About us: Neue Gründerzeit Nordrhein-Westfalen

For a competitive and vibrant start-up in North Rhine-Westphalia.

The state of North Rhine-Westphalia wants to provide entrepreneurs with the best possible conditions to pave their way towards self-employment.

For this reason, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitisation and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia has set up ‘Neue Gründerzeit Nordrhein-Westfalen’ – a state initiative that heralds an era of new business start-ups.

In an age when markets are expanding with ever-increasing speed and increasingly specific niches are emerging, business founders need support and a wealth of advice.

To ensure that businesses receive the best possible information, advice and support, and an environment in which they can make continuous progress, the ‘Neue Gründerzeit Nordrhein-Westfalen’ initiative is based on ten pillars:

Ten pillars of the ‘Neue Gründerzeit’ initiative

  • A mind map labelled Start Up

    1 - Simplifying start-ups

    Starting up a business in North Rhine-Westphalia needs to be as easy as possible. We want the state to have as few bureaucratic hurdles for business start-ups as possible.

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  • Fists bumping over a desk

    2 - Inspiring start-ups

    Within the next five years, we want to climb the ranks to become one of the top three states in Germany with the highest number of start-ups, and we want to generate the most start-ups across the country on an annual basis.

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  • A woman typing on a laptop

    3 - Power to female enterprise

    We want to encourage more women to take the plunge in setting up their own business. We want North Rhine-Westphalia to be Germany’s leader for female enterprise. By 2025, we also want to increase the proportion of women starting their own business to 33 per cent.

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  • A tree in the hand of a person

    4 - Establishing a financial foundation

    Every promising start-up in North Rhine-Westphalia should be able to find the necessary initial capital.

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  • A shining light bulb

    5 - Strengthening the start-up ecosystem in North Rhine-Westphalia

    North Rhine-Westphalia should be one of the leading hotspots for start-ups in Germany and Europe.

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  • A surface of red LEDs

    6 - Specific funding for start-ups in future-oriented industries

    In future, North Rhine-Westphalia should be one of the leading B2B locations for start-ups throughout Germany. We are investing specifically in infrastructure to support this growth potential in recognised industries and technologies. Start-ups should benefit as much as possible from the strengths of North Rhine-Westphalia.

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  • A bookshelf in a library

    7 - Developing our higher education institutions to become the leading academies for start-ups in Germany

    We want to significantly increase the start-up activities in our universities and colleges. At least three higher education institutions need to be in the national top ten. Our intention is for the number of spin-offs to increase by at least 50 per cent by 2024. The federal EXIST-Gründerstipendium grant scheme for start-ups should ensure that North Rhine-Westphalia climbs to rank among the top three federal states within the next five years.

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  • Euro coins

    8 - Transforming North Rhine-Westphalia into a hotspot for venture capital

    North Rhine-Westphalia needs to attract more venture capital. The investment of venture capital in start-ups should increase to half a billion euros by 2022 and thus increase five-fold compared with 2017.

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  • People watching a sunset

    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.

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  • Keys and a wallet on a table

    10 - Ensuring business succession

    All successful owner-managed businesses in North Rhine-Westphalia need to find suitable successors for exiting business managers.

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The state government has created the Neue Gründerzeit Nordrhein-Westfalen’ concept (in German only) with the objective of strategically positioning the region for business start-ups. The aim is to further improve the climate for start-ups and to generate the most start-ups in Germany in the next five years. The Minister for the Economy and Digitisation, Prof. Andreas Pinkwart, together with partners within the state, has presented a joint statement. In this statement, the group sets out the areas of focus for the collaboration and agrees on the key measures for implementing a ‘Neue Gründerzeit Nordrhein-Westfalen’ initiative.

The joint declaration on the ‘Neue Gründerzeit Nordrhein-Westfalen (in German only) has been ratified within the Ministry of Economics by the NRW Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the NRW Tradesmen’s Guild, NRW business owners, NRWalley – Federal Association of German Start-ups, those promoting the NRW local economy and development agencies in North Rhine-Westphalia.

The concept of “Neue Gründerzeit” in North Rhine-Westphalia was published together with the Joint Declaration on the Neue Gründerzeit in North Rhine-Westphalia on 18 July 2019.