Startups To Watch, Gerard & Anton Awards 2019, High Tech Campus Eindhoven, © Heddy Gijbels
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The start-up ecosystem in Brainport Eindhoven plays a “cautious role” on an international level: from StartupGenome’s most recent research among more than 1,000 ecosystems worldwide, the region ranks 193rd. “That can and should be higher,” says alderman Stijn Steenbakkers. In fact, he wants Eindhoven to become one of the top start-up ecosystems in Europe and even number one for “deep-tech start-ups“.

The claim is not new. For the past five years, Eindhoven has worked on reaching a prominent position in the world of high-tech. Initiatives like HighTechXL were, alongside those of TU Eindhoven and High Tech Campus Eindhoven, most prominent in this respect.

Steenbakkers notes that the city still lacks a common vision and the landscape is quite fragmented. “There is a need for a recognizable and permanent place where start-ups, investors, and knowledge institutions meet in Brainport Eindhoven. In order to structurally show the world what Brainport Eindhoven has to offer from a unique high-tech signature, we will also have to collaborate better with the outside world. This will enable us to better attract and retain technological talent, innovative companies, and (foreign) venture capital with a higher risk appetite.”

Stijn Steenbakkers © Gemeente Eindhoven

Steenbakkers updated the city council on Tuesday evening about the plans. One of the ideas the alderman explained is the ‘one-stop-shop’ for start-ups. “This will be one central place in the city where starting entrepreneurs can turn to with questions about the business model, financing, and housing. It will be the central gateway to our ecosystem, where we can point start-ups in the right direction.”

Steenbakkers also looked at the collaboration between the knowledge institutes. “Eindhoven is characterized by a wide range of studies and training opportunities. Start-ups and entrepreneurs often find each other through the training or knowledge institution. We see opportunities for cross-fertilization with these different knowledge institutions so that start-ups with different disciplines are started. In this way, we increase diversity and creativity within the start-up scene.”

He also talked about “a further developed online platform where supply and demand of the ecosystem come together” (Brainport Connect) and about important events such as Innovation Origins’ annual Gerard and Anton Awards.

With this initiative, Steenbakkers also wants to make the city more emphatically a candidate for the national Deep-tech investment fund.


The city’s claim is not a new one. In fact, HighTechXL‘s Guus Frericks already mentioned Eindhoven’s opportunity five years ago. At Innovation Origins’ December 2015 High Tech Piek Event, he explained why Eindhoven should become the global High Tech Capital. The video snippet below shows the last seconds of Frericks’ speech at the event in which he was awarded the ‘High Tech Piek”.

Guus Frericks next to IO’s Merien ten Houten (left) and alderman Staf Depla, 10 December 2015