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If the Ruhr were a human being…

If the Ruhr were a person called Alex, it would be well-educated, down-to-earth and maintain close contacts with leading companies, while remaining modest and focusing on a sustainable world. The author, now spokesperson for the Ruhr region of NRWalley e.V., aims to establish the Ruhr region as a major startup ecosystem by networking various players and bringing movement to the ecosystem. It wants to bring traditional companies and start-ups together in order to jointly develop the Ruhr region as a serious start-up hub and promotes this through offers such as a place in the #NoBuzzwords coworking space.

Imagine if the Ruhr area were a human being. Let’s call this person Alex and ask him/her the following question:

“What do you see when you look in the mirror?
What do you think the answer is?

If the Ruhr region were a person, it would be well educated, as around a quarter of a million people study in Germany’s largest metropolitan region. The down-to-earth Alex would maintain contacts with many leading (DAX) companies, be highly mobile and, of course, list soccer as his favorite sport.

The values of this down-to-earth and unagitated person are contemporary and interested in a sustainable world, because Alex remembers that his/her grandfather still worked in the mining industry. This history has kept Alex so grounded that, despite his enormous skills and unique potential, he/she politely gave way to the loud Kalle from Berlin and the somewhat elitist Sophie from Munich when it came to a career as a startup super hub.

But Alex has done his homework and the time is ripe when more drumming is allowed, or rather “must” be done! Alex, the Ruhr region, is no longer trapped in the past.

To this end, I have set out to help ignite the next rocket stage with the start-up scene in the Ruhr region. I am now doing this as spokesperson for the Ruhr region of NRWalley e.V., the organization representing the interestsof start-ups at NRW state level.

Startups need powerful voices in order to get in touch with the right investors, multipliers and cooperation partners. In 2016, after a career in well-known corporations and then as a successful entrepreneur, I went deep into the start-up world and founded my own start-up. Since then, I have experienced all aspects of this path and how more and more strong entrepreneurs are developing ideas into serious business models. Quietly but surely, the first so-called ecosystem structures developed in the Ruhr region.

In addition to my own start-up activities, I am passionate about the career of the Ruhr region as an international start-up ecosystem superstar to be taken seriously with our #NoBuzzwords coworking space! So far, the intensity is still far removed from startup hotspots such as London, Berlin or Barcelona, which can be seen, for example, in the number of resident VC investors per hundred thousand inhabitants. But when lists the 15 largest startup hubs and our Ruhr region, the fourth largest metropolitan area in Europe, doesn’t even make an appearance, we have an obligation to change that.

Let’s work harder on our self-image. Because Alex still doesn’t see in the mirror what he is, a budding world star!

For my new, voluntary role, I have made it my goal to bring all players in the startup ecosystem much closer together and to lend a hand where experience or advice is needed.

The players in the ecosystem need synergies. And these synergies are the motivation for more exercise! Traditional companies need to recognize why and how they can be more successful with start-ups. Startups must be able to overcome natural barriers in order to get in touch with experienced partners. This is where I will contribute my experience for both sides.

Below I list the main elements of my work as NRWalley’s spokesperson for the Ruhr region:

  1. Vernetzen der wesentlichen Akteure in unserem Ruhrgebiets-Ökosystem:
    • Startup-Unternehmer
    • Entscheider in Konzernen und interessierten Unternehmen/Hidden Champions
    • Experten
    • Kommunikatoren/Presse
    • Politik und Verbände
  2. Bewegung erzeugen
    • (Pitch-)Events
    • Sprint-Sessions
    • Veranstaltungen von NRWalley in Kooperation mit Partnern
  3. Erfahrungen nutzbar machen
    1. Top Startup- und Grownup-Unternehmer an einen Tisch bringen und so gemeinsam das Ruhrgebiets-Ökosystem weiter bringen
    2. Talente identifizieren/ins Ruhrgebiet holen
  4. Hot Topics
    1. Themencluster vorantreiben, in denen das Ruhrgebiet besondere Kompetenz hat
    2. Internationale Verbindungen stärken, um Unternehmen und Investoren für das Ruhrgebiet zu begeistern (Warum heißen wir wohl NRWalley??? 😉 )

I’m sure there are other points you can think of, so I invite anyone who wants to join us on this exciting journey! Get in touch if you would like to help push certain topics or take on responsibility. It is not the “can” that is important, but the “want”! Bring the right spirit and we’ll get things moving, together!

Feel free to share this post with anyone who cares about the Ruhr region. I welcome any suggestions, feedback and tips on which young or traditional companies deserve attention.

And as a special invitation, I’m giving everyone a place in the #NoBuzzwords coworking space in the immediate vicinity of Dortmund Central Station for two months. This will enable us to jointly develop strategies, events and measures for the entire Ruhr region and work on the Ruhr ecosystem project .

Let’s tackle it and ‘Alex’ will become a superstar with down-to-earth roots!

Your Mirco

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