Ruhr Innovation Partners is a project focussing on consulting SMEs and start-ups in innovation and digitalisation processes.
The project Ruhr Innovation Partners aims at strengthening regional innovation structures and to make the services for SMEs more target group-oriented and visible. The focus lies on the activation and optimisation of the regional innovation network with its more than 100 players. This optimisation is to be achieved by enabling a higher quality of advice, the development of technology transfer and innovation competence, successful SME (re)approach and the expansion of regional and interregional networking. Network optimisation is an essential prerequisite for successfully addressing (especially non-innovative) SMEs and for successfully advising and supporting a growing number of companies in innovations and innovative processes.
The network consists of 23 network partners from business development agencies, chambers of industry and commerce and the Chamber of Crafts. Target groups are start-ups, SMEs, research institutions and universities that are interested in technology transfer, R&D-projects and public funding.
Within the field of technology transfer, the partners focus on learning more about high technology trends such as artificial intelligence, cyber security, and smart health. In the context of events and matchmaking, the network gets to know all the big players and important research organisations in the specific technology field and tries to connect the experts with SMEs that are interested in new innovation projects.

Resources needed

Total project subsidy of 324.730,90 € / 1 position of a full-time project manager

Evidence of success

Since its launching in 2018, the project has managed the following:
- Identification of key players in high technology fields such as artificial intelligence and cyber security in the Ruhr Metropolis
- Specialisation on the above-mentioned technology fields in terms of matching of companies, start-ups, and universities
- Organisation and implementation of events that support the technology transfer in the stated technology fields

Potential for learning or transfer

Ruhr Metropolis has a complex set of innovation agents and potentials. Through the project, learning transfers might take place in terms of how the region manages to optimise innovation structures and innovation consulting, for instance by making providers and offers of innovation networks more visible for municipalities and companies. Overall, the project increases the quality of offers as well as the participation in innovation activity. Thus, learnings might take place most generally on how innovation consulting can be improved in different areas such as innovation management, funding consulting, and technology transfer itself.
As part of the project, the exchange of experience between the different economic regions of North Rhine-Westphalia and the support of these regions through a state-led NRW-Bank back office has already been initiated.
Main institution
Business Metropole Ruhr GmbH
Start Date
August 2018
End Date
December 2021


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