Jeroen Soeterbroek

Connect Holland, partner of Brightlands HIVE



Brightlands Smart Services Campus in Heerlen launches the new start-up programme Brightlands HIVE. This stands for Hi-Tech Innovation & Venture Engine. Brightlands HIVE is the new start-up programme that is being developed in collaboration with a number of strategic partners, including the Province of Limburg, Municipality of Heerlen, Mercurius Investments, Rabobank Parkstad, Connect Holland, BW Ventures and LIOF. We are currently in discussions with more possible future partners.

Brightlands HIVE was developed for start-ups active in the digital world. These start-ups need an additional, specific approach when it comes to capacity for application design and development, for example. The dynamism and the speed of developments in the digital world are also associated with other funding requirements.

In the past two years, the Brightlands Innovation Factory has laid the foundation for the start-up development within the four campuses of Brightlands. The new Brightlands HIVE programme is in fact a further development, specifically geared to digital start-ups.



HIVE means the Brightlands campus in Heerlen will receive a ‘design & development machine’, composed of a mix of young talent and experienced hands. Start-ups will gain access to this development capacity. For start-ups in this sector, that is far more valuable than a financial contribution alone. At the same time, the campus will be meeting the objective of attracting and retaining talent to the region.


Joost van den Akker, Deputy for Economy and Knowledge Infrastructure of the Province of Limburg:

“High-tech innovation, and certainly data processing, is one of the economic pillars of the future. It is a positive thing that the Brightlands Smart Services Campus Heerlen, together with his partners, is developing this programme and conducting the first pilots. A programme for providing effective assistance to promising start-ups. Not just financial assistance but help from young talent and experienced people. In this way, it is possible to provide maximum support start-ups in terms of their development capacity. It should be clear to everyone that we at the Province applaud this programme.”


Peter Verkoulen, CEO of the Brightlands Smart Services Campus:

“We can confirm that so far there has been broad interest for the HIVE philosophy. A pilot with a number of start-ups is currently under way, with financial and specialist help from a number of strategic partners. We are also involved in intensive discussions with a number of possible strategic partners on implementing the various phases of the HIVE programme and with the investors and networks of the partners behind them. We intend to have this programme fully developed in early 2019, resulting in a successful concept that will lay the foundation in the years ahead for start-up development and further development.


Martin de Beer, Alderman for Economics and Labour Market of the Municipality of Heerlen:

“The Municipality of Heerlen is investing strategically in the relationship between campus, city and region. Start-ups are an essential part of this. This is particularly interesting for Heerlen as this initiative will lead to new blood and entrepreneurship for the city. An initiative that requires long-term commitment from all parties involved.”


Jeroen Kraak of Connect Holland:

"Within two years Heerlen will be the European capital of artificial intelligence and Blockchain, with the campus as its epic centre. Over the next few years, this next step at the Brightlands Smart Services Campus will result in many start-ups, which will in turn launch new companies in the region. We will see how talents attracts fresh talent and that companies – small and large alike – will want to set up shop here. After all, this is where all knowledge, skills and output-driven energy will converge and reinforce one another. In the past few months I have spoken with many digital talents who, given these developments, have no desire to leave the region or who wish to relocate here simply because we are doing such awesomely innovative things here.


Bart Vanwersch of Rabobank Parkstad:

“We see it as our role to boost the sustainability of Parkstad, its residents and entrepreneurs. We therefore consider it important to make a sustainable contribution to entrepreneurship in this region. We see supporting start-ups through their participation in the HIVE programme as part of this. The assistance we offer doesn’t only involve financial resources, but also our knowledge, services and network. We also support entrepreneurs with innovation issues they may have with the Business Innovation Team Limburg.”



Standing, left to right

Christopher Sparks (BSSC), Joost van den Akker (gedeputeerde, Provincie Limburg), Martin de Beer (wethouder, gemeente Heerlen), Jeroen Soeterbroek en Jeroen Kraak (beiden Connect Holland).

Sitting, left to right
Henk Reker (Rabobank Parkstad), Peter Verkoulen (BSSC), Maarten van Kronenburg (BW Ventures).