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Corda Connect: ‘Being based in the same village creates an immediate bond’

27 November 2020


If there is one place on earth where digital transformation is clearly evident, Corda Campus immediately springs to mind. And for those who are not on board with it yet, there are people at Corda who are happy to help. Just take Umital, a young company set up by Eline Grouwels and Elke Struys, which tries to expand horizons by providing advice and training.


Umital. It sounds more like a steelworks in an Eastern Bloc country…

“No, the times and zeitgeist are completely different,” Eline Grouwels laughs. “What we are doing is helping companies improve their employees’ productivity and commitment. And then you can’t escape the digital processes, which have an enormous impact on them, but are not yet fully ingrained everywhere. Our experience-based advice and training provides an insight into exactly what digital transformation entails. For example, we’ve developed a business game that can be played both digitally and physically. Hybrid is the future. Helping managers to get their employees on board is a good example of what we do.”


Where exactly is your company’s bubble?
“We’re based in the incubator. On your way to our office, you’ll also come across Raw Stadia, a company that measures the impact of the turf on athletes’ performance. You really should pop in if you want some inspiration about innovative entrepreneurship!”

Apart from the fact that you can drive to work at Corda with your husband (Jonas Coenen of Maecenas Group), are there any other reasons why you chose to be based here?

“Mainly because there are a lot of technology companies here, from start-ups to scale-ups such as Ugentec, and large companies such as Cegeka. In fact, we ended up here because we were selected by the Startit@KBC start-up programme.”

Is there a close-knit ‘community’? Who do you do business with here?

“Absolutely. For example, we have close contacts with Deltablue, Cegeka, UXPRO, Selligent, Dillen Business Innovations, Gevers, Print Simple, PXL… Now I think about it, that’s quite enough to be going on with! A lot depends on your own attitude. I’m usually very open and that immediately creates a bond when you’re all based in the same village, as we are at Corda…”

Are there still some companies on your wish list that you’d like to meet?

“Yes, I’d like to have a drink with the management of Eurofins J. That’s because their company is already putting a lot of effort into employee development. I think it would be interesting to find out about their vision of digital transformation and co-operation in the future.”

Do you walk around the campus a lot yourself? Which facilities do you use?

“Yes, you can often find us in the incubator’s meeting rooms and in the smaller meeting rooms. During the renovations we suggested to Marc Beenders that we create a space where we could easily record videos. A huge amount of marketing is done digitally. The recording studio was actually set up, and many start-ups are now using it. As far as activities are concerned, I find the Corda Keynotes and the reception afterwards to be a great opportunity to meet other companies. There’s often something to learn from the invited keynote speakers, and afterwards you can chat about the talks with other attendees. Initiatives like this foster interaction. I hope this will resume quickly once the coronavirus situation is over!”

What are your favourite places between the leaning towers?

“The expansion is certainly positive, although the parking lot is now quite full under normal conditions… What has become clear during the pandemic is that if you take away the catering industry, interaction also diminishes. The Cordaat, for example, is a real asset to the campus. You can always go there for a business lunch and be sure to get good food in stylish surroundings. At the end of the week, the CordaBar is the place to go with your team. There’s a DJ and a happy hour, and it’s somewhere you can meet other companies. I highly recommend it!

What do you think is still missing? Any good tips?

“I would offer as many complementary products and services as possible on the campus itself, preferably from start-ups. A shop with office equipment or a small supermarket, for instance.  That might sound silly, but that would be very useful for stamps and that kind of stuff. I think encouraging alternative means of transport by specialist rental companies – Blue Bike, for example – would also be a bonus for the campus. And if money were no object: since remote working isn’t going away for a long time, offices should be the perfect meeting place. In other words, not traditional offices any more, but larger spaces where there is also room to relax. And all equipped with the right infrastructure, so that colleagues who work remotely can also dial in.  And without the rent going up ;-)”