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 Innovation Alliance for Hamburg, which is jointly run by Hamburg politicians, industry and science. The aim of this initiative is to improve the framework conditions for innovation and to develop Hamburg and its metropolitan region into one of the leading innovation regions in Europe by 2020. Hamburg's Regional Innovation Strategy 2020 will be jointly developed, aligned and implemented, in alliance with the innovation players.

The focal points include the development of Hamburg as a location for innovation, starting in the five strategic areas: marketing & innovation climate, education, networking & transfer, infrastructure and innovation funding system.

The strategy is based on the Hamburg clusters in the fields of life sciences, logistics, aviation, media & IT, renewable energy, healthcare, creative industries and maritime economy. Within the Innovation Alliance, these clusters function as the strategic areas of specialisation for a Smart Specialisation Strategy.

One of Hamburg's particular achievements is its successful bid for a European Commission invitation to tender regarding the selection of six model regions for modern cluster policy. Hamburg's goal is to systematically develop cluster bridges (cross-clustering). The aim is that the potential for innovation and value-creation in the overlapping fields between the clusters can be more successfully tapped in the future.

In order to create and promote technology centres, an initiative has been set up under the umbrella of the InnovationsAllianz Hamburg to successively establish a network of research and innovation parks (R&I parks) in Hamburg on selected topics. R&D parks are facilities and industrial sites for the transfer of technology and knowledge, in which industry and science conduct application-oriented research and development. Current examples include the Technologiezentrum EnergieCampus in Bergedorf, the Innovationszentrum (Inkubator) in Bahrenfeld and the InnovationsCampus for Green Technologies in Harburg.

The aim is to create a start-up platform for the promotion of start-ups, in order to introduce fresh momentum for knowledge-based start-ups from university ecosystems, or spin-off start-ups. To this end, a support concept has been developed on the basis of existing structures. It addresses various topics relevant to start-ups, such as entrepreneurial motivation, scouting for technology and ideas, networking and financing options.

The following additional measures to promote innovation have been launched:

  • On 1 August 2013, the Hamburgische Investitions- und Förderbank (IFB Hamburg) was founded to serve as Hamburg’s central funding institution. IFB Hamburg's aims include further strengthening of Hamburg's business-friendly environment, persuading established and new companies of the credentials of the Hanseatic City as a central location for innovation and business, and supporting these companies.
  • The IFB's ‘PROFI’ innovation programme funds industrial research and experimental development projects by providing up to 500,000 euros per project. The funding is intended to enable companies to develop more economically viable product and process innovations more quickly and to strengthen the R&D networks between companies, as well as between companies and research institutions.
  • The Innovationsstarter Fonds Hamburg is an investment fund that enables young, innovative and capital-intensive companies to receive up to one million euros of funding (per investment) in the early stage of a start-up. The aim of the fund is to provide promising, innovative companies with the equity they urgently need in the early stages.
  • The InnoRampUp funding programme was launched in 2013 as a supplement to the investment fund. Innovative start-ups and young companies in the pre-seed and seed phase receive up to 150,000 euros of funding per project.
  • The InnoFounder funding programme is particularly aimed at start-ups in the media and content sector (even if they are even less mature). Funding is provided for innovative products/services that stand out significantly from the competition and for which the novelty poses particular risks in terms of further concept development and market launch. The funding takes the form of a grant for the further development of a business idea/prototype into a market-ready, functioning business model, and its market launch.
  • The Innovations Kontakt Stelle (IKS) in Hamburg is the first project to be implemented on the basis of the Innovation Alliance's guidelines. This institution ensures that Hamburg companies have access to universities and science. To this end, the IKS cooperates closely with the Hamburg’s other transfer institutions.
  • The "Co-Learning Space for Hamburg Clusters” project, launched in November 2016, creates space for Hamburg clusters to strengthen inter-cluster cooperation and to tap new potential in the areas of learning, development and synergy.

    (last update: June 2019)

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