Cities at the forefront of Europe's high-tech industry

Written by Janet Dounen on 10 October 2014

European High-Tech Hubs

During Expo Real this week in Munich, several of Europe's leading high-tech cities gathered to share experience on their approaches to support thriving and innovative business environments for global firms and local start-ups.

Brian Kilkelly was invited to chair a panel session with the cities of Espoo, Brainport Eindhoven, Karlsruhe, and Mannheim. The discussion looked at boosting city development and covered these questions: 

  • What do technology companies look for when they decide to expand their operations?
  • How do cities create the right eco-system for creative and knowledge-intensive industries?
  • How do thriving high-tech economies boost city development?
  • And which locations are establishing themselves as successful technology clusters, and why? 

Using the convening power of the municipality

The cities shared many examples and figures that showed truly vibrant and successful environments for business and for citizens - all growing faster than their national average and attracting many new jobs.

A common thread in the discussion was how each of the cities have invested resources in bringing businesses together, fostering collaboration locally, and working with national government. All to ensure the infrastructure and skills are in place to support their growth.

"It was clear to us that as a city we needed to go further than the traditional tax reductions and incentives to attract business. We are a forerunning innovation partner and facilitator. The Espoo Innovation Garden eco-system features a unique collaborative spirit. It is just a great place to grow.”

   Glenn Gassen, Head of International Affairs, City of Espoo

"Our region is an ecosystem of world class business campuses for hightech industries. We are improving our international connectivity and making full use of the growth potential of Eindhoven Airport and the proximity of major cities within a 120 km radius: Amsterdam, Düsseldorf and Brussels.”

   Edgar van Leest, Head of Strategy, Brainport Development Eindhoven 

"We are working on improving mobility around the city and we see an increased role in managing the process of debate and dialogue between manufacturing and neighbourhood interests as the progress of land development. 

   Christiane Ram, Head of Economic Promotion, City of Mannheim

"We recognise we need to understand the world of all sectors - research, investors, and real estate developers." 

   Ralf Eichhorn, Head of Division, Economic Promotion, City of Karlsruhe 

Conclusions

"I was impressed with the positive, ambitious, and competitive attitude displayed by the city leaders. It was evident that they benefited from sharing experiences. These cities understood that they had different offerings to the market and had much to gain from international collaboration with like-minded people. It was exciting to see them discussing how they could cross-pollinate their local innovations and enterprises." 

Brian Kilkelly, CEO, World Cities Network

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Photo credits: Factor Nova Oy

Session organised by City of Espoo in collaboration with Finland-Helsinki @ Expo Real 2014

Categories: Transport, Design, Economy, Mobility, Environment, Governance, Technology, Business, Energy and water, Amsterdam