By connecting the dozens of companies and organisations based at Strijp-T, innovation in the Eindhoven manufacturing industry can be further strengthened. The Strijp-T Innovation District Foundation was set up to shape this ambition. VanBerlo founder Ad van Berlo is chairman of the first board.

“The new foundation will actively connect organisations and the people who work there in order to strengthen the innovation climate”, says Ad van Berlo. “It’s not without reason that Strijp-T is the area in Eindhoven where tradition and innovation come together and ideas are brought to life. Experimenting, innovating and accelerating, it’s in Strijp-T’s DNA and that’s why the chance of successful innovations is even greater here.”

Although the new Strijp-T is still in development, the slogan “Make, Create, Innovate” is deeply rooted in the area, the initiators say. Philips has achieved its greatest successes at Strijp-T and spin-offs such as NXP and ASML were created here. With its traditionally strong base in the high-tech manufacturing industry, Strijp-T was and is the cradle of the Brainport region. It is the place where the cd and the dvd were invented and where new technologies are still being developed, for example by companies such as VanBerlo, Additive Industries, CTOUCH, Amber and Thermo Fisher Scientific. Fontys ICT is also based here and Brainport Development will be moving in soon.

The goal of the foundation is to improve the innovative character of the district through mutual connections. Co-founder Ad van Berlo explains how this works: “Only by connecting the organisations and the people who work here at Strijp-T can the various companies form a ‘community of like-minded people’, focused on open innovation. I am convinced that we can inspire each other even more through a shared vision. The resulting cross-pollination will then ensure that the ecosystem can be further strengthened.”

Ten years ago, Ad van Berlo already had his eye on the monumental power station at Strijp-T. For him, it was the ideal place to allow his company – which is now run by Thomas Paulen – to grow further. It took much longer than he thought at the time, but in September 2017 he was finally able to celebrate the official opening of the building. Then things went fast with Strijp-T, developed by Geva Vastgoed. The power plant (now called Innovation Powerhouse) is fully rented and so are the buildings behind it with iconic names such as TQ, TAQ and TAB. In the meantime, hard work is already being done on the Glass Laboratory, or the TY pilot plant, which is already experimental in its design.

The first results of the foundation are the construction of an open communication platform and a number of events on the premises of Strijp-T to bring the tenants into contact with each other. It should eventually lead to a more self-evident mutual contact, even if there is no direct reason to do so. Ad van Berlo: “Because the major challenges of the future cannot be solved with contemporary methods, Strijp-T challenges you to think differently, to experiment and to come up with new inventions in this way.

According to Van Berlo, this is precisely why Strijp-T is home to both educational institutions and businesses. “Diversity of supply is of crucial importance and education, in particular, can be a connecting factor. We all know by now how important lifelong learning is.” Here too, the new foundation can play an active role, says Van Berlo. “All the organisations based here are actively connected to each other and this creates a lively innovation climate of organisations that complement and reinforce each other. Especially with great diversity, as is the case here, an added value is created. In this way, Strijp-T can play an even more active role in creating our future.”

Photo of the board of the foundation © Geva: Ad van Berlo (VanBerlo) – Chairman, Bernard Gosselink (CTOUCH) – Treasurer, Ton van de Kerkhof (Brainport Development) – Secretary, Boudie Hoogedeure (Geva Vastgoed) – Member of the Board, Ernst-Jan Louwers (Louwers IP|Technology Advocaten) – Member of the Board, Laura Conradi (Never Ever Blue) – Member of the Board, Remco Mulder (Bureau Franken) – Member of the Board.

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