The Brainport-Eindhoven region has developed into a leading location for deeptech entrepreneurship in Europe. Against all odds, it has transformed itself from a region that heavily depended on the multinational company Philips, into a diverse and fast-growing deeptech ecosystem. While this success has not gone unnoticed, there is not yet a clear account of how and why the Eindhoven region emerged as a global hotspot for deeptech innovation and entrepreneurship. Moreover, such an account might provide an exemplary model of a collaborative ecosystem, one that provides an alternative to the “winner-takes-all” entrepreneurial culture of Silicon Valley. This essay explores the performance of the Eindhoven region in terms of three structural conditions. First, the focus on deeptech R&D and entrepreneurship appears to be deeply rooted in the region’s history as well as strong competencies in systems engineering, design thinking, and multidisciplinary collaboration. Second, a collaborative approach to regional policy gives industrial, academic, and governmental actors an equivalent position in its “triple helix” governance. Finally, the Eindhoven region benefits from a systemic approach toward co-locating R&D and entrepreneurial activities on five campuses. Overall, the huge complexity of deeptech systems and products apparently requires a truly collaborative approach at all levels of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.