A representative of an eastern Netherlands university that was instrumental in developing the country’s wired and wireless technology infrastructure attended the Supercomm 2002 high-tech exhibition last week seeking new research opportunities with small- and medium-sized foreign companies.

            Iddo Bante, manager of a business development center at the University of Twente, explained in an interview with GlobalFax that small- and medium-sized foreign high-tech companies can qualify for a one-year incubation program at the university. Participating firms receive free space on campus, research and development support, business consulting and technical support to start their European operations.

“Small- and medium-sized enterprises come here to find a step into the European market,” said Mr. Bante, who was hosted here by the Atlanta office of the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency. “The university is always looking for new research opportunities, and it is good for high-tech companies to be close to a means for picking up R&D to develop new products.”

Companies locate in the business and science park next to the university to form partnerships with the school’s four focal research institutions – biomedical technology, information and communications technology, laser technology and microsystems technology.

More than 2,000 high-tech companies have emerged from the university incubator, Mr. Bante noted. The European Commission is looking into having Twente University help to start similar programs in other European Union countries.

The University of Twente has also played a role in developing the Netherlands’ Internet Exchange, a high-speed network that allows a large number of Internet service providers to interconnect. The Netherlands’ system is the largest of its kind in Europe.

The Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency, which has offices in Austin, Texas; Boston, Chicago, New York and San Mateo, Calif., facilitates U.S. companies’ direct investments in the Netherlands and provides information and practical assistance free of charge.

Contact Allison Turner, the NFIA Atlanta area director, at (770) 933-6275 or visit www.nfia.com