Startup Center at RWTH Shows “Excellent Performance”


The Ministry of Economics of North Rhine-Westphalia plans to provide continued funding for Excellence Startup Centers at least until the end of 2024.


The largest fully integrated technology incubator in Europe is to be established in Aachen. This is the stated aim of the project proposal titled “Your Venture, Your Way – Leading the Way in Orchestrating Entrepreneurship”, which was successful in the competitive “Excellence Start-up Center.NRW” (ESC) program of the Ministry of Economics of North Rhine-Westphalia. RWTH is one of six universities to receive funding from the program.

A jury of experts appointed by the NRW Minister of Economics and Digital Affairs, Professor Andreas Pinkwart, has now confirmed the outstanding performance of the six participating start-up centers and recommended to provide continued funding until the end of 2024. If the centers succeed in implementing their plan to provide follow-up funding from their own resources, support from the program will even be extended until 2025. Initially, funding in the amount of 150 million euros in total was granted until mid-2024.

With its recommendation for continued funding, the jury recognized the work of the universities. According to a report by the Donors' Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Humanities in Germany, from 2019 to 2021, the total number of startups originating from the six NRW Excellence Startup Centers increased from 129 to 191 per year, a growth of almost 50 percent. By 2024, the six universities aim to reach a total of 238 startups per year. At RWTH, there were 101 spin-offs in 2021 alone, 70 of which were actively supported by programs and funding from the ESC.

RWTH Aachen University relies on an integrated, university-wide approach, focusing on six fields of action. RWTH Innovation, a transfer unit set up for this purpose, supports researchers who seek to translate their work into real benefits in setting up a new spinout. With the Collective Incubator, a central contact point for students and young founders and their initiatives is being created on almost 4,000 square meters, offering coworking spaces and prototype workshops. In addition to coaching programs, startups will have access to research experts and relevant infrastructures in so-called Expert Hubs. The entire University is involved in the project, deploying scouts and startup advisors and offering new event and teaching and learning formats.