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Top location for startups in Europe


A large market, numerous networks and outstanding talent – NRW offers ideal conditions for startups and future-oriented projects

North Rhine-Westphalia is one of the top locations for startups in the whole of Europe. The state offers excellent conditions for innovative business ideas:

  • A huge market,
  • many networking opportunities,
  • an excellent talent pool and
  • cutting-edge research in many fields.

 And this pays off: NRW has a connected and close-knit startup ecosystem that is characterized by its diversity and dynamism. 

Germany's most populous and economically strongest state offers startups a large sales market and, with its high density of industrial and commercial companies, many potential customers and partners. Thus, in addition to 19 of the 50 German companies with the highest sales, many well-known SMEs and family-owned companies are also located in the state. Furthermore, a strong information and communications technology (ICT) sector is clearly driving digital transformation in the state. Many startups benefit from networking and entrepreneurial concentration as they develop their business models. Today, around 65 percent of all startups in NRW already generate more than 50 percent of their sales in the B2B sector.

Another important location factor is the large number of universities and research institutions, which provide a large talent pool of well-trained specialists. For example, more than 90,000 young people in NRW are studying electrical engineering/information technology and computer science – and their numbers are rising. In addition, many startups are spin-offs from successful research projects at universities and non-university research centers.

Startups will find numerous local creative scenes here."Urbanana," for example, is the banana-shaped urban jungle that stretches from the Ruhr metropolis to Düsseldorf and Cologne. Not everything is smooth and perfect here, but people who love and help to shape their urban space live here, open to new inspirations.

Startups can revolutionize industries – North Rhine-Westphalia has excellent prerequisites to become a technology pioneer in Europe.


Mona Neubaur

Minister for Economic Affairs, Industry, Climate Action and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia

Innovation and job driver

Innovative business models are of enormous importance for the future viability of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia: On the one hand, this applies with regard to the challenges posed by the transformation of the economy. Startups can, for example, provide innovative solutions in the energy transition and in the transformation to a climate-neutral industry. On the other hand, startups are increasingly developing into a relevant economic factor and job engine.


Around 20

of all German startups are located in NRW, according to the German Startup Monitor.


of the startups* generate more than 50 percent of their sales in the B2B sector.


are founded per day in NRW.


digital hubs
in Aachen, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Essen and Münster support startups with market access.

Get connected

International networking plays a crucial role in this context. To this end, the state of NRW developed the digital network platform NRW.Global.Connect with the aim of connecting NRW's economy with innovation hotspots worldwide. The first partner country of the portal is the startup hotspot Israel, with further international cooperations planned. NRW.Global.Connect supports established NRW companies and institutions in innovation and technology scouting and offers opportunities for direct contact and initiation of partnerships with international startups. The startups, in turn, receive suggestions for possible business contacts in NRW for their products or product ideas via the platform in a matchmaking process. NRW.Global.Connect gives research institutions from Germany and abroad the opportunity to find project and application partners for research ideas, patents and other transfer offerings. 

NRW - attractive for startups from all over the world

These international startups have already chosen NRW as home for expanding their business.

Picnic, Düsseldorf

Enapter, Saerbeck

Orcam Technologies, Cologne

CoreTigo, Essen

The strengths of the startup ecosystem in NRW

Excellent universities and research, strong networks, extensive funding opportunities, DigiHubs, accelerators and incubators – this is how startups get support.

From research project to market-ready product

Network assistants for startups

Growth accelerators and incubators

Benefiting from state funding

Connected to the world in NRW

Financing in every development phase

From startup to key player

These startups from NRW are now shaping their industry.

Trivago, Dusseldorf

Auxmoney, Dusseldorf

DeepL, Cologne

Escrypt, Bochum

Next Kraftwerke, Cologne

Changing the market with new ideas

These startups from NRW are causing a stir in their industry with new approaches. 

Schüttflix, Gummersbach

Dabbel, Dusseldorf

Accure, Aachen

Cureosity, Dusseldorf

photo credits

@ gettyimages
© MWIKE NRW/Nils Leon Brauer
© Rafe Swan, gettyimages
© Schüttflix
© Peter Winandy, RWTH Aachen
© Startplatz
© DeepL
© Engineer studio, shutterstock.com
© Cureosity GmbH
© Next Kraftwerke
© auxmoney GmbH
© trivago
© engel.ac, shutterstock.com
© Enapter S.r.l.
© digitalHUB Aachen e.V.
© ruhrHUB
© GettyImages/ boggy22
© AdobeStock/sdecoret
© AdobeStock/cybrain