Jan Willem Overwater
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The intention was to support the Dutch Technology Week for just one year. But now, after five years, ING is still one of the partners of DTW. “Right from the beginning for us it was about the importance of the Brainport network”, says ING’s Jan Willem Overwater. “We already had a long lasting connection with the city, so when Frits van Hout came along with a request for support for his plan to interest young people in technology, we knew what to do.”

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Although ING was not by definition the bank of the technical sector, it is still a logical commitment, says Overwater. “Firstly, because we knew, from personal experience, how important innovations are for a company or a sector. But there’s more: our primary goal has always been to help businesses and individuals. In this way we also help the entire country. And precisely because the industrial sector is what the Netherlands thrives on, a contribution to this is in our interest as well.”

Meanwhile ING has become an integral part of Dutch Technology Week; nobody is wondering where and why it all started. It gives Overwater the opportunity to look forward. Because he knows that no matter how successful the event is, it can always be better. “My biggest wish is to give the Dutch Technology Week a more national, or even international importance. Drachten, Twente, South Limburg, all are regions – like Eindhoven – with a strong manufacturing industry. So DTW could certainly be a success there. And from there we could go further. It is very nice that it all started here in Eindhoven, but this is not the end. The only question is: how do you connect all those separate elements in a country that, unfortunately, still is quite fragmented?”

Night of the Nerds
Night of the Nerds

Overwater already has some ideas about answering that question. “You could look at similar events taking place elsewhere and then go and link them. Or we could export the Night of the Nerds, one of the most successful elements of the week, to other parts of the country. This way you could make logical connections that are not yet there.” Laughing: “And apart from that, a smashing opening act that stands out could also help surprise the whole country.”

The Dutch Technology Week now mainly shows what were capable of, Overwater says. “We should keep doing this, but perhaps we could add a part in which we think further. About how society is developing and what technology could do about it. A thinktank or a symposium, something like that.”

Jan Willem Overwater
Jan Willem Overwater

But first, Overwater looks at the Dutch Technology Week 2016, with high expectations. “Especially the discovery route of Saturday has my interest, because I really like it. I’m going to visit all five hotspots.” High Tech Capital can also count on Overwater’s attention. And Quiz Night XL? “Hmm, no, I once participated but then it turned out that this really is something for the experts.” Which by the way is no reason for ING to reject involvement in this event. “Certainly not, it is a wonderful event. We therefore have sponsored two tables for a number of our clients.”

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