Last week, Eindhoven Airport welcomed its first arrivals for TechTrek, a completely new concept in economic development and talent attraction.
Well, the reviews are in … TeckTrek got both glowing comments and more quantifiable insights via pre- and post-visit surveys. In those surveys, Eindhoven exceeded expectations in almost every category, especially when we asked trekkers to rate the ease of using Eindhoven Airport and to rate the depth of the tech scene here. (See the graph below.)
TechTrek is a new concept in tech and innovation familiarization trips, or “fam trips.” We’re calling it business tourism.
Our first TechTrek brought nine innovators and entrepreneurs from Lisbon and Rome to town. We took them on a tour of the hotspots and set up a networking lunch and dinner so they could meet some of the local rock stars.
(Okay … we admit it. We cooked up this post at least in part to show off the new video.)
TechTrek was entirely funded by the Eindhoven Airport, and it’s the first airport-led economic development initiative.
Okay, we thought it was great. But what kind of feedback did we get?
Out of the nine who visited:
• two are considering opening a location or business in Eindhoven
• two are considering holding a meet up and conference in Eindhoven;
• and at least one would consider making a move here. To quote Hugo from Lisbon: “I surrender to Eindhoven!”
In collaboration with Dispatches Europe, Eindhoven Airport’s inaugural TechTrek selected nine entrepreneurs, influencers and innovators to fly to Eindhoven last week to check out the local ecosystem – a 5-person group from Lisbon and the 4-person Digital Yuppies and Talent Garden team from Rome.
TechTrek is Eindhoven Airport officials’ economic-development initiative connecting this region to the major tech and innovation capitals of Europe where the airport flies. The idea is to fly in entrepreneurs, tech talent and innovators with the goal of raising Eindhoven’s profile as an attractive place to live, work and start or expand businesses.
We were incredibly fortunate to curate groups of not just talented people, but engaged, receptive and intellectually curious people who got Eindhoven.
Here’s a sampling of their comments:
André Marquet in Lisbon
In the name of the Portuguese committee to TechTrek, I want to thank you and say we really appreciated the experience of visiting the Eindhoven startup and innovation ecosystem.
The city, the people and the group and the event as a whole went above our highest expectations – Brainport goes along with Heartport.
Following our experience, we want to explore the possibility of organizing a Productized Conference in Eindhoven, in 2019.
Ottavia Tracagni from Rome:
On the flight home this morning, and walking last night (in Eindhoven) we were just talking about how amazing the last two days have been. I truly believe that things don’t happen for no reason. I can see that something relevant just happened and it is a good start for something bigger.
I see a super pop up Digital Yuppies event for a new vibrant community in Eindhoven. I see a lot of interesting things we might do together. I can’t wait to see you in Rome, and when we come back to Eindhoven for business purposes. Let’s make things happen!
Thank you again one hundred times for including us in this experience. Eindhoven, people and all the things we have the luck to see have been a huge surprise.
Again, we’re looking for empirical data, and we expected a range of reactions. After all, Eindhoven is an industrial city with no canals … a great place to live and work, but it’s not Amsterdam.
We didn’t expect glowing reviews. And we didn’t expect the extremely high scores.
As we always say, the greatest expat compliment for a city is, “I could live here.” And our groups say they would consider moving here and would definitely recommend Eindhoven to others interested in relocating.
Here are the bios for the two groups
• Tommaso Politano, community manager Digital Yuppies Rome, said his group has done 25 tech meetup events in three years in Rome, Leipzig, Milan and Amsterdam. “I’m passionate about marketing and design, and I believe in the power of community.”
• Giorgio Gioacchini, founder of Digital Yuppies, a network of professionals and entrepreneurs in the digital/creative industry. “At Digital Yuppies, we really believe in networking, not just in your country, but internationally.”
• Sara Meleleo is campus manager for Talent Garden Rome. “I am in charge of managing the brand new Campus in Rome. I effectively maintain ongoing campus operations and ensure its functionality, a smooth work-life and keep customer satisfaction at the highest level.”
• Ottavia Tracagni: Art Director, Digital Yuppies, Studioplace. “The role of a good designer is to fight against ugliness through simplification in a meaningful and effective way. I mean in all aspects of profession and life. Create visual trends and graphic artworks that stimulate dialogue and imagination.”
• Vanessa Caldas is from Brazil, but lives in Portugal. Her company, E-Commerce Experience, helps e-commerce startups to scale up. “I believe in connections … we need to connect all the time and get to know each other.”
• Hugo Garcia is innovation director/foresight consultant, Productized Conference. Hugo said he signed up for TechTrek because he wanted to both see Eindhoven’s airport and transportation infrastructure and expand his professional network. “What I do is forward thinking and strategy in transport and consumer behavior. I want to learn about the airport industry here and establish a professional relationship. I want to see why the Netherlands is so advanced in agrotech, and on a personal level, I want to learn about Dutch working culture.”
• André Marquet is co-founder, executive director Beta-i in Lisbon, one of Portugal’s top incubators, and CEO of Productized, a conference for product managers and designers. André said he couldn’t help from noticing how different Eindhoven Airport is from Lisbon Airport in Portugal, where a 100-percent increase in tourism during the past decade leaves travelers there with literally no place to stand.
• Michael Memeteau is from France, but lives in Lisbon. He’s the founder of Nesto.io, an IoT company. “I’m passionate about technology. Gifted at finding the right tool for the job and managing the team to get things up and running. My motto: “The devil is in the details!”
• João Gomes is a masters program student in Lisbon. He describes himself as a self-disciplined, team worker, focused and self-motivated. He is working toward a career focused on optimizing processes, business model creation and contributing creative solutions related to organizational challenges.