18. January 2019

Promotion of start-up excellence at universities through the “Excellence Start-up Center.NRW” programme of the NRW state government

The RWTH is pleased about a positive decision within the framework of the funding program “Excellence Start-up Center.NRW” of the Ministry of Economic Affairs NRW. This will enable RWTH Aachen University to implement its project “Your Venture, Your Way – Leading the Way in Orchestrating Entrepreneurship”. Until 2024, the ministry will fund six universities with a total of 150 million euros. 

Economics and Digital Affairs Minister Professor Andreas Pinkwart announced the decision in Düsseldorf on Thursday, 17 January 2019. The largest fully integrated so-called technology incubator in Europe is now to be established in Aachen. It builds on the heart of the technology, the “Collective Incubator”. It brings together the unique opportunities of RWTH Aachen University, the companies of the RWTH Aachen Campus, the six specialist incubators as well as the technology expertise and entrepreneurial potential of students and researchers. Funding will begin in May 2019. 

“Within the framework of the current Excellence Initiative, Entrepreneurial Transfer was anchored as a RWTH strategy. The associated way of thinking, to act entrepreneurially in all situations, combined with the groundbreaking research results of the RWTH, forms the basis for an immense start-up potential”, explains the Rector of  RWTH Aachen, Professor Ulrich Rüdiger. “At the same time, we see the wealth of ideas and commitment of our students. We want to promote this with the ‘Collective Incubator’ in a form never seen before”. The Tech Incubator is intended to initiate up to 90 company start-ups a year and create tens of thousands of jobs in NRW and the region in the long term.

Space for collaborative work and exchange between students, scientists and companies

On approximately 3,200 square meters, the “Collective Incubator” will offer space for collaborative work and exchange between students, scientists and companies. In addition, a 1,000-square-meter workshop hall with a focus on metal, electronics, additive manufacturing, wood and textiles is planned, enabling the development of new prototypes and products in the shortest possible time.

The incubator is embedded in the outstanding environment of research clusters and companies on RWTH Aachen Campus. Thus, the incubator can also benefit from the top research of the Excellence University, the available technologies and close cooperation with industry – currently 375 companies are enrolled on the campus. This cooperation has already produced renowned companies such as StreetScooter and e.GO. 

In the coming years, the transfer company RWTH Innovation will be in charge in order to harness the resources of the university and its entire environment with regard to technology, expertise, infrastructure, human capital, cooperation partners and capital for founding teams from RWTH and from all over Germany.

“The concept aims to make entrepreneurial thinking and action a central component of RWTH’s culture. No idea, no research result for transfer into business and society should be lost. Every start-up receives the targeted support it needs for a successful start-up,” says Professor Malte Brettel, Vice Rector for Business and Industry. The RWTH is already regarded as one of the best German start-up universities in the Start-up Monitor. This status is now to be further extended with the new project.

Caption picture above: In Düsseldorf, NRW Minister Andreas Pinkwart presents the RWTH delegation with the notice of approval for admission to the “Excellence Start-up Center.NRW” programme.


Professor Malte Brettel
Prorector for Economics and Industry
Phone: +49 241 8096 148
E-Mail: brettel@time.rwth-aachen.de