During his work In the past two years in the Province of Drenthe, Jan Jacob Hilberdink, the current director of BIC Drenthe, has found that the internationalisation in this province is on a pitifully low level. Although the Province of Drenthe has developed an extensive internationalisation program, the entrepreneurs in Drenthe show much reluctance to become involved in operations abroad.
However, concerning policies on development and growth, the need to give the Province of Drenthe an international boast is well recognised and considered to be urgent! The focus of the new initiatives is mainly aimed at increasing the export with Germany. Studies indicate that entrepreneurs from Drenthe are not familiar with European programmes, incentives and subsidies and if they are aware, they are not inclined to make intensive use of these supportive measures (Innovation Monitor (2016) State University Groningen-SNN).
By the majority of SMEs innovation is still considered something technical, i.e. product innovation. BIC Drenthe expects to realise a real change of mind by making clear that e.g. exploring foreign markets, integrating the supply chain, becoming sustainable, seeking for cross-sectoral connections, are also ways to innovate. The tools and experience of EBN might prove to be very helpful.
With the establishment of Business Innovation Centre Drenthe we have created the indispensable platform, which organisations are longing for so badly.
A foundation where all stakeholders can perform their activities, varying from incubation, acceleration, innovation, research, entrepreneurship promotion and last but not least the participation in European initiatives and projects. The educational institutes herein will play an important role.