Q: How does iMinds work?
Wim De Waele: We help innovation-directed companies by bolstering their ICT and technology projects. Through several projects and initiatives, we aim to provide the highest level of professional support. One example of this is our collaborative research strategy. Apart from helping companies to elaborate their ICT projects – e.g. by introducing them to one of our many partners – we also offer active R&D support by formulating research themes in collaborative projects. In addition, we set up highly skilled research groups aligned to the project’s needs. iMinds draws from an annual grant of EUR 26 million to efficiently provide the necessary assistance to its partners.
Q: What’s in it for foreign investors?
De Waele: iMinds welcomes foreign entrepreneurs as well. For example, an ICT company, active in the healthcare sector, wants to expand its business to Flanders. In that case, iMinds provides valuable support. We help produce a business plan, expressly tailored to the market in Flanders. That way, the company gets insight into the local situation and can begin expanding its network. Newly formed firms looking to set foot in Flanders will find a valuable partner in iMinds as well. The only condition is that the company be active in the technology sector.
Q: Up and till a few months ago, iMinds was called IBBT. Why the name change?
De Waele: The name IBBT – short for Interdisciplinary center for BroadBand Technology – didn’t really cover our area of operation anymore. We didn’t want to give the impression that we just focused on broadband and hardware. In fact, iMinds is a user-driven, multidisciplinary center that mainly works with software products. Also, iMinds is a much better moniker. All of my international contacts tell me so.