Today, four European companies received the NRW.INVEST AWARD from Economics and Digital Affairs Minister Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart and Petra Wassner, CEO of the state-owned NRW.INVEST Economic Development Corporation. The award recognizes outstanding investments by foreign companies in North Rhine-Westphalia. The winners are the Estonian software developer Nortal, the French cosmetics group L'Oréal, the Dutch online supermarket PICNIC and the Austrian company Competence Call Center.
Minister Pinkwart: "North Rhine-Westphalia has attractive location conditions that enable us to compete successfully with other European metropolitan regions: More than 20,000 foreign companies have already settled here. International investors are important employers whose know-how and innovative spirit also drive the progress of our country. With the NRW.INVEST AWARD, we would like to express our thanks for this commitment. The award winners show how digitization can have a positive impact not only on our economy and working environment, but also on public life as a whole."
"This year, our NRW.INVEST AWARD is very much characterized by European investors. Many of them have been involved in North Rhine-Westphalia for years, because it is here that they find the ideal conditions for growth. This is demonstrated in particular by the numerous expansion investments last year – a clear commitment to the location and affirmation for NRW as a guarantor of success and growth," emphasizes Wassner.
The winners in brief:
Nortal: The company is one of Estonia's largest software developers with approximately 1,000 employees in 10 countries worldwide. Nortal designs and implements digital technologies to optimize processes for governments, businesses and the healthcare sector. The company is involved in digital transformation in Estonia and has implemented a large part of the government's e-services. At the end of 2018, Nortal opened its first office in Germany in Düsseldorf. From here, the Estonians want to contribute their knowledge to the digital transformation of the country.
L'Oréal: The French cosmetics giant has been based in Düsseldorf for almost three decades. In March 2018, L'Oréal opened its new German headquarters in the state capital for just under 1,000 employees – a true commitment to the location and also a showcase project in conceptual terms for North Rhine-Westphalia. The development of the building focused on sustainability. In addition, the new L'Oréal headquarters sets standards for a modern working environment: Architecture and working culture complement one another, both being characterized by openness and transparency.
PICNIC: With the online supermarket headquartered in the Netherlands, customers can order food home without delivery charges. Founded in 2015, the Dutch start-up already serves 175,000 households. In North Rhine-Westphalia, PICNIC now operates five locations in Düsseldorf, Krefeld, Mönchengladbach, Neuss and Viersen with around 400 employees. Here, PICNIC already reaches over 35,000 people with its delivery service and is planning additional locations.
Competence Call Center: Since the opening of its first NRW location in Essen in 2013, the Austrian provider of call center services has been on a strong growth course. Over the years, offices in Dortmund and Duisburg have been followed by another location in Essen and a branch in Aachen. In North Rhine-Westphalia, Competence Call Center employs over 2,500 staff and serves international market leaders with its call center services from here.
Last year, the number of new settlements and expansion investments by foreign companies in North Rhine-Westphalia rose to 426, creating more than 10,000 potential jobs for the first time. Most investment projects were carried out in the Düsseldorf region in 2018, followed by the Ruhr Metropolis and the Cologne/Bonn region.