Exzellenz Start-up Center.NRW: for more university-based start-ups

Excellent research should also lead to excellent start-ups. To make sure it does, the state has set up the Exzellenz Start-up Centers.NRW, which are based in outstanding research locations in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Logo of the Exzellenz Start-up Center.NRW

A jury of experts appointed by the Minister for the Economy and Digitisation, Prof. Andreas Pinkwart, selected six universities at the beginning of 2019 for a grant to set up these Exzellenz Start-up Centers. Up to 150 million euros will be available until the end of 2024 for the universities and additional projects. These establishments include:

  • RWTH Aachen,
  • Ruhr-Universität Bochum,
  • TU Dortmund,
  • University of Cologne,
  • Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster (University of Munster)
  • and the University of Paderborn.

In addition to these six Exzellenz Start-up Centers.NRW, funding is also provided for projects at the following universities:

  • State-wide initiative for female entrepreneurs: Women Entrepreneurs in Science at the Bergische Universität Wuppertal (University of Wuppertal)
  • HHU Start-up Support at the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf

What is being funded?

Funding focuses on establishing and developing existing university start-up initiatives to become Exzellenz Start-up Centers.

The key activities involved in this include:

  • raising awareness of entrepreneurship within the university,
  • ensuring sufficient qualifications for start-up entrepreneurs,
  • supporting start-up projects, and
  • long-term integration of activities in research, teaching, transparent administration.

A tight network of economic partners, such as business angels, venture capital funds, start-ups, businesses, accelerators, research institutes and technology centres, also play a key role.

Universities and research institutions also play a prominent role around the world in successful start-up ecosystems in their capacity as the source of start-ups. With the ‘Exzellenz Start-up Center’ initiative, North Rhine-Westphalia’s start-up ecosystem is well on its way to becoming an international beacon and a role model for many universities and regions.

All information is available on the Exzellenz Start-up Center.NRW website (in German only).