The digital start-up center in Nuremberg (Germany) was inaugurated on October 26 under the name Zollhof Tech Incubator. In addition, the ground-breaking ceremony for the new accommodation at the Zollhof was performed by VIPs from politics, science, and industry. The relocation from the present temporary accommodation in Kohlenhofstraße is planned in 2019. The aim of the start-up center is to promote the digitalization of industry. This collective expertise under one roof is also financed by companies like Schaeffler from Herzogenaurach.
During various panel discussions, Ministers of State, Ilse Aigner and Dr. Markus Söder, President of the FAU (Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg) Dr. Joachim Hornegger and President of the BDI (The Federation of German Industries) Prof. Kempf all emphasized the need for such an incubator and the opportunities it provides for IT innovations in the digital age. Prof. Dr. Tim Hosenfeldt, Senior Vice President Corporate Innovation at Schaeffler, explained that companies increasingly enter into partnerships in order to face the varied challenges of the current transformation. Particularly in the case of start-ups, it is possible to benefit from their expertise, speed, creativity, and flexibility. “Because in the future, the fastest will be the winners”, he said in the panel discussion.
Schaeffler in research network
Schaeffler is one of the founding partners of the Zollhof Tech Incubator. Both partners do not only benefit from an active and open-minded exchange in different event formats such as corporate pitches, hackathons, or techspace hackdays. While start-ups appreciate the office space, coaching, and access to investors and companies, Schaeffler can benefit from the expertise, facilities, and resources and present itself as an attractive employer.
For Schaeffler, which according to the statistics of the DPMA (German Patent and Trademark Office) is Germany’s second most innovative company with more than 2,300 patent registrations, this cooperation is a further key element in its worldwide network with innovative, external partners. Under the name of SHARE (Schaeffler Hub for Advanced Research), for example, students, professors and Schaeffler employees also work on topics such as innovative electric drives, new types of energy storage, digitalization topics, and concepts for urban mobility. There are currently SHAREs at the FAU in Nuremberg, at KIT (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) in Karlsruhe and at universities in Singapore and China.
It was only at the start of this year that Schaeffler signed a partnership for an innovation hub with the Factory Berlin start-up campus. Schaeffler is also currently involved in around 40 publicly funded projects with different consortium partners in focal areas such as E-Mobility, production processes, Industry 4.0 and renewable energies.
Prof. Dr. Tim Hosenfeldt summarizes Schaeffler’s ambitions: “We want to actively shape mobility for tomorrow and with our sustainable, customized solutions we want to be the preferred technology partner for our customers. Our cooperations with start-up centers, scientific institutions such as the Fraunhofer Institute, and consortium partners are an important key to success. With their fresh, simple and solution-oriented approach, start-ups, in particular, offer appealingly simple solutions. With the support provided by start-ups, we can often cover specialist topic areas, which cannot be catered for in the company. It is a mutual, cooperative give-and-take process.
The Zollhof Tech Incubator
The start-up center is based on an initiative by the state government. The aim is to promote the digitalization of industry in the defined focal areas information and communication, medical technology, new materials, electronics and sensor systems, and automation and manufacturing technology. The Zollhof Tech Incubator is currently helping 24 start-ups to develop their ideas and bring them onto the market. The relocation from the present temporary accommodation at the Kohlenhof to the Zollhof is planned in 2019. The developers will then have an ample 3,000 square meters of space on four levels.
The Schaeffler Group is a global automotive and industrial supplier. Top quality, outstanding technology, and exceptionally innovative spirit form the basis for the continued success of the company. By delivering high-precision components and systems in engine, transmission, and chassis applications, as well as rolling and plain bearing solutions for a large number of industrial applications, the Schaeffler Group is already shaping "Mobility for tomorrow" to a significant degree. The technology company generated sales of approximately EUR 13.3 billion in 2016. With around 87,900 employees, Schaeffler is one of the world’s largest family companies and, with approximately 170 locations in over 50 countries, has a worldwide network of manufacturing locations, research and development facilities, and sales companies.
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