History, mission, strategy
The first ideas of what later became VIGC go back to 1996. The Apple Mac had shaken the whole prepress, the first digital presses came to the market, and the Internet just started to conquer the world and positioned itself as an alternative medium to printing.
The region of Turnhout (Belgium) was recognised by the European Union as an ‘EFRD’ zone (European Fund for Regional Development), which meant that there was funding available for projects that would support the industry. Under impulse of the mayor of Turnhout the idea grew to construct some kind of institute to support the printing industry. The printing industry at that time was the largest employer in Turnhout. And all printing companies had the same feeling: technology is evolving faster and faster and we can’t keep up with it.
After many discussions and looking at the different options, the legal organisation VIGC was founded in 1997. The founding fathers are: Belcoat, Barco (later Barco Graphics and now Esko), Brepols, Carta Mundi, Group Joos, Drukkerij Proost, Van Genechten-Biermans, ACV, Febelgra, Fetra, City of Turnhout and VDAB. The project got financial support from both the European and the Flemish Government.
October 1998 VIGC started with its activities. The next important step was the move to the Campus Blairon, a former military site with distinct architecture, in the magical year 2000. Top of the bill at the official opening was industry guru Frank Romano, professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology. At the occasion he shared the public his vision of the future of the industry.
The mission of VIGC is to strengthen the competitiveness of companies by supporting innovation. Even a decade after the first talks this is still a hot item. The printing industry is under pressure: the ever growing number of media choices, the growing power of print buyers, the competition from Southern Europe, Eastern Europe and of course the Far East.
To accomplish its mission, VIGC uses a two track strategy: collective services and individual services. Doing this, we don’t only ‘warm up’ the industry for innovation; we also assist them when companies want to make the step to innovation. Our collective services consist of a member magazine, called Eye Opener, seminars, presentations and of course our sister site GraphicBrain.com. We look both at new technologies entering the market, but also new market approaches, important changes in the market and the world of different media.
VIGC is a member organisation. Members pay a small fee per year to get access to the collective services.