Netherlands' Brabant Region a one-stop shop for expansion, research

Part two of an investigative series on European entrepreneurialismBy Lou Covey, editorial director New Tech Press

In the previous report, we looked at opportunities in Poland as they continue the process of entering the European Union.  This report goes west where the hub of EU entrepreneurism lies, The Brabant Province.

The Brabant province straddles the border of Belgium and the Netherlands.  To the south it reaches into the Belgian capital city of Brussels the home of IMEC, arguably the leading nanotech research center in the world.  To the north it comprises most of the Dutch southern communities and the home of the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven.

New Tech Press sat down with representatives from the northern province Marcel de Haan, Director of Strategic Acquisition and Bodo DeWit, senior project manager, to talk about the one-stop-shop for technology companies looking to expand into Europe. (Watch Interview here)

The campus is home to nearly 100 companies ranging from giants like Phillips, to obscure startups working in equally complicated futuristic technologies, from 55 nations producing up to 4 patents a day. It represents an cooperative effort between governments, business and universities to foster start-ups and SMEs in global companies.

The crown jewel of the organization is the Holst Centre (/), an independent open-innovation R&D centre focusing on wireless autonomous sensor technologies and flexible electronics.

Holst was set up in 2005 by the Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre (IMEC)  and Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research with support from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Government of Flanders. Named after Gilles Holst, the first director of Philips Research.

A key feature of Holst Centre is its partnership model with industry and academia based around shared roadmaps and programs. Companies looking to expand research capabilities can apply to the center and pick from a menu of non-competing companies to enhance or take research in new more efficient directions.

"The clear focus of Holst Centre is to develop generic technologies for its partners or other interested companies to license and use in their next-generation products, said DeWit. "However, to demonstrate and validate our technologies,  we have set up a number of Technology Integration Programs that focus on a specific application domains."

The primary focus of the technology is in health care, lighting and signage, organic photovoltaics and smart packaging, but DeHaan said The Centre and its partner network are constantly looking for new application domains, hence the reason for their recent trip to the U.S.. "This makes our research more tangible for parties thinking about joining Holst Centre. It also gives existing partners a clear understanding of the technology potential of our research."

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