The Guiding Principles behind "Entrepreneurial Regions"

The ability to create innovations has a significant influence on a region’s economic and employment situation. As a result of structural weaknesses, East Germany still has considerable deficits here. Against this background, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has in recent years systematically developed a series of programmes for the New German Länder in order to improve the framework conditions for innovative processes.

These programmes are supposed to

  • develop more regions with competitive business and science profiles,
  • drive forward the successful founding of innovative companies,
  • halt the migration of young experts to West Germany or abroad, and
  • create attractive development opportunities for talented young scientists.

The programmes are bundled under one roof in the innovation initiative "Entrepreneurial Regions" (German: Unternehmen Region).

The name of the initiative indicates its purpose: it stands for an entrepreneurial support policy that is focused on regions. The ministry supports regional alliances in developing their own future-proof technological profile and in consistently exploiting and expanding the strengths and potentials of their region. The BMBF wants to promote cooperations from which regional competence clusters can develop. The support funds serve as start-up capital for regions which act with entrepreneurial vision. Their success depends on close, market-oriented cooperation between the regional partners.

The idea is based on one simple realisation: innovations arise where partners from industry and science, education, administration and politics join together in alliances in order to increase value creation and competitive ability of their regions. The partners themselves define the emphasis of their alliance - based on the business and research profile as well as the traditions and the available experts in their region. The heart of every regional initiative is a clear innovation strategy which is geared towards the implementation of their newly developed products, procedures and services in the competitive landscape.

The BMBF innovation initiative "Entrepreneurial Regions" encompasses the following individual programmes:

  • Innovative Regional Growth Cores (German: Innovative regionale Wachstumskerne, since 2001), with Module GC Potential (German: WK Potenzial, since 2007)
  • Centres for Innovation Competence (German: Zentren für Innovationskompetenz, ZIK, since 2002)
  • Innovation Forums (German: Innovationsforen, since 2001)
  • InnoProfile (since 2005)
  • ForMaT (since 2007)
  • Twenty20 – Partnership for Innovation (German: Zwanzig20 - Partnerschaft für Innovation, since 2012)
  • InnoRegio (1999-2006) 




Contact Persons

  • Federal Ministry of Education and Research

    • Referat 114 "Regionale Innovationsinitiativen; Neue Länder"
    • Hannoversche Str. 28-30
    • D-10115 Berlin
    • Telephone: +49 30 18 57 - 5273
    • Fax: +49 30 18 57 - 85273
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