In 2017 no less than 39 foreign companies were assisted by the Brabant Development Agency (BOM) to establish or extend their operations in Brabant – projects that generated almost 1,150 jobs and added €134.5 million in investments to the province’s economy. The quality that the region has to offer is fast becoming famous on the international stage, with Brabant once again coming in high in the European Cities and Regions of the Future 2018/2019 ranking, released by the Financial Times publication fDi Magazine.
Some great examples of the drive witnessed in Brabant last year include Sarten opening a shop in Roosendaal and the fact that Advantech decided to grow its European Service Center, with Merck following suit, both in Eindhoven. The expansion of the Advantech facilities in Eindhoven saw a growth in opportunities for advanced technological innovations, while Merck’s 15 million euro investment in its manufacturing facilities in Veldhoven meant more high quality jobs at this extraordinarily innovative company. The fast-growing Turkish company Sarten meanwhile settled on Brabant as the perfect spot for its first packaging factory in Western Europe.
“Our project portfolio is well-filled, but jobs per project and capital sums invested are on the decline,” says Eelko Brinkhoff, Manager at BOM Foreign Investments & Trade. “Moreover, when it comes to major logistics projects we are experiencing pressure on the labor market and a shortage of large lots. We continue to focus, both as a team and together with our national and regional acquisition partners, on the opportunities we see in foreign markets and we respond to any prospect that arises. We are adhering to a strategic focus on our commitment to specific countries and industries, because we believe in the opportunities that this approach will create over the long term.”
That strategy has not only reaped great results, it has also brought recognition from a panel of experts at fDi Magazine. The fDi European Cities and Regions of the Future awarded the province for both its number two position in the rankings as having the best fDi strategy as well as for having the best quality infrastructure and IT.
The foundations for creating future success stories are solid, even though a number of international trends have not yet played out.
Interest from Asia remains high, but at the same time we have noticed a longer term reticence on the part of US companies when it comes to investing in Europe. It remains to be seen whether this is just a temporary position.Eelko Brinkhoff - Manager BOM Foreign Investments & Trade
“Moreover, Brexit also continues to create uncertainty for companies, resulting in European investments being put on hold. But it has also meant new opportunities among companies that are considering moving their operations to the European mainland. In Brabant that has resulted primarily in the increase of leads for logistics and manufacturing, and our aim now is to tip the balance to our advantage in this dynamic market”, says Brinkhoff.