Creating conditions for successful companies: UK versus Europe

Leuven.Inc is pleased to announce the organisation of this joint initiative with Agoria Vlaanderen, supported by IMEC, the British Chamber of Commerce and the INTERREG IIIB NWE Programme in the framework of the project Eindhoven-Leuven-Aachen Technology Triangle.

Creating conditions for successful companies: UK versus Europe
Product oriented companies that start-up, grow and flourish in the high cost economies of Western Europe have found appropriate strategic responses to achieve this success. These responses are many and varied. The 3 main ones, often used in combination, are engaging only in high value-adding activities, manufacturing differentiated products that require close proximity to key markets and working with networks and alliances giving access to manufacturing in lower cost areas. Critical to success in a high cost location is to not just suffer the burden but to use the advantages of the local ecosystem, such as high level employee skills and capabilities, access to world class technological universities and nearness of potential partner companies.

Flanders still has many successful 'home-grown' enterprises and has historically also been seen as a favourable region for foreign inward investment. The UK has however outperformed Flanders, Belgium and Continental Europe in recent years in terms of high economic growth and low unemployment. Is there in the conditions or the culture in the UK something which should explain this macro success?

This seminar will involve academic experts who will outline the socio-economic conditions in both regions and the different successful business models used. They will compare and contrast possible strategic approaches. Entrepreneurs from 'high tech' industrial companies in the Cambridge area and Leuven-Eindhoven-Aachen Triangle (ELAT) will present their companies using their area to provide in-depth illustration. They will provide examples of their use of the respective ecosystems and illustrate the impact of differences in culture, government policy, education systems, ...

- 16h00: Welcoming the participants
- 16h30: Introduction - Mr. Paul Quinton (former Industrial Director, Philips)
- 16h45: Creating conditions for entrepreneurship in the UK with focus on the Cambridge area - Prof. Mike Gregory (Head of the Manufacturing & Management Division, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge)
- 17h20: Entrepreneurship in Flanders - Prof. Koenraad Debackere (Managing Director, K.U. Leuven Research & Development)
- 18h00: Coffee break with sandwiches
- 18h15: An entrepreneurs perspective: BioRobotics, a case from the Cambridge region - Mr. Martin Davies (former CEO, BioRobotics)
- 18h45: An entrepreneurs perspective: Philips Digital Systems Labs, Leuven - Mr. Jos Raets (General Manager, PDSL Leuven)
- 19h15: Panel discussion, including a point of view on the ELAT region (Eindhoven-Leuven-Aachen Triangle)
- 19h45: Networking drink

Practical information
Location: IMEC Auditorium, Kapeldreef 75, 3001 Leuven
Date: Wednesday March 23, 2005 (16h30-19h45)

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