Kennispark grows: more than 550 new jobs in 2019
Investment remains necessary
With 550 extra jobs, Kennispark accounts for a quarter of employment growth in Enschede. “Kennispark is now really growing from a business park to an innovation campus where innovation originates, entrepreneurs like to establish themselves and companies expand,” says area director Anne-Wil Lucas. At the same time, she warns: “Central government and the municipality must continue to invest, otherwise this innovation engine will come to a standstill”.
Investment remains necessary
The credits for the extra jobs go to the companies and knowledge institutions in the area. At Kennispark the technology companies and the University of Twente turned out to be mainly responsible for the new jobs. In this way, Kennispark is fulfilling its role as an engine for the regional economy.
In 2019, a total of 9,510 people worked at 430 companies and institutions at the kennispark. Lucas: “For the coming year, we expect the companies at Kennispark to continue to provide more employment. A number of companies have already started with their expansion plans, such as Xsens, Demcon and Micronit. A number of others are still coming. It is no coincidence that the number of jobs at Kennispark is relatively large. Research carried out by Buck Consultants International shows that employment on campuses grew much faster than in the municipalities in which they are located. In the period 2014-2018, the total growth in the number of jobs in the municipalities where the campuses are located was 6 percent, while on the campuses that percentage was no less than 22 percent.
Jobs at all levels
Research and development of new technologies ultimately leads to production and thus to jobs at all levels for our region. That is why, even now that economic decline is looming, we must continue to invest in innovation and campus development, according to Lucas. “It is precisely during this corona period that we have seen that companies in Twente have smart solutions, are innovative and know how to find each other. The COVID crisis has also shown that we are dependent on other countries for vaccines, mouth caps and treatment methods. That makes us vulnerable in crisis situations. “I expect the government to invest in medical technological solutions and production in its own country in the coming period. That offers plenty of opportunities for the MedTech cluster at Kennispark,” says Lucas. “We are also in talks with the government about developing shared facilities, such as laboratories for MedTech companies.
Meet and connect
At the same time, the corona crisis has taught us that it is important to be able to meet physically. “Of course we can work from home, but innovation often comes about through chance and organized meetings of people who share knowledge with each other. That’s why campus development and creating places where people can meet each other is so important for Kennispark. As area organisations, we work on this together with all the users”. Lucas hopes that the municipality of Enschede will make money available in the budget to stimulate connecting and meeting. “The change from Kennispark to a real innovation campus is getting underway. Just look at the new Ecare building and the establishment of the Broodbode, the building plans of Micronit and the establishment of the Fraunhofer Project Center at Kennispark. We are one of the top ten campuses in the Netherlands and one of the few Business&Science parks with the university so close. Now the municipality of Enschede must also dare to invest in the future of Kennispark, for example by creating squares and meeting places. Otherwise, innovative companies will soon look for more attractive areas.
Manifesto Top Locations
On 1 July 2020, the 10 top locations in the Netherlands jointly launched the ‘Top Locations’ manifesto, in which they argue for extra investment in the innovation campuses. “Camuses and science parks are literally and figuratively the places where chance and organised encounters lead to new ideas and businesses. That physical aspect of the Dutch innovation ecosystem deserves more attention. With this manifesto, we bring that to the attention of the public.
Sources: Kennispunt Twente and ‘Top Locations’ manifesto