In other words: how do you reach more than 1 million tech and IT talents worldwide?

Yvonne van Hest SAEYSAs Program Director at Brainport Development, Yvonne van Hest is responsible for the PEOPLE domain. In the coming period, she will be writing a number of columns for Innovation Origins on regional developments and backgrounds in education and the labour market.

Traveling across Europe, that was our idea. With a camper. A red Brainport camper on the motorways of Germany and Spain. Picking up top talents at the universities and distributing worstenbroodjes on the Puerta del Sol.

Wouldn’t that be a mega cool campaign for Brainport Eindhoven and the province of Brabant? The reason behind it is more than clear: we have a growing shortage of people. Only this year, we expect 7,000 vacancies in tech & IT in the region. And we will not only solve that with educational innovation, more students and ‘life-long-learning’. What we can and will have to do in the short term is to attract more international knowledge workers. It is not either-or; it is and-and!

Just show the world how cool it is around here

And that means ‘thinking big’. Reaching more than 1 million (tech) people around the world, that was our assignment for the campaign. But how do you do that with a camper? And what do you show? After a kind of brainstorming ‘pressure cooker’ and thinking again and again, our ‘Eureka’ moment came around. Why a camper? Why abroad? Just let them come here! Then they can see with their own eyes how incredibly cool it is in our region. Because that’s just what it is.

Mind blowing experience

And that’s how the Tech Xperience Week came about. A week in which 10 TOP tech talents from all over the world between the ages of 25 and 40 receive a ‘mind-blowing all expenses paid experience‘. Here, with us, in Brabant. What these 10 techies will experience will be filmed and shared worldwide via social media. And then we are talking about the best-kept secrets of our finest companies and knowledge institutes. What is the latest health development at Philips in Best? How does fundamental research at Holst Centre lead to an even smarter city? If you see and hear such awesome things, you want to come here and join us, you want to work here. No doubt about that!

Can we find enough talents?

After we decided to skip the camper, a new challenge emerged: how do we reach enough people in the world to select those 10 TOP talents? What if nobody would react? Well, those worries turned out to be rather unnecessary. After only a month we reached an audience of no less than 1.7 million people worldwide via social media and 40,000 unique clicks to the website. And then to know that it’s still months before October… Of those 1.7 million, we have already received more than 200 applications from tech & IT talents who really want to come. So finding our 10 TOP talents… that’s going to be okay. In fact, we will have a hard time choosing them, I think; quite a luxury problem.

Secretly, I was already looking forward to this road trip in a red camper somewhere through the mountains of northern Italy. But hey, what on earth could beat a tech trip through Europe’s leading high-tech region, Brainport Eindhoven? Nothing at all!

The Tech Xperience Week will take place from 21 to 28 October 2018. Tech talents can still register until 15 July. More information here.