Demcon Campus, artist's impression

There is no doubt about Demcon‘s ambitions: with locations in Best, Delft, Enschede, Groningen, Maastricht, Münster, Tokyo, and Singapore, a large part of the globe is covered. At the same time, the spin-off from the University of Twente emphasizes the importance of its home base. The new Demcon Campus in Enschede will soon offer space for further growth in an inspiring working environment and will thus also make a necessary contribution to strengthening the economy of Twente. With this, co-founder and CEO Dennis Schipper wants to give back to the region what he himself received with his company for many years. “We can show that it happens here. That tomorrow starts here today.”

Dennis Schipper, Demcon

Schipper’s vision is not a marketing story. He and his 750 colleagues are convinced that growth is only possible out of respect for your origins and a clear vision of the future. Central to the vision is the impact Demcon wants to make. Schipper: “We do that by developing technological solutions for social challenges. It’s about innovative systems and products with smart applications for care, safety, water, energy, and communication, among others. In addition to technological innovation, we are committed to stimulating entrepreneurship and investing in talent and education.” In doing so, Demcon explicitly also wants to make an impact in the region, according to Schipper. “Think of economic growth and new employment; it is known that each highly skilled employee in a company facilitates an average of two jobs elsewhere in the region.” 

Also read our profile of Kennispark Twente

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    Link with the region

    Demcon currently employs about 500 people in Enschede. The link with the region is also evident in the close contact with the University of Twente, Saxion University of Applied Sciences, and the ROC Twente. “Many graduates from these three institutions find jobs with us,” Schipper knows. “We want to use our plans for Enschede as a blueprint for our other locations. With the campus development, we try to create an inspiring work environment and room for growth.”

    At the end of this year, Demcon plans to start the construction of the new Headquarters at Kennispark Twente. Together with the Demcon Innovation Center and two more properties, it will form the heart of the Campus in Enschede. “We see the campus as a breeding ground for a lively high-tech community around the Demcon Group. It’s all about spontaneous meetings and connecting. Our group continues to develop further as a collective of companies that develops and realizes technologically complex systems and devices.” By 2025, Demcon expects to have a thousand employees in Enschede. The supply chain now consists of some 350 companies, mostly located in the immediate vicinity.

    Noaberschap

    Bianca Screever, Demcon

    Demcon’s director of operations Bianca Screever also sees the importance of ‘noaberschap’, local citizenship. “By making connections with members of the city council and having conversations with your neighbors, the most beautiful things are created. Of course, there must be good plans underneath, but they only really come to life when you start talking about them. What’s more, that way we can continue to improve them.”

    Screever finds the attention to the immediate surroundings extra important now that Demcon is getting bigger and bigger. “That can seem threatening to the other companies in the area, but we want to make it feel like an opportunity for cooperation. So that everyone in our area knows that we are open to them.” This is also evident in practice, says Screever: “People know how to find us. Based on shared thoughts about entrepreneurship, innovation, and practical solutions, we come together. For example, we regularly offer office space for start-up companies. If we still have a few desks free, why not do that? It helps us all.”

    Living Lab

    Screever and Schipper are closely following the developments of Kennispark Twente. “It will be a great place for new developments and ideas that need space for testing in the field, says Schipper. “It will be a testing ground for all those technical innovations in which we ourselves play a role,” adds Screever. “How cool is that?” In doing so, the companies in the supply chain also play an important role, she says. “To retain talent, a concerted effort to develop talent helps all of us. Thinking along, offering space and opportunities; we are open about this and want to stimulate movement. That ultimately strengthens the entire region.

    © Demcon

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