High Tech Platform: exhibitors on a theme day. Image: Mikrocentrum.
Author profile picture

“The relationships between high-tech companies are changing. We are no longer just customers, clients, or suppliers; it is much more of a partnership. We are doing it together, learning, developing, and growing together,” said Jason Kant, sales director at LM Systems. Automation and robotization are becoming increasingly important in industry. Machines in manufacturing environments are increasingly sophisticated and complex. ASML – one of the most important companies in the Netherlands right now – is growing incredibly fast. The chip giant’s success is determined by its performance throughout the chain, of which LM Systems is also a part. So it’s hard work in the Brainport region.

Kant: “The developments go so fast; you just can’t do it all by yourself. Moreover, within the network, we are also more transparent to each other; we give each other a peek behind the scenes. We all learn from that, creating a very different way of working.” Dutch SMEs are increasingly focusing on high-tech components for companies, for example, in the worldwide robotization field. The High Tech Platform of network organization Mikrocentrum helps them establish contacts with other companies in the sector and exchange knowledge and experience.

Eyes on the goal

This is also the experience of Pieter-Jan Rovers, director at Acal BFI. His company too has been a Mikrocentrum’s High Tech Platform member for more than 20 years. “The platform ensures that we are visible to potential customers and partners. It’s a matter of finding the right people and ensuring others find you. You end up working together toward a final goal. In this, an ecosystem such as Mikrocentrum’s is vital,” Rovers states.

Acal BFI offers various components for high-tech companies. Rovers: “We not only supply the components but also have the knowledge to implement them properly in companies’ processes. This puts us at the center of technological advances.”

A good relationship

The days of quick deals are over, he says. “In our world, the three R’s play a big role: reputation, routine, and relationship. A good reputation is incredibly important for a company. In addition, it is important to build trust by showing that you do something often and are therefore good at it. But most importantly, the relationship. Who has relationships and does business. We don’t go for the quick wins then but for the long term. That suddenly makes competition a lot less important,” Rovers explains.

Gathering knowledge together

Besides networking, knowledge sharing within a platform like Mikrocentrum’s is also essential for entrepreneurs. Kant gives an example: “We recently examined with two other SMEs how vulnerable we are to cyber-attacks. Here, we all drew our lessons. By taking on the project together, we were able to learn from each other and share the costs. That saves an awful lot because it’s almost impossible to do otherwise as SMEs.” LM Systems also undertook a similar project around cleanroom research and development. “Since recently, we have our cleanroom, which would not have been there if we had had to do the research alone.”


Rovers has also learned lessons as an entrepreneur through the network. “Some time ago, I was responsible for acquiring an office in Belgium. Then, I started looking within Mikrocentrum’s network for companies with similar acquisitions. I started talking to them to get experiences.” That worked very well for him, he points out. “If you are open to it, you benefit greatly from a network like this.”

Kant also notices personal growth in himself and other entrepreneurs. “You learn a lot from the stories of others, both the successes and the not-so-good moments. That’s how you share experiences and lessons. This allows you to make better-considered decisions.” Both entrepreneurs see the need for collaboration in the high-tech and manufacturing industry. Kant: “Mikrocentrum’s platform is a strong connector. Through all the contacts and the lessons we learn from each other, we grow as entrepreneurs and a company.”


This story is the result of a collaboration between Mikrocentrum and our editorial team. Innovation Origins is an independent journalism platform that carefully chooses its partners and only cooperates with companies and institutions that share our mission: spreading the story of innovation. This way we can offer our readers valuable stories that are created according to journalistic guidelines. Want to know more about how Innovation Origins works with other companies? Click here