New Business Factory is Coming to Aachen

digitalHUB Aachen e.V. Copyright: © digitalHUB Aachen e.V.

The German Federal Ministry of Economics commissioned an Aachen-based consortium with digitalHUB Aachen e.V. as consortium leader together with RWTH Aachen University and FH Aachen University of Applied Sciences to set up the "New Business Factory" for the Rhenish mining area. The New Business Factory is intended to strengthen education, start-ups and growth for sustainable digital transformation in the Rhineland region. The New Business Factory project partners officially launched the pioneering project at the kick-off meeting on December 4, 2023.


Digital Factory for the Rhenish Mining Area

The New Business Factory (NBF) is based on three central pillars: the education and training of skilled workers, support for start-ups in the foundation and start-up phase and support for established companies in the systematic development of new digital business models. The special feature of the project is the constant exchange between the pillars of education, start-ups and growth, through which a "digital factory for the Rhenish mining area" is to be created. The project has a budget of more than 5 million euros and it will run until 2025.

Dr. Oliver Grün, CEO of digitalHUB Aachen e.V., emphasizes the importance of this project: "By closely interlinking the three areas of education, start-ups and established companies, we are creating an innovative ecosystem that will have a lasting impact on the region and that will offer companies the opportunity to systematically develop and introduce digital business models."

The objectives of those involved in the project are clearly defined: Within three to six years, the New Business Factory aims to create a vibrant ecosystem that will have a positive impact on the entire Rhenish mining area. Particular attention is being paid to education and training, as job profiles are changing and evolving as a result of digitalization.

Pillars of the NBF: Education, Start-up Promotion and Business Support

As the first pillar, digitalUNIVERSITY will enable the education and training of urgently needed specialists for the business location of tomorrow more quickly and more in line with demand than ever before. Prof. Thomas Ritz, Vice-Rector of FH Aachen University of Applied Sciences, explains: "Theory and practice must be more closely interlinked in order to accelerate innovation. Training future specialists is one thing, but working people must also be able to continue their education flexibly, in small groups and at different times."

With the digitalACCELERATOR, its second pillar, the NBF effectively supports start-ups even after they have been founded. In addition to a promising business idea, start-ups need solid financing and entrepreneurial expertise in order to establish their ideas on the market in the long term. The digitalACCELERATOR supports start-ups after they have been successfully founded and matches them with companies, mentors and investors.

The third pillar of the project is dedicated to supporting established companies. The strong focus on day-to-day business prevents many companies from strategically addressing the business models of the future. This is where digitalCOMPANYBUILDER comes in and develops a systematic approach for companies to identify and introduce new business models.

Prof. Dr. Frank Piller explains: "With the digitalCOMPANYBUILDER, we are not only focusing on the development of digital business models in individual companies, but also creating a network in the entire Rhenish mining area in which companies can realize innovative value creation potential together with other players."

The close interlinking of these three pillars is creating an innovative ecosystem that will have a lasting impact on the region and that can also be transferred to other regions as a model.