Despite COVID-19 and the digital kick-off, the HIGH-TECH.NRW accelerator programme successfully started its first round on 1 September 2020. The programme is the first accelerator in North Rhine-Westphalia for high-tech start-ups with a hardware-oriented business focus. It has been developed within the framework of NMP-REG and represents a joint initiative of the state cluster NMWP.NRW with the six leading NRW-based universities of Bochum, Dortmund, Duisburg- Essen, Munster, Cologne and Aachen. HIGH-TECH.NRW is piloted as part of NMP-REG, will have a duration of ten weeks and end up with a final digital Demo Day.

The programme will offer individual mentoring and coaching, targeted networking with industrial partners and capital investors as well as virtual training and expert workshops on demand. Twelve highly qualified start-ups from a variety of different high-tech areas, such as photonics, additive manufacturing, space technology, sustainable energy generation and electromobility, were invited to participate in the programme.

More than 80 participants attended the digital kick-off event. In a first pitch session, the start-ups presented their innovative business cases in front of a top-class audience of experienced mentors, potential investors and strategic industrial partners. In the inverted pitch session that followed, the mentors and company representatives introduced themselves and gave an impressive insight into the broadband and highly specialized expert network of HIGH-TECH.NRW. Afterwards, the participants were able to exchange ideas in parallel-group rooms and to initiate first cooperations aiming at supporting the start-ups in the further business development and growth process. 

The kick-off event was preceded by a complex application and selection process in which representatives of the universities and the state cluster selected the final programme participants from a large number of applicants. Due to the high-quality level of the applications received, the initiators decided to include more teams than originally planned (12 instead of 10) in the programme. The participating teams are: airCode, AutoProNano, FreeD Printing, gapcharge, House of Plasma, LIDROTEC, Midel Photonics, Neutron Star Systems, Pixel Photonics, qubeto, smartGEP, and ViCut.  

Find out more information about the start-up teams and HIGH-TECH.NRW on the accelerator website

Below a picture taken during the online event.