Digital Economy in NRW
  2. Industries in NRW
  3. Digital Economy

The Digital Economy in NRW

Digital applications and technologies are becoming the growth engines of the global economy. In Germany, industry and government are making great strides towards digitization. North Rhine-Westphalia plays a key role as the state offers ideal conditions for the digital transformation of the entire value-added chain. NRW offers great market potential for companies from Germany and abroad with strong industrial structures and a broadly based ICT sector. These prospects also accelerate the development of the ecosystem for startups. Startups find important prerequisites for growth In NRW: In addition to customer proximity at the location, these also include support from the political community, numerous networks and above all a considerable pool of qualified specialists. The classic economy and young digital companies are jointly driving digital change. New business models, services and products are being created. In NRW, promising investments present themselves to foreign VC companies. NRW has put everything in place to become the leading location for the digital economy in Germany and Europe in the future.


of german ICT sales
About one third of all German ICT sales are generated in NRW. The strong ICT industry is an important driver for digital transformation.


More than 93,000 students in the fields of computer science and electrical engineering offer a large pool of skilled workers, and the trend is growing.

640 m €

The state of NRW will invest about 640 million euros in digital future projects by 2020. Six regional centers (Digital Hubs) for the digital economy serve as a hub for cooperation between startups, SMEs and industry.

Interfaces between SMEs, industry and innovative startups

Mapudo is a digital marketplace for the steel industry.

With its high density of industrial and commercial enterprises, the location offers countless customers and cooperation partners for digital technologies along the entire value chain. The startup Mapudo, for example, utilizes this proximity to industry successfully for its online marketplace for materials. It automates the distribution as well as the procurement of metal and plastic products for both large and small companies. The fact that NRW is the most important German steel region was of great benefit to the founders.

bitstars: From Bachelor's thesis to Silicon Valley

Bitstars, a spin-off at RWTH Aachen University, also profits in NRW from the strong industrial landscape as buyers for its products. The success story of Bitstars began with augmented reality applications for mobile devices. Later, 3D developments followed which are used in the construction or operation of industrial plants. With international success – Bitstars now has a branch office in Silicon Valley. Another location advantage in NRW: The company is able to draw on a broad talent pool in the RWTH Aachen University research environment. The founders recruited their team completely from the ranks of their former fellow students.

The ecosystem for startups in NRW

For the startup scene in North Rhine-Westphalia, the internal exchange – and well as vital contacts with investors – takes place at numerous events. One of the highlights is the annual PIRATE Summit. This is where startups from all over Europe and the Middle East meet with investors for first-class networking. Local startups offer international VC companies interesting investment opportunities away from major locations such as New York or London. Till Ohrmann, co-founder and CEO of Germany's most unusual start-up festival, PIRATE Summit, sees NRW as offering the best growth prospects for young startups.

Companies in the digital economy in NRW

The digital location NRW is distinguished by a mixture of established companies and a multitude of innovative startups. Global players based here include:

Harting, Telefonica, Vodafone, Urlaubsguru.

The lively North Rhine-Westphalian startup scene includes:

auxmoney, Holo Builder, Homelike, Secusmart, 9elements, dSpace, eyeo, Giant Swarm, Mapudo, Meister Cody, RedTeam Pentesting, quintly.


How to do business in NRW

Do you have questions about entry regulations, tax issues and relevant laws for your investment project? You can find all the important information on setting up a company and other practical answers in our Business Guide.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions

NRW.Global Business GmbH
Trade & Investment Agency of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW)
Völklinger Str. 4
40219 Düsseldorf


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Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 is revolutionizing the production process – and NRW, as Germany's industrial heartland, plays a key role here. The close cooperation between research and businesses, the outstanding infrastructure and broad-based ICT sector make North Rhine-Westphalia a dynamically fast-growing market.

Information & Communication Technology

In NRW, the ICT sector is both an important pillar and a powerful driver for the economy and especially for digitization. This is where entrepreneurs, researchers and investors find the ICT know-how to help shape the development of Industry 4.0, for example.