Essen – important ICT Location in the Ruhr Metropolis

In Essen, smart Information and Communication Technology (ICT) promotes digital changes. In nearly all branches, these cross-sectional technologies initiate and facilitate numerous innovative products and processes and drive digital transformation. This innovative branch continues to grow and, as an important business field for Essen’s ICT companies, industry 4.0 has gained in significance.

Essen belongs to the leading ICT locations in the Ruhr metropolis. More than 10,500 people are employed in this sector, which is 4.5% of all those in Essen paying SI contributions and, thus, considerably above the national average of 3.1%.

Excellent Locational Factors for this Branch

The requirement for innovative information and communication technology in Essen is high. Located centrally within the Ruhr metropolis conurbation area, this top business location is the home of numerous companies and high-performance, efficient, internationally-oriented medium-sized businesses. The favorable economic conditions provide an excellent environment for ICT companies.

Ruhr:HUB as a Hub for Digital Economy

The preparations for the Ruhr:HUB, sponsored by the "Ministerium für Wirtschaft, Energie, Industrie, Mittelstand und Handwerk des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen" (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Industry North-Rhine Westphalia) are in full swing with the aim of bringing together the diverse potential within both the location and the region and to make the Ruhr metropolis an attractive location for the digital economy and to further enhance its market profile. Ruhr:HUB is the official name of the institution which offers, in particular, creative co-working space and start-ups not only a viable infrastructure, but also financial structures during the growth stages. The Ruhr:HUB will be found in Essen’s city center, at a distance of 400 meters from main train station and is located in the listed building "Deutschlandhaus". Here, start-ups can seek advice and gather information relating to special funding programmes. A high-caliber network of mentors provides support to young digital start-ups by opening doors to established companies. The Ruhr:HUB also approaches existing companies wishing to exploit their opportunities with digital transformation.

Research and Development

Research and development within the ICT sector plays an important role for the competitiveness of companies. The ongoing digitalization requires diverse, interdisciplinary, innovative research connecting communication and information technology with the various applications.

As a location, Essen is well-equipped for these sectors. "paluno - The Ruhr Institute for Software Technology" has eight professors and more than 100 scientific staff who carry out research relating to the issues of software engineering. "paluno" and its partners throughout Europe are developing, with the aid of research and development projects, scientific approaches for putting complex software systems into practice.

With more than 100 scientists and technicians from the "Institut für Informatik und Wirtschaftsinformatik der Universität Duisburg-Essen" (Institute for Computer Science and Business Information Systems, Duisburg-Essen University) is working on a wide field of research topics covering the development and economic utilization of I&C technologies. The utilization-oriented research work covers extensive areas of computer science, applied computer science, business information systems and information management.

Large Potential for Qualified Manpower

The wide spectrum within the fields of research is also reflected by what is taught. Whether it is applied computer science – systems engineering and business information systems or scientific-technical study courses – Essen’s companies have access to highly qualified professionals.

  • Approximately 50,000 students are pursuing degrees in scientific-technical study courses at the universities and technical colleges in the Ruhr metropolis.
  • An excess of 1,100 students have registered with the "Hochschulcampus Essen" for courses in computer science and business information systems and
  • More than 1,000 pupils and trainees are attending the Heinz-Nixdorf-Kolleg.

Essen’s "Agentur für Arbeit" (Employment Agency), the JobCenter Essen and private recruitment agencies, specialised in the requirements of IT companies, offer support in the recruitment of appropriate manpower.

With a view to the future and the availability of professional manpower, trainees in the fields of mathematics, computer science and science and technology are being systematically developed in the framework of the "zdi-Zentrum MINT-Netzwerk" (Center for innovative Education) Essen.

Public Funding Programmes

NRW promotes "Investitionen in Wachstum und Beschäftigung" (Investments in Growth and Employment) in the framework of the "EFRE 2014-2020" programme. The funding is awarded within defined lead markets and takes place in the form of a nationwide competition. The focus of this ICT competition is placed on cyber physical systems, sustainable mobility, IT security and the digital transformation towards industry 4.0.

The European funding programme "Horizon 2020" supports companies in the fields of research, development and innovation. The R&D programme has a budget of approximately 77 billion Euros. "ZENIT - das Zentrum für Innovation und Technik in Nordrhein-Westfalen" (Center for Innovation and Technology in North-Rhine Westphalia) with its headquarters in the neighbouring city of Mülheim an der Ruhr provides, on behalf of the EU, federal and regional authorities, sustainable support to technically-oriented companies with their innovative and internationalisation activities and brings together potential partners from business and science sectors.

Effective Business Network

The "networker NRW e.V." is the largest IT network in North-Rhine Westphalia. It was founded in 2000 by companies from the IT sector and, currently, has more than 165 members. The association, with its headquarters in Essen, provides a large network of personal contacts for companies from the IT sector and the media and stands for information, cooperation and partnership.