RheinMain Startup Factory: Rhine-Main Universities’ project successfully enters next round in national flagship competition

RheinMain Startup Factory: Innovation made in Europe

Award ceremony. Left to right: Anna Christmann, BMWK startup commissioner, Harald Holzer from HIGHEST, Melissa Ott and Charlie Müller from Futury and Robert Habeck, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (photo: Claudia Becker, HIGHEST)

The RheinMain Startup Factory project successfully passed the first selection process in the “Startup Factories” flagship competition of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action and will receive project funding for the concept phase from 1 July 2024 onwards. The RheinMain Startup Factory is founded by a network of strong partners: the Rhine-Main Universities (RMU) – the strategic alliance of Goethe University Frankfurt, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and Technical University of Darmstadt – as well as Frankfurt School of Finance & Management (FSFM), Polytechnic Foundation of Frankfurt am Main (PTG) and Futury.

The RheinMain Startup Factory initiates, promotes and supports technology- and science-based startups, spinoffs and innovation projects in the Rhine-Main Metropolitan Region and across two federal states. The project aims to develop the Rhine-Main region into a sustainable, unique startup and innovation hotspot in the heart of Europe for technology- and knowledge-based entrepreneurship in the areas of greentech, deep tech, biotech and fintech. To this end, the RheinMain Startup Factory combines the universities’ potential stemming from diverse excellent research and highly qualified talent with the economic strength of their powerful business partners and successful family businesses.

Prof. Dr. Michael Huth, Vice President for Quality Management, Infrastructure and Technology Transfer at Goethe University Frankfurt, emphasizes: “We as the Rhine-Main Universities are very proud that, jointly with Frankfurt School of Finance & Management and Polytechnic Foundation of Frankfurt am Main, we drafted a concept for the RheinMain Startup Factory that was able to prevail among strong competitors and to convince the members of the jury. Innovation and startups are indispensable key elements to successfully enable the necessary socio-ecological transformation towards a sustainable economy and society. We are convinced that the RheinMain Startup Factory can make a very valuable contribution to significantly increase innovations and startups with an impact in the Rhine-Main Metropolitan Region.”

“I would like to congratulate the team of the RheinMain Startup Factory and wish them every success for the upcoming concept phase and the drafting of the project proposal”, says Timon Gremmels, the Hessian Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and the Arts. “In view of the enormous challenges we are facing as a society, it becomes increasingly important to swiftly put scientific findings into practice so that they can contribute to solving pressing social, ecological or economic questions. There is huge potential for that at our universities in Hesse and in particular at the Rhine-Main Universities – and the successful performance in the competition is strong proof of that.”

“The funding for the RheinMain Startup Factory is a brilliant success for the alliance of the Rhine-Main Universities and illustrates their innovative potential! Successful innovations are the result of the work of outstanding scientists and staying power, also in promoting excellent basic research. Once again, this is proof that the RMU is an alliance that is strong in research, innovative and attractive. The RheinMain Startup Factory strengthens Rhineland-Palatinate as a biotechnology and life science location, offers and consolidates access to a pool of talent, innovations and capital in the entire Rhine-Main region. The location as a whole will profit from the international reach of the alliance”, says Clemens Hoch, Minister of Science of Rhineland-Palatinate.

The RheinMain Startup Factory pools its key tasks in three clusters that are considered business areas. From a structural perspective, the clusters focus on universities and research institutions (the “Innovate” cluster), support structures for startups such as accelerators (the “Create” cluster) and investors such as venture capitals, corporates and public sponsors (the “Scale” cluster).

As part of the startup strategy of the German Federal Government, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action initiated the “Startup Factories” flagship competition to significantly increase the number and quality of science-based startups. The aim is to establish startup factories as flagships that are transregional and have increased international visibility. The concept phase is followed by the project phase for which the startup factories can submit a project phase application by the end of February 2025. The selection process involving a jury will take place in April 2025. Funding for the project phase is scheduled to start on 1 July 2025.


Press release RheinMain Startup Factory (in German) (358.11 KB)