The North Rhine-Westphalian action plan builds on the transfer of know-how and good practice identified in other European regions .

The NRW action plan addresses three key actions, which all seek to stimulate entrepreneurship and to support young start-ups in the field of nanotechnology, advanced materials and production (NMP). All three actions build on an intensive and continuous regional and interregional exchange with key experts and innovation actors.

In particular, Action 2 which aims to “Adapt and implement a regional business accelerator programme with a focus on NMP” is an illustrative example of a fruitful interregional exchange of know-how and good practice between the two regions of Norte/Portugal and North Rhine-Westphalia.

NMP are Key Enabling Technologies (KET) that play an essential role in the economic development of North Rhine-Westphalia as they are innovation drivers in almost all industrial sectors. Despite this high strategic importance of NMP, business accelerator programmes addressing this technological domain are currently missing in the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem. Yet, as interregional exchange within NMP-REG indicated, the Portuguese partner INL (International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory) has successfully introduced an acceleration programme focusing on nanotechnology, advanced materials and health technologies in the Norte region. Inspired by the Portuguese good practice, the concept for the accelerator HIGH-TECH.NRW has been developed. HIGH-TECH.NRW is a state-wide joint initiative of the cluster NMWP.NRW and the six leading NRW universities of Aachen, Bochum, Dortmund, Duisburg-Essen, Cologne, and Münster hosting more than a quarter-million students.

The accelerator will focus on hardware-based high-tech start-ups, offer intensive mentoring & coaching, tailored matchings with industrial partners and capital investors as well as training and expert workshops on demand. The programme will have a duration of 10 weeks and will be piloted from mid-August 2020 until the end of October 2020 at different NRW locations, provided that the Corona pandemic does not upset the entire planning.