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Brainport Development

Brainport Development 
(regional economic agency)

Region:           Brainport Eindhoven Region (NUTS 4.1.1, Zuidoost-Noord-Brabant)    
Country:          The Netherlands
Webpage:        www.brainport.nl/en 
Contact details: Anne van der Velden, strategic advisor  ([email protected])

The independent clusters within the network/ region:    

The clusters currently being developed within the development agency: 


Brainport Development is a regional economic development organisation, working with representatives from industry, knowledge institutions and public authorities (triple helix) to strengthen the Brainport Eindhoven top technology region. Due to its highly innovative and successful High Tech Systems & Materials (HTS&M) industry, Brainport Eindhoven Region is an important cornerstone of the Dutch economy and an important international player. The HTS&M sector employs more than 60.000 people and counts nearly 7.000 companies in this relatively small region (750.000 inhabitants). 

When strengthening Brainport Eindhoven Region, Brainport Development primarily focuses on existing regional assets; this implies strengthening both the innovation power in HTS&M including related activities/ industries. Hereby, it employs a bottom-up approach; facilitating groups of companies that jointly and explicitly request support for collaborative actions. There are several crucial conditions for clusters to be successful: ownership by the companies, a common problem and corresponding agenda, a long term scope and some degree of organizational cluster-capacity. Only then the planned collaborative actions will enable solutions that satisfy all cluster members needs. When the conditions are in place, Brainport Development uses a project based approach to cluster development. 

This approach has resulted in the emergence of various clusters and cluster organizations in the past. Ideally, these have spun out of the development agency and continued to exist as self sufficient, independent organisations (corporations mainly) when cluster members were willing to (partly) finance the new organisational structure. Brainport Development has been working on its first,  premature, cluster projects starting from early 2000’s. There are now many very different clusters present in the Brainport Eindhoven Region. They vary considerably in their goals (ranging from business development, to labour market issues to branding to technology development), size (ranging from 12 to almost 200 members), age (everything up to 10 years old approximately) and composition (only industry or also educational/ knowledge institutes of governmental members). Consequently, the type of (external/ independent) cluster organization and their stages of maturity, governance model and financing structure, differs a lot as well. It mainly depends on the way the cluster originated. 

Program on Clusters
Brainport Development found that its regional clusters, those satisfying the conditions above, are valuable to the regional economy, because they increase the degree of competitiveness of their members. Research among 12 clusters in the region and more than 100 members has shown this. In 2015, Brainport Development started to further roll out and implement a more structured cluster approach in order to better focus its activities and to further increase its significance for the business sector. With that Program Brainport Development enables clusters that solve common company-problems. This is actually a tailor-made form of support by the development agency. There are several clusters being developed within the organisation, with the intention to continue their existence externally, being self sufficient and independent. The company is also scouting for new cluster possibilities. Actually, Brainport Development is recognizable and accessible for companies, and capable of connecting them with others and also with relevant research- and knowledge institutes. When developing specific clusters, Brainport Development brings them together and makes them sharing knowledge, exchanging networks and in the end: creating added economic value, entrepreneurship and new businesses. Moreover, Brainport Development is setting up a learning network of (external/ independent) cluster managers in order to enhance their skills and stimulate cross-cluster cooperation within the region. Moreover, the company draws attention for the cluster approach in general, in national economic policy and instruments. 

Current relevant topics (start 2017)
Topics that are predominant in the region and have the potential to become future clusters are: 3D printing, advanced manufacturing, smart manufacturing, industry 4.0, robotics and plastics.
For a more detailed presentation of Brainport Development’s activities see attached document.