From the moment I learned about the Incubator Study Tour to Eindhoven in The Netherlands I knew I wanted to be on it. It took some wrangling but you know what happens when you tell the Lord what you want and then trust it will come to pass. It does!
Why did I want to come to Eindhoven? Simple…Fortune magazine calls them the next Silcon Valley. However, these guys aren’t trying to compete with Silicon Valley they are creating their own space and identity and in 2011 they were called the Smartest Region in the World. Now Eindhoven is called the smartest square km because of the number of patents that come out of the High Tech Campus annually. No where else in the world is even close to them and this is attracting tech companies from all over who want to be close to the action.
I don’t blame them. I was almost ready to start looking for a house but I had to remind myself that the above average warm temperatures aren’t normal for this time of year and won’t stay that way. Can this island girl adjust to being back in the cold? We’ll see.
But I am so glad I was able to come and meet up with more than 30 other business-focused individuals from public and private sector from the Overseas Countries and Territories from the Caribbean. The tour was funded through COSME, which is a project focused on building the small and medium-sized enterprises in the region.
In the coming days I will write more posts about specific things I learned but wanted to jot down a few notes on the overall trip.
One of the most obvious lessons that was repeated daily was the clear focus and joint agreement on what needed to be achieved. The entire region agreed that they needed to do something to halt unemployment and they looked to the universities and technology as the source of the solutions. With much savvy, a lot of cajones and belief in their collective ability to deliver, Eindhoven is now world renown as a source of hardtech. They are making useful technology that can improve the lives of people. They are doing this in the medical field, sports, travel and mobility.
While the world now seems to be discovering them by no means are they an overnight success. This is a 20-year old dream now manifesting in major ways on many fronts. I promise to break the tour down into specific learnings and look closely at the various types of incubators that have been created to produce different results. Give me some time as I’m still in the midst of it all in Holland.
Check out tour photos on my Facebook page here – https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1256961227667856.1073741833.785795501451100&type=3