Technology park and business incubators Apr 16, 2020

Digital start-up centres in Bavaria and where to find them

About 40 general or technology-oriented start-up centres offer help with a wide variety of business start-ups in Bavaria. There are also 19 digital start-up centres in Bavaria, whose focus – as the name suggests – is on digitisation and its integration into existing business models. We present these 19 locations in more detail.

How do Bavarian start-up centres support start-ups?

All start-up centres, whether general or specialised, offer opportunities to improve your own entrepreneurial skills. In addition to offers for consulting or coaching, there is usually also the possibility of renting rooms or co-working spaces for a new enterprise at a reasonable price. However, this lease is always limited to 5 years. The company must look for a new location then at the latest. In this way, Bavaria ensures that only young, innovative companies are located in start-up centres and that a long-established company cannot secure a cost-effective location for itself. In conjunction with initiatives such as Gründerland Bayern , the intention is to create a support and communication network that will ensure the regular establishment and success of new companies in Bavaria.  

What distinguishes the start-up centres in Bavaria?

Most centres specialise in certain branches of technology in order to be able to provide targeted and intensive support for start-ups. A precise overview of which centres specialize in what can be found here on BayStartUP. In general, BayStartUP acts as a kind of door opener, bringing founders, companies and start-up centres together in Bavaria to generate the strongest possible synergies. 
The start-up centres are also all very well connected, for example to universities or the Chambers of Industry and Commerce (IHK). Local companies are also always involved in the start-up centres’ activities, which provides mutual development opportunities: the companies can immediately benefit from new technologies and the start-up founders can use the big players’ contacts and capital to grow. 

How are start-up centres funded?

The Bavarian State Ministry of Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy is funding the concept of digital start-ups with 120 million euros; this will help Bavaria maintain its position as the leading federal state in terms of start-ups and innovation. For start-ups from abroad who want to gain a foothold in Bavaria, Invest in Bavaria offers the Ois Easy Start-up Package, in close cooperation with BayStartUP and the Bavarian start-up centres. 

Overview of Bavaria’s digital start-up centres

We introduce you to the 19 start-up centres with a digital focus in Bavaria. We group them according to Bavaria’s 7 administrative districts.

The digital start-up centres in Lower Franconia

1.    Alte Schlosserei in Aschaffenburg 
Together with the partner location in Lohr, it is primarily digital business ideas and disruptive business models that are supported here. The focus is on personal development and the promotion of ambitious (young) entrepreneurs, who are mainly supported by advice and training. 

2.    Starthouse in Spessart
The Starthouse in the centre of Lohr am Main offers young founders the best opportunities to take their first steps in starting up their business thanks to modern furnishings and a conference room including a lounge area.  
3.    Zentrum für digitale Innovationen (ZDI) Mainfranken
The ZDI Mainfranken also has several locations, namely in Würzburg, Schweinfurt and Bad Kissingen. The three cooperate so closely with each other that they can be regarded as one large, supra-regional centre. The focus here is on the stage just prior to the start-up. Students are supported by awareness-raising measures and often free opportunities to generate ideas (idea lab), prototype production (start-up workshop) and a broad range of support services. 

The digital start-up centre in Middle Franconia:

4.    ZOLLHOF – digital start-up centre in Middle Franconia in Nuremberg
Different specialist areas come together at ZOLLHOF. The tech incubator supports digital founders in their growth with premises and services, while the tech space enables practical implementation such as the production of first prototypes. Thanks to numerous cross-industry programmes, ZOLLHOF also promotes innovation in established companies. The Digital Health Hub in Nuremberg/Erlangen powered by Medical Valley & ZOLLHOF is an example of a cross-industry innovation programme that kicks in particularly early: the networking of digital and medical-focused start-ups is intended to identify and exploit synergy effects at the earliest possible stage in the company's development. 

The digital start-up centres in Upper Franconia

5.    Lagarde1 – centre for digitisation and start-ups in Bamberg 
Lagarde1 cooperates with the Zukunft.Coburg.Digital initiative to implement digital transformation topics such as digital sales and business processes, organisational and human resources development, 3D printing and process optimisation in regional companies. 
6.    Zukunft.Coburg.Digital initiative in Coburg 
In addition to its cooperation with Bamberg, this start-up centre also works independently in similar areas. 
7.    Einstein1 – digital start-up centre in Upper Franconia 
The Einstein1 digital start-up centre is located on the Hof University of Applied Sciences campus. The focus here is on big data and its possible applications for industry as well as the energy and healthcare sectors.

The digital start-up centres in Upper Palatinate:

8.    Digitale Gründerinitiative Oberpfalz (DGO) in Regensburg
A start-up culture is to be established throughout the region through the DGO. The range of services offered by this digital start-up centre is structured accordingly: lectures, coaching, workshops and close networking with research and industry are intended to encourage and support new entrepreneurs. Other DGO locations besides Regensburg are in  
9.     Amberg,
10.   Weiden.

11.    Digital start-up centres in Cham district (IGZ)
There is a whole series of innovation and start-up centres (IGZ) in Bavaria. IGZs support start-ups primarily through seminars, conferences and specialist forums for digital founders, companies, employees and even students. In addition to the application centres and innovation laboratories, close local partnerships are also an advantage for founders. Besides Cham itself there are other IGZs in the district, namely in
12.    Roding,
13.    Furth im Wald.

The digital start-up centres in Upper Bavaria:

14.    brigk – digital start-up centre for the Ingolstadt region
At brigk there are fewer coaching sessions and training courses but the perfect start-up conditions once your own business model is in place: offices, co-working spaces, laboratories and events support ambitious entrepreneurs. The brigkAIR project is especially worth mentioning: The start-up centre cooperates with partners such as Audi and Lufthansa to promote innovative entrepreneurs in the field of three-dimensional mobility (autonomous mobility, including air transport by drones, air taxis, etc.). 
15.    Stellwerk 18 in Rosenheim
Stellwerk 18 is actually more of a campus than a simple centre. Opportunities are created here for digital start-up projects to find synergies and communicate with each other. In addition to the geographical proximity of various companies, this is mainly achieved through numerous network meetings. 
16.    WERK1 – digital start-up centre in Munich 
WERK1 is considered to be a blueprint for many Bavarian start-up centres. What has proved successful here is often also implemented in other centres. In addition to the usual office space, coaching sessions and the like, the Games/Bavaria industry organisation is also located here. The InsurTech hub is also at home here, which focuses on start-ups with disruptive potential in the financial and insurance sectors. 


The digital start-up centre in Lower Bavaria:

17.    Gründerzentrum Digitalisierung Niederbayern (GZDN)
The Gründerzentrum Digitalisierung Niederbayern (GZDN) is a joint concept and project by the Passau, Landshut and Deggendorf university locations. So although it has three sites, it is just one digital start-up centre. The focus here is primarily on the respective universities’ potential. 

The digital start-up centres in Swabia:

18.    Digitales Zentrum Schwaben (DZ.S) 
The DZ.S has become the central network platform for founders, established companies and science in the field of digital economy in Swabia. Increased emphasis is being placed here on integrating digital tools into existing companies. In addition to Augsburg, there is another location in
19.    Kempten.

Augsburg start-up cioplenu on course for growth:

The start-up centres are making an impact

To ensure that all the digital start-up centres in Bavaria do not just work on their own but benefit from the expertise of all the others together, their activities are coordinated and organised by BayStartUP. BayStartUP has its head office in Nuremberg and an office in Munich and is the central contact for start-ups in Bavaria. We have discussed why there are so many of them in our Starting up in Bavaria article for example. 

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