Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg

Innovation Policy Focusing on Technology-, Start-Up-, and Cluster Support in Hamburg

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The Senate’s innovation policy is based on the InnovationsAllianz (Innovation Alliance), an initiative jointly operated by Hamburg political institutions, businesses, and research centres. The goal of the initiative is to improve parameters for innovation and to evolve the metropolitan region Hamburg into a leading region of innovation in Europe till 2020. Hamburg’s Regional Innovation Strategy 2020 is developed, adjusted, and implemented in an alliance composed of all participating innovation actors.

Development of the innovation-location Hamburg emphasises five strategic areas: marketing – innovation climate, education, networking – transfer, infrastructure, and innovation promotion systems.

The strategy’s groundwork is formed by the Hamburg clusters in the areas of life sciences, logistics, aerospace, media & IT, renewable energy, health management, creative industries, maritime economy, and finance. Within the InnovationsAllianz, they function as strategic fields of specialisation in terms of a Smart Specialisation Strategy.

A distinct accomplishment of Hamburg’s cluster policy has been its successful application for a call for proposals choosing six model regions of modern cluster policy. Hamburg aims at systematic development of cluster bridges. Such practices of cross-clustering are meant to fully exploit the potential of innovation and creation of value in the intersecting areas of different clusters.

To develop and support technology centres, the InnovationsAllianz was founded as an umbrella initiative that will successively establish a network of research and innovation parks (FuI-Parks) along the lines of different focal points. These FuI-Parks are facilities and commercial areas for technology and knowledge transfer in which business and science can conduct application-oriented research and development. Current examples are the Technologiezentrum EnergieCampus Bergedorf, the Innovationszentrum (Inkubator) Bahrenfeld and the InnovationCampus for Green Technologies Harburg.

To support business-formation, a start-up-platform will be created that aims at giving new impulses to knowledge-based start-up companies in proximity of universities or spin-off business-formations. To achieve this, a support concept based on existing structures is to be created that addresses relevant issues such as entrepreneurial motivation, technology- and idea scouting, networking, and finance opportunities.

The following additional measures for innovation promotion were set:

  • On August 1, 2013 the Hamburgische Investitions- und Förderbank (IFB Hamburg – an investment and funding bank) was founded as central funding institute for the FHH. It aims at strengthening Hamburg’s business-friendly vicinity as well as at convincing and supporting long-standing and new enterprises of long-term commitment to the Hanseatic city as a central innovation and business location.

  • The Programm für Innovation (PROFI) run by the IFB is funding plans for industrial research and experimental development with up to 500,000 Euro per project. The funding serves as a means for businesses to faster develop more economic product and process innovations and fosters FuI-networks between different businesses as well as between businesses and research institutions.
  • The Innovationsstarter Fonds Hamburg is an investment fund that enables young, innovative, and capital-intensive businesses to receive funding of up to one million Euros per share for their foundation phase. The fund wants to make available the urgently needed equity for early stages of promising innovative companies.

  • In addition to the Innovationsstarter Fonds, the incentive programme InnoRampUp was established in 2013. Innovative start-ups and young businesses in “pre-seed and seed-phases” are funded with up to 150,000 Euro per proposition.

  • The Innovations Kontakt Stelle (IKS) Hamburg (Innovation Contact) is the first plan that has been implemented on the basis of guidelines set up by the InnovationsAllianz. The institution makes sure that Hamburg businesses are guaranteed direct access to universities and research facilities. To achieve this, IKS cooperates closely with additional transfer institutions in Hamburg.

(last update: September 2016)

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