's plant-based meat substitutes, and SodaStream's commitment to stopping single-use plastic bottles. "BOM is increasingly becoming an impact-driven organization," said CEO Brigit van Dijk - Van de Reijt. "We combine the powerful regional ecosystems in Brabant with innovative business and the services that BOM has to offer. That's our way of doing everything possible to ease societal transitions."

With 18 new ventures apiece, the south-east and west of Brabant came out tops, while IT and HTSM were the most popular industries, coming in with 12 projects each.

Key figures for 2021

  • The 53 projects (21 new ones and 32 expansions) mean a return to pre-coronavirus levels. Brabant landed 50 new projects in 2019, but only 35 in 2020;
  • Ten of those projects are Brexit-related;
  • 1,841 new jobs will be created in the next three years;
  • A total of €369 million invested;
  • At 17 percent and 31 percent respectively, the percentage of projects involving R&D activities is lower this year than in 2020.

Brexit

Prior to the de facto withdrawal of the UK from the EU, Brexit caused barely a ripple with respect to projects launched by foreign companies in Brabant. The Amsterdam metropolitan region was the setting for the largest Brexit-related migration of companies, especially those that had to remain domiciled in the EU because of the passporting system and active in finance, legal, media, and data or connected to the EMA (European Medicines Agency). However, towards the end of 2020, and in the first quarter of 2021 in particular, the number of leads for companies looking to move to Brabant as a result of Brexit skyrocketed. Most of these were in the fast-moving consumer goods market and logistics activities predominated. Over the course of the remainder of the year, the effects of Brexit gradually slowed.

About BOM 

Entrepreneurship is the driver of change. From sustainable food sources to a healthy future, climate-neutral energy, and developing promising key technologies – the Brabant Development Agency (BOM) ensures that startups in these fields get off to a flying start and grow into scaleups, that the right facilities are always available to Brabant-based companies, and that companies that aspire to go global can actually do so. Over the last four years BOM has worked with over 600 companies to achieve such an impact | www.bom.nl | www.brabantisbright.nl | prestaties.bom.nl 

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