According to the Brabant Development Agency (BOM), this organisation helped create 1,150 new jobs in Brabant last year. “No less than 39 foreign companies were assisted to establish or extend their operations in Brabant – projects that added €134.5 million in investments to the province’s economy.”

Some examples of the drive witnessed in Brabant last year include the fact that Advantech decided to grow its European Service Center, with Merck following suit, both in Eindhoven. “The expansion of the Advantech facilities in Eindhoven saw a growth in opportunities for advanced technological innovations, while Merck’s 15 million euro investment in its manufacturing facilities in Veldhoven meant more high-quality jobs at this extraordinarily innovative company.”

Eelko Brinkhoff, Manager at BOM Foreign Investments & Trade, says the project portfolio is well-filled, but jobs per project and capital sums invested are on the decline. “When it comes to major logistics projects we are experiencing pressure on the labor market and a shortage of large lots. We continue to focus, both as a team and together with our national and regional acquisition partners, on the opportunities we see in foreign markets and we respond to any prospect that arises. We are adhering to a strategic focus on our commitment to specific countries and industries, because we believe in the opportunities that this approach will create over the long term.”

That strategy has also brought recognition from a panel of experts at fDi Magazine, Brinkhoff adds. The fDi European Cities and Regions of the Future awarded the province for both its number two position in the rankings as having the best fDi strategy as well as for having the best quality infrastructure and IT. “Interest from Asia remains high, but at the same time, we have noticed a longer-term reticence on the part of US companies when it comes to investing in Europe. It remains to be seen whether this is just a temporary position.”

Brexit also continues to create uncertainty for companies, resulting in European investments being put on hold, Brinkoff says. “But it has also meant new opportunities among companies that are considering moving their operations to the European mainland. In Brabant that has resulted primarily in the increase of leads for logistics and manufacturing, and our aim now is to tip the balance to our advantage in this dynamic market.”

Source: Brabant Development Agency

Photo: John Jorritsma at Advantech

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Author profile picture Bart Brouwers is co-founder and co-owner of Media52 BV, the publisher of innovationorigins.com.