Guest column

Monique Princen

Chairman of MKB-Limburg and of Ondernemend Limburg

“I was at the Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo recently, after having not been there for quite a while. I was amazed at the dynamic and activities that have developed there in the meantime. It’s nice to see that companies based both on and off the campus look for connections and how they can benefit from one another’s strengths. Great things happen as a result."

  Connect the front runners with the rest of the team!

This connection with the four Brightlands campuses is a bit easier for the very large international companies than for SMEs. There are however also opportunities for these small- to medium-sized enterprises. A couple of years ago, Brightlands seemed like an intangible concept, one that was not directly of interest to many entrepreneurs. There were still so many questions. ‘What kind of things go on there?’ ‘Can my company benefit from it?’ These days, the campus is gaining momentum, and where possible, we make the connection as MKB-Limburg.

A good example is the new Cyber Resilience Expertise Center. Many entrepreneurs indicated they were having difficulty arming themselves against cybercrime. Large companies employ specialists for this purpose, but for smaller businesses, this is a different story. It takes an awful lot of time to find your way around the world of digital security. It is a very important issue however; half of all entrepreneurs will have to deal with cybercrime in one form or another.

We were quickly put in contact with the specialists at the Brightlands Smart Services Campus in Heerlen via Ondernemend Limburg’s Platform Veilig Ondernemen or PVO (Secure Business Platform). Together with these specialists and policemen actively working on innovation, we dove in to find out how we can really support companies in their efforts to do business securely. We are proud that our Secure Business Platform and the campus in Heerlen officially opened the Cyber Resilience Expertise Center at the beginning of this month. It’s one of the great results of our partnership!  When Arcus-Leeuwenborgh students start helping entrepreneurs with a security scan in the near future, intermediate vocational education will also play a role in that project. 

Our role in representing the interests of small- to medium-sized businesses lies in supporting entrepreneurs. We launched the initiative ‘De Groeischakelaar (‘growth switch’)’ for this purpose as Ondernemend Limburg. Within the context of De Groeischakelaar, two innovation brokers will help our supporters with questions on growth and innovation. There are always a few entrepreneurs who, as front runners, seize the opportunities for new developments, which is great. However, there is also a large group of entrepreneurs who need all the available time and energy to tackle the latest fad. What we are interested in is bringing that large team closer to the front runners. To achieve this, our innovation brokers aren’t going to develop any new initiatives. Instead, they will be pointing our members in the right direction. This might be the Chamber of Commerce for one member, or the bank for another. And when it comes to innovation, Brightlands will undoubtedly also be involved.

Nederlandse versie van deze column

About Monique


  • Monique Princen (1962) runs the bodyshop Carrosseriebedrijf Tal Techniek in Weert together with her husband.

  • She is also part of the social committee of Focwa/

  • Monique has occupied a role at MKB-Limburg since 2013. During the first few years, she was the chairman for the Central Limburg region, and since 2015, has been the chairman of MKB-Limburg.

  • She has also held the position of chairman at Ondernemend Limburg (partnership between MKB-Limburg, LWV and LLTB) since 2016. 

Private life

  • Born in 1962
  • Married
  • Monique has a son and a daughter.

For Monique, it’s important for young people to get excited about technology at an early age, and gives guest-lecture classes at elementary schools to place attention on technology for school-age children