New investment fund to support technology-oriented start-ups from universities

Company founders in the Central Ruhr Region are now getting a big boost from the universities in the region: this regional investment fund is the first of its kind in North Rhine-Westphalia providing up to 50,000 Euros start-up capital for innovative business ideas. In the critical start-up phase the founders can also benefit from advice provided by former entrepreneurs and top managers who are now passing on their valuable experience as “IHK Senior Experts”.

The fund has an initial volume of 700,000 Euros financed by the State of NRW and the EU, the IHK Senior Experts, the Transfergesellschaft at the Ruhr University Bochum, rubitec GmbH, the Sparkasse Bochum and the Förderverein für Technologietransfer, and is also supported by the IHK Central Ruhr Region chamber of industry and commerce.

“This fund is a new approach for us. On the one hand we are closing a gap in the promotion of innovative start-ups. Until now, there has not been a fund like this providing venture capital of up to 50,000 Euros. On the other hand this combination of venture capital accompanied by coaching from senior experts is unique”, explains Harry K. Voigstberger, Minister of Economics in the State of NRW. “This involvement by senior experts gives innovative start-ups a unique chance to benefit from the experience and knowledge of former managers. I am very grateful for this support and believe that it will be a significant success factor here”, the minister continues.

One of the important requirements for receiving support from the Ministry of Economics NRW is also the professional founder support provided by the STARTERCENTER NRW which has been set up by the IHK (Chamber of Industry and Commerce) and the Bochum Office of Economic Development over the last four years. Together with rubitec GmbH and the IHK Senior Experts, this guarantees that young companies with highly developed technological know-how can also get off to a good start on the business side.

“The involvement of this regional investment company is intended to prevent entrepreneurial talents who have been educated here from turning their backs on the region. We really want to promote young dynamic companies”, IHK Managing Director Helmut Diegel and Tillmann Neinhaus, Member of the Executive Management at the Chamber of Commerce explain the objectives. The fund supports technology-oriented companies in the start-up phase by providing long term venture capital to ensure the financing of the company right from the beginning. The IHK Senior Experts are also on hand with their comprehensive management know-how so founders can initially concentrate fully on developing and marketing their products and services. Neinhaus: “During the course of this project the plan is to support around 15 companies which should create over 300 qualified jobs.”

The Central Ruhr Region with its seven universities, over 40,000 students and around 3,500 scientists provides excellent conditions for technology-oriented start-ups. “As one of the strongest research universities in Germany, the Ruhr University also strengthens the scientists’ entrepreneurial initiative”, Prof. Dr. Ulf Eysel, Dean for Research at the Ruhr University Bochum, and Dr. Karl Grosse, Managing Director of rubitec GmbH, explain the Ruhr University’s financial involvement and commitment.

Numerous innovative companies have already settled in the technology centres in Bochum, Herne, Witten and Hattingen as well as in the Bochum Technology Quarter near the university campus. “If we can succeed in smoothing the path towards sustainable technology start-ups for young researchers then our efforts towards creating high quality jobs in the aftermath of Nokia’s departure will have been well worth it”, Bochum’s Lord Mayor Dr.Ottilie Scholz tells us.

More information about the regional investment fund from:
Dr. Karl Grosse, rubitec GmbH,
Tel.: +49 (0)234 32 – 1 19 35

Raphael Jonas, IHK Mittleres Ruhrgebiet,
Tel.: +49 (0)234 91 13 – 148

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