9 - Increasing consideration of the environment and social aspects in start-ups

North Rhine-Westphalia needs to be the most appealing location for socially and environmentally oriented start-up teams.

Where we are now

More and more start-ups consider it to be important that their innovative products and services contribute towards protecting the environment and climate, and conserving resources. According to surveys by the German Start-up Monitor, one in three start-ups is focused on the green economy. 38 per cent describe themselves as a social organisation whose primary objective is not to maximise profit with its business idea, but to resolve a social problem. The European Commission also assumes that one in four business start-ups in Europe sees itself as a social enterprise. Here in North Rhine-Westphalia, we give all sustainable start-ups support to pursue social and environmentally specific objectives, as well as economic ones.

Where we want to be

North Rhine-Westphalia needs to be the most appealing location for socially and environmentally oriented start-up teams.

What we are doing

  • The start of 2020 saw the launch of the new National Centre for the Economy and Digital Responsibility. Its key responsibilities include advising and raising awareness of SMEs and social start-up entrepreneurs on matters relating to corporate social responsibility and corporate digital responsibility (CSR/CDR). The aim of the centre is to improve quality of life with the help of digital solutions.

  • The CSR 4.0 project, which is specifically for East Westphalia-Lippe, has been developed as a broader regional advice service on digital issues relating to CSR for start-up entrepreneurs.

  • We shall train start-up advisers in the Startercenter NRW to become certified coaches for social and environmental enterprise. This should be a means of enabling social and environmental start-up entrepreneurs to obtain appropriate advice in future.

  • The NRW.BANK is currently reviewing the additional support to social enterprises at various levels. It is conceivable to cooperate with networks of social enterprise (e.g. Social Impact Hub Bonn, CSR Hub Ruhr), extend individual advice for social enterprises and modify promotional products.

  • The Gründungswettbewerb KUER NRW is a competition for start-ups sponsored by the North Rhine-Westphalian Ministry for the Environment, Agriculture, Nature and Consumer Protection for the sectors of climate protection, environment, energy efficiency and resource conservation and supports start-up entrepreneurs on their journey to becoming an independent environmental business.