Kick-off Startup Week 2023
Aachen start-up scene celebrates kick-off of STARTUP WEEK in the digitalCHURCH
- Bundled power: 30 start-up events in six days
- Initiators want to strengthen visibility of Aachen's start-up scene
- Participants of the kick-off event create a vision for the future of the Aachen start-up ecosystem
Aachen, 23 May 2023: Aachen's Mayor Sibylle Keupen inaugurated the second edition of the STARTUP WEEK AACHEN during yesterday's kick-off event at digitalCHURCH. From 22 to 26 May, approximately 30 events focusing on entrepreneuship and innovation will take place in Aachen. Founders and entrepreneurs, as well as anybody interested in entrepreneurship will have the opportunity to gather information and network, gain inspiration, and share experiences at these numerous events. Initiators of the STARTUP WEEK, which enters its second round this year, are the digitalHUB Aachen, RWTH Innovation, the start-up center of FH Aachen, TechVision Fonds, AGIT, IHK and the Stadt Aachen.
Mayor Sibylle Keupen highlights the vibrancy of Aachen's start-up scene in her welcome address. "Aachen is an excellent ecosystem for start-ups." This is due, on the one hand, to the excellent university landscape, but there are also other Aachen-specific factors, such as its location at the tri-border region in the heart of Europe, the right size ("we have a huge university, but we are not so big that we lose sight of each other"), and the heart and commitment of the people of Aachen. She wishes the participants of the STARTUP WEEK "good encounters, many sparkling eyes, and a hands-on approach when it comes to your ventures and start-ups."
"The goal of STARTUP WEEK AACHEN is to make the Aachen start-up scene more visible both regionally and nationally, to showcase the enormous potential of the Aachen start-up location, and to capture the needs of founders," explains Iris Wilhelmi, Managing Director of digitalHUB Aachen e.V..
A vision for the future of Start-up City Aachen
The highlight of the day was the presentation of the results from the barcamp (an interactive workshop format) titled "Cultivating the Start-up Ecosystem of Tomorrow" to Aachen's Mayor Sibylle Keupen. Together with the stakeholders of the Aachen start-up ecosystem, she aims to further improve the conditions for founders. Despite the booming start-up scene in Aachen and its regular top rankings in start-up hotspot rankings (such as Deutscher Startup Monitor), successful digital or deep tech start-ups often migrate to larger cities like Cologne, Berlin, or Munich. What can we do to retain start-ups in Aachen in the long term and enhance the attractiveness of the Aachen start-up ecosystem? These questions were discussed, and solutions were developed during the barcamp. Key points included promoting cultural and gastronomic offerings, fostering diversity and inclusivity, strengthening the investor ecosystem, increasing visibility for innovation and entrepreneurship beyond the start-up bubble, and providing more (office) spaces for start-ups.
In the panel discussion featuring Mayor Sibylle Keupen, Iris Wilhelmi, Managing Director of digitalHUB Aachen e.V., Benjamin Menzel, Vice President Innovation at Babor Beauty Group, and Peter Frerichs, CEO of Inform GmbH, these points were addressed. They highlighted existing initiatives and discussed ideas on how to further improve the start-up ecosystem in Aachen.
"An important approach to further advance and strengthen our ecosystem is to foster even stronger collaboration with founders and stakeholders of the start-up scene in Belgium and the Netherlands, who complement us perfectly in terms of creative industries," says Iris Wilhelmi, Managing Director of digitalHUB Aachen e.V.
The vision for the Aachen start-up ecosystem could be to create a hotspot for start-ups with European-wide influence within the euregional alliance at the tri-border region.
Numerous events from cultural scene to finance
As part of STARTUP WEEK AACHEN, numerous other events will take place in the Aachen start-up ecosystem until Saturday, 26 May. The centerpiece of STARTUP WEEK AACHEN is the ATEC (Aachen Technology and Entrepreneurship Congress) on 24 May at Liebig with over 1000 participants, making it the largest conference for innovation and entrepreneurship in the region. Other highlights include the event "Fuck up Stories," where start-ups share their stories of failure and resilience, as well as the NRW-Pitchbattle Meet, Greet & Beet. In addition, there are many other event formats and workshops of various sizes, ranging from the creative scene (workshop "From Old Roots to New Strength" with Tim Berresheim) to the finance and deep-tech sectors (Deep Tech Momentum).
The majority of events during STARTUP WEEK AACHEN are free of charge. Registration and further information can be found at startupweek.ac.
Press statements by the initiators of STARTUP WEEK AACHEN
"The aim of STARTUP WEEK is to inspire and support as many young entrepreneurs and those interested in entrepreneurship as possible. My personal highlights are not only the collaboration among stakeholders in our start-up ecosystem (digitalHUB Aachen, RWTH Innovation Entrepreneurship Center, Collective Incubator, and many more) but also the incredible potential that comes together during this week in the form of talented and motivated individuals, as well as expertise and venture capital. I am also excited about the deep-tech focus that we have incorporated into STARTUP WEEK through Deep Tech Momentum." Prof. Dr. Malte Brettel, Vice-Rector of RWTH Aachen University and Board Member of digitalHUB Aachen e.V.
"We are thrilled that the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of the region is once again showcased through the diverse offerings of STARTUP WEEK, and we are delighted to be involved as the Entrepreneurship Center of FH Aachen. We look forward to engaging in meaningful discussions and welcoming aspiring entrepreneurs to our premises for events and workshops." Dr.-Ing. Johannes König, Managing Director of Gründungszentrum FH Aachen.
"STARTUP WEEK is the event where the entire work of the Aachen start-up ecosystem becomes visible once a year. As a start-up investor in this ecosystem, we definitely want to be part of it and collaborate with all the other partners involved in making it happen." Dr. Ansgar Schleicher, Board Member of S-UBG and Managing Director of TechVision Fonds.
"Since 1983, we have been living our motto: Founding, Settling, and Supporting! Over the course of 40 years, we have had the privilege of coaching and supporting 1,280 technology-oriented companies in the region during their inception. As an initiator and with full commitment, we are particularly engaged in the anniversary year of AGIT for STARTUP WEEK Aachen!" Sven Pennings, Managing Director of AGIT mbH.
"In our region, the land of tomorrow is emerging: We are making Aachen the number one launchpad for founders who, with their innovations and the professional network of the GründerRegion, are already shaping the future. In this sense, STARTUP WEEK Aachen boosts the start-up scene of the country." Michael F. Bayer, CEO of IHK Aachen.
About the digitalHUB Aachen e.V.
The digitalHUB Aachen association (www.aachen.digital) is committed to promoting the digitalization of the economy and the public sector in the Aachen region. Its members include small and medium-sized enterprises, industries, start-ups, and institutions that support the goals of the association. The digitalization center of digitalHUB Aachen brings together start-ups and IT SMEs (digital "enablers") with traditional SMEs and industries as users (digital "users") in the digitalCHURCH to jointly develop and realize new digital business models. This is supported by the region and academia (supporters). Thus, an "Aachen Area" is being created euregionally as a digital land of innovation. The digitalization center of digitalHUB Aachen is part of the initiative "Digitale Wirtschaft NRW (DWNRW)" and is one of five funded centers for the digital economy in NRW.
Editorial & contact: digitalHUB.