Digital Hub Cologne

The Digital Hub Cologne (DHC) is the central location and first point of contact for established companies and for the start-up ecosystem in the Cologne area on the subject of digitisation and innovation. It is our mission to show established companies the way in questions of digitisation, to accompany them in their first steps and measures, and to provide suitable contacts from the digitisation industry and the start-up ecosystem for the further way. The team connects Cologne startups with providers and regional companies as potential customers and builds up a cross-industry expert network. On the subject of virtual reality, the Digital Hub Cologne operates its own Mixed Reality Laboratory, in which application-oriented workshops for companies are held.

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Startup Ecosystem Cologne

As the strongest business, start-up and university location in North Rhine-Westphalia, the Cologne economic region offers the best breeding ground for digitisation and innovation. As the fourth largest city in Germany, Cologne is centrally located and easily accessible in the centre of an enormous sales market: Around 17 million people live within a radius of only 100 kilometres – and thus more potential customers than in any other metropolis in continental Europe.

With over 140,000 companies, the Cologne economic region is one of the most important business locations in Europe, and with over 100,000 students it is a central university region in Europe. World corporations and many German hidden champions have their headquarters here. The focus is on services, gaming, IT and telecommunications, media, insurance, chemicals, nutrition, automotive and mechanical engineering.

Startups contribute to growth and employment. Cologne in particular offers good conditions for B2B business models. The young companies and founders benefit from the optimal location conditions such as business angels, state subsidies, venture capital, networking opportunities and co-working spaces. If in need of financing, private investors in Cologne such as Capnamic Ventures, Coparion, DvH Ventures and HTGF can help raise capital. Many regional support programmes such as the NRW Start-up Scholarship, the NRW Film and Media Foundation and the NUK Neues Unternehmertum Rheinland Business Plan Competition are designed to support start-up projects both on an industry-specific and cross-sector basis.

As the venue for dmexco, Gamescom and the European Pirate Summit, Cologne is an important hot spot for the German start-up scene. Especially smaller regular formats serve as an ideal basis for exchange and networking: Digital Innovation Stammtisch, Coffee Club Cologne, Female Founders Circle, Startup Breakfast and Startup Grind as well as Gründertag Köln, Startup Safari Cologne and Cologne Startup Summer Night.