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For a long time, it remained an ambitious idea: bringing together high-tech manufacturing, knowledge and talent under one roof. Now, more than two years later, the Brainport Industries Campus (BIC) is up and running. With around 100,000 square metres of business space and shared facilities such as logistics and catering, there is plenty of space here. You might say because the rentals are going fast.

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While work is still in progress on the completion of the building inside, at least 75% of the space on the campus has already been taken up. There are also ongoing negotiations with various (international) parties who want to reserve a place. “If you take this into account, we are already 85% full,” Eli Lejeune says with a bit of pride. He started as Head of marketing and communication at Brainport Industries Campus on 1 September. Faster than expected, plans are already being made for the construction of a second building on the site. When construction will start is not yet known. In total there is room for five buildings.

First tenant
In August Anteryon took the first step as the first tenant. At the same time, almost 1500 students of Summa College started their new school year here. This year, the students and the lens manufacturer will be joined by big names like KMWE, which supplies parts for the exhaust of the JSF and Yaskawa, a manufacturer of industrial robots. Lejeune: “But also software companies like Fujitsu GLOVIA. They make so-called ERP software to optimise the processes surrounding production. In this way, we create a unique mix of companies that add value to the ecosystem we are trying to create here.”

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_testimonial _builder_version=”3.12.2″ author=”Bert-Jan Woertman” job_title=”Director” company_name=”Brainport Industries Campus” quote_icon_background_color=”#f5f5f5″]

“It’s no longer about being the cheapest, it’s much more important to be smarter. You can never do that alone.

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Setting up the ecosystem
How do you do that? Setting up an ecosystem? From the first sketch of the campus, people were the most important starting point. The focus was on meeting each other and seeing what they are doing. Upon entering the large hall this immediately becomes clear: open spaces and lots of glass. The central place is the atrium. “No, retreating with the door locked is not possible here,” jokes Lejeune. He explains that the Brainport Industries Campus does more than offer companies a location: “We want to know what BIC members need, we will be in constant communication with them. How do they get the best out of their business? Maybe they want to follow certain training courses. But this isn’t just about work. This should also be a place they like to come to. Totally different from a grey collective building on a remote industrial site.”

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According to Lejeune, there are other aspects that are important for building a functioning ecosystem: “We are now at a kind of turning point; traditionally, products should roll out the factory as cheaply as possible. This view is changing slowly; production is more than just reducing costs. As far as we’re concerned, investing in talent and sharing knowledge is far more beneficial in the long term.”  Or as campus director Bert-Jan Woertman explains: “Everything has to be faster and better, you have to be smart for that. But you can never be the smartest alone. That’s why cooperation here on campus is essential.”

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Green character
As they say, the BIC is the first campus in the Netherlands without a connection to the gas network. Director Bert-Jan Woertman: “Everyone talks about it, but we just do it. Energy comes from sustainable solutions. Heat pumps, a heat-cold storage system and almost 9000 solar panels make gas unnecessary. Energy supplier ENGIE supplies the systems. From March next year, this company will examine the energy consumption of the BIC’ers, with the aim: to make them more sustainable. Or collect residual heat and use it elsewhere.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_testimonial _builder_version=”3.12.2″ author=”Bert-Jan Woertman” job_title=”Director” company_name=”Brainport Industries Campus” quote_icon_background_color=”#f5f5f5″]

“We have a nice mix of clever heads and smart hands. They all meet each other in the atrium, where new ideas arise.

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The strength of the chain
As an example, he mentions a statement by Peter Wennink, CEO of ASML. He emphasised how important the quality of the chain is to ASML’s success. Woertman: “At ASML they make perhaps the most complex machines in the world, which can only be made here. The success of the high-tech manufacturing industry in the Brainport region is largely due to the supply companies, nowhere in the world do they have such an important role as here in the region.” Woertman tells that suppliers are more and more involved in the production process, they take on more research & development and provide knowledge in the field of technology and design. “From a supply chain we have evolved into a value chain. From employees in thinkers. In fact, suppliers help develop the entire production process. A large part of the added value comes from them,” explains Woertman. In this he sees the Brainport Industries Campus as a logical next step: “Suppliers, education and the government work together in a unique way here. It is a catalyst for innovation in the high-tech manufacturing industry. I dare to say that Brainport is a global leader in this field.”

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_testimonial _builder_version=”3.12.2″ author=”Eli Lejeune” job_title=”Head of marketing and communications” quote_icon_background_color=”#f5f5f5″]

” In a way, we are the biggest startup of Eindhoven, it has never happened before that so many different parties from the high-tech manufacturing industry come together on such a scale.

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Clever heads and smart hands
Setting up an ecosystem is a dynamic process, it is a social product emphasises Woertman. “Research by Erasmus University in the top sectors shows that social innovation is determinant for the success of innovation, it thrives on coincidental encounters. For example, the atrium is literally a bridge that connects all activities at the BIC. But that is one aspect of the whole, we have to be constantly engaged in the development and sharing of knowledge. An active programming with events around the relevant trends and themes for the manufacturing industry will make this happen. In addition, we must keep each other on the cutting edge; the ongoing development of the chain is key. That process never stops, that’s what makes the job so great.” The Brainport Industries Campus must become the face of the manufacturing industry in the centre of Brainport Eindhoven. Visitors can also see how production works in a smart way. Woertman: “We have a mix of clever minds and smart hands meeting each other in the atrium and talking about what they are working on, which gives rise to new ideas. Especially when you consider that this is a meeting place for the entire network, even if you are not a resident here, you should be able to benefit from the presence of the BIC. In this way, the whole chain benefits.”

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Clubhouse of the Brainport region
Lejeune complements him: ” We are in a way the biggest startup of Eindhoven, it has never happened before that high-tech suppliers, education, government and knowledge institutions have come together on this scale. What will it look like? We don’t know exactly this for ourselves. That’s what makes it such an exciting process. We know we have a good idea, and we can only prove this by setting strong examples. Then you’ll really see it,” Then smiling: “Many companies already understand it, the fact that we’re almost full demonstrates this.” Both of them look enthusiastically to the future: “We are building the clubhouse of the Brainport region here. Here we show what great things you can do if you join forces. Not only do we present the region’s business card. We are also an interesting party for international players. Anyone can walk into our building and take a look through the windows at the factory of the future, almost all doors are open.”

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