With an investment of € 10 million, the government supports the ambition of Central and West Brabant to strengthen the SME sector in that region. Minister Carola Schouten (minLNV) wrote this on behalf of Minister Kajsa Ollongren (minBZK) in a letter to the Lower House yesterday.
The Regio Deal Midden en West-Brabant Makes and Moves is a cooperation between entrepreneurs, education and government and focuses on strengthening SMEs in the manufacturing, maintenance and logistics sectors. The labour market is given special attention. Now that an agreement has been reached on the financing and specific implementation of the deal, the region can start to implement it.
At the end of 2018, the Cabinet selected the proposal of the Midden en West Brabant region out of 88 entries for a Region Deal. The Deal Makes and Moves Region is committed to strengthening the economic ecosystem in the region to a sustainable and future-proof economy with a central role for SMEs. The province supports the Deal region and contributes to a large number of projects. With 10 million euros from the government and 120 million euros from the regional business community, educational institutions, the province and local authorities, the region will accelerate the implementation of the 17 innovation projects. Examples of projects are Datascience for Logistics Innovation (DALI). An initiative of Logistic Community Brabant connected to the Breda University of Applied Science (BUAS). This project involves, for example, fewer kilometres driven by road with as few half-empty trucks as possible. Or the Plant Based LAB in the former Suikerlab in Bergen op Zoom. This will be a physical breeding ground for collaborations aimed at the top agri-food sector. The 'MakerSpace' project will be a regional centre in Tilburg for the further development of circular products/innovations. In addition, it will be a working and meeting place for contact between companies involved in this field. The first intended result of this project is showcases for textile recycling.
Furthermore, the Deal aims at a labour market in Central and West Brabant, in which as many people as possible can participate by training and lifelong development of personnel from all walks of life. In order to achieve this, the region is setting up physical and digital meeting places where companies, knowledge institutions and students can work together on smart solutions for sustainable logistics and manufacturing industry.
The national government will make € 10 million available for the realisation of this Region Deal. The regional governments are contributing € 54 million. This will be supplemented by other parties, including the business community and educational institutions in the region, to the tune of € 120 million. This means that the budget for the deal of a total of € 130 million is complete. The province supports the deal and contributes to most of the 17 projects.
Directors are pleased with the government's latest financial impulse: Theo Weterings, chairman of Regio Hart van Brabant / Midpoint Brabant and mayor of Tilburg: "Collaboration. This is where we excel in this region. Specifically in the Mid-West, the cooperation focuses on the economic strength that we have as a region. We have an important and central position in the logistics network in Europe: a place to cherish between Rotterdam and Antwerp. Our economic strength can best be seen in three areas: the manufacturing industry with many jobs for our residents, the innovative activity as can already be seen in the Tilburg Railway Zone and the lead we have as part of the knowledge axis of Brabant. Knowledge, information, innovation: that makes us strong. Just like the increasingly intensive triple helix cooperation around Tilburg and Breda."
Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Economy West Brabant Region and alderman for Economy, Work and Accessibility of Breda, Boaz Adank: "As regions of Central and West Brabant, we are working together more and more intensively. Together we can really take a stand and compete with large economic regions in Northwest Europe. We have a clear goal in mind: to be an international leader in responsible production and distribution. This is important because today's earnings model offers no guarantees for tomorrow. Together with entrepreneurs and education, we are investing in making our SMEs more sustainable. This is how we prepare our economy for the future."
More information can be found in the letter from the Lower House of Parliament.