Flemish spearhead clusters bring Innovations in the spotlights during InnovFest

InnovFest 2022

During the first edition of InnovFest Flanders 2022, the seven Flemish spearhead clusters Blauwe Cluster, Catalisti, Flux50, Flanders’ Food, Medvia, SIM and VIL presented a number of industrial innovations that resulted from Spearheadcluster projects. 300 participants were immersed in a world of change, facilitated by the spearhead clusters and realised by the Flemish business world.

Clusters showcase their importance for business

On 24 October, the halls of Technopolis were the setting for everything to do with innovation within the Flemish tech landscape. The 7 Flemish spearhead clusters were the essential link in this and ensured that their combined ecosystem was represented: logistics, food, healthtech, energy, materials, chemistry and the marine economy were put in the spotlights and underlined the successful cluster policy in Flanders.

Collaboration the central theme

The plenary session was opened by Mark Andries, administrator-general of VLAIO. He made clear  that “The importance of this joint event, where the spearhead clusters revealed their importance for business, cannot be underestimated.” Second keynote speaker, CEO of WeWatt and ex-minister Patricia Ceyssens, complemented the words of Mark and brought an inspirational insight in the life and mindset of an entrepreneur.   

The plenary part was then accompanied by VRT news anchor Wim De Vilder, who guided the interactive debate with the 7 cluster managers. With questions posed by industrial partners from each spearhead cluster. A debate which made clear that collaboration and complementarity are central themes and all managers highlighted once again the added value of the clusters in the Flemish eco-system. Guido Verhoeven, general manager of SIM also emphasised the importance of the interaction between big international companies and small SME’s and startups: “they bring together the stability of large companies offering a longer term strategy with the eagerness and flexibility of the small and more vulnerable startups and SME’s.”  

Minister Jo Brouns, Flemish Minister for Economy, Innovation, Work, Social Economy and Agriculture, spoke the final words in a video message in which he underlined that Flanders is a true knowledge-driven economy and society. “Innovation is not only a powerful tool to overcome the crisis, but also to tackle societal challenges – in particular in the field of environment, energy and climate”, Minister Brouns stated. “Our Flemish spearhead clusters represent the sectors that are strategically important for our region and support, guide and strengthen companies in the sustainable and digital transformation of their business. We will now prepare the future of the Flemish cluster policy.”

Demos in the spotlights at the innovation hall

During InnovFest, Technopolis was transformed into a hall packed with showcases, including an inventory drone, a space bakery, a plasma reactor, a floating solar panel, an enclosed bioreactor, a 3D-printed logo and many more. The various showcases were clustered around the themes of health & safety, sustainability, circularity , automation and digitalisation.

SIM related companies brought demo’s from composite pressure vessels, geopolymers, self-healing polymers, 3D printed metals, thermoplastic composite plates to a biking safety helmet and a composite bike frame. We thank all companies that brought their showcases: Plastic Omnium, Siemens SISW, Agesia, ResourceFull, Rein4ced, Lazer and VUB-spinoff Brubotics.

Initiators: Blauwe Cluster, Catalisti, Flux50, Flanders’ Food, Medvia, SIM and VIL

This event was co-supported by VLAIO.