Most university spin-offs and scale-ups in the Netherlands are located in Enschede. Many new companies arise from the University of Twente and the Saxion University of Applied Sciences. These are enterprising knowledge institutes that, at the end of 2017, together with the AKI Academy of Art & Design ArteZ and the ROC of Twente, entered into a covenant with the municipality in which attracting and retaining talent plays a prominent role. Enschede is part of a City Deal between the government and all knowledge cities of the Netherlands. Van Veldhuizen: “Enschede is known as a city of innovation. The available space, knowledge and facilities offer ideal conditions for the development of pioneering solutions. Strong suits are combined in ‘Smart Enschede’. We open our city for new concepts and allow residents, companies and visitors to be the first to benefit from these innovations.” Smart City Enschede is aware of the potential impact of smart data use in the social domain and daily traffic. That’s why the City of Enschede developed a Smart Mobility App for its employees, which enables business transport to be planned efficiently and environmentally friendly. Additionally, a biking app has been developed with which traffic lights turn green faster. This app has been running for several years now.
Many Dutch people don’t think about an urban conglomeration when thinking about Twente, but about a green region. The latter is a major advantage, but the first is wrong: Enschede as the largest border city along the German-Dutch border collaborates with Münster and Osnabrück to eliminate border barriers. Enschede is part of “Netwerkstad Twente”, a regional partnership between various municipalities in Twente. In that context, the areas of Münster, Osnabrück and Netwerkstad Twente form an economic conglomeration with more than 1.5 million inhabitants and 100.000 students at a university level in a range of 60 kilometres. The region is traditionally known for its manufacturing industry but gets more and more attention at the governmental level. Van Veldhuizen works with the Department of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and secretary of state Raymond Knops on cross-border statistics.
The economic potential of the region and the high-quality labour potential in combination with the green living environment provide an attractive business climate for innovative companies. An ecosystem is developing around the university and university of applied sciences in which human-centred innovation is central. Knowledge institutes, entrepreneurs and the government meet in various sectors, and Novel-T facilitates the ecosystem with start-ups and scale-ups. The knowledge and business park Kennispark Twente, affiliated with the university, is one of the top 3 innovation campuses in the Netherlands.
Technology Base, a 500-hectare area around the former air force base Twenthe, offers companies and institutions a controlled environment for development and testing of unmanned systems such as drones, but also for simulating real-life situations. In the public-private partnership Space53, national and international companies work closely with research and educational institutions such as the University of Twente and Saxion University of Applied Sciences. The Twente Safety Campus is the meeting place for innovation and development of safety-related products, services and solutions.
“In Enschede, we want to contribute to making society smarter. I want to invite companies and institutions that share this goal to come to Twente. We offer the right space, companies, knowledge institutions, people and mentality to develop, test and implement innovative products and services. You can quickly get in touch with the people that can help you move forward through the websites novelt.com and twente.com. You can also reach me at email@example.com, and we will then quickly get back to you.”