Achieving more together
Future topics such as IT, energy and mobility dominate the economic and scientific landscape in Karlsruhe. However, the region owes its position as one of the world’s leading innovation locations not only to its strong digital sector and excellent research institutions, but also to a special structural feature: the “Karlsruhe principle of short distances”.
Business, science, administration and culture have committed themselves to the overarching goal of pooling their interests in the field of digitalization and further positioning the region as a driver of digitalization. To achieve this, the institutions work hand in hand – and each department contributes its expertise to a wide variety of projects. As a result, new ideas and innovative concepts can be implemented quickly, which would not be possible without this close integration.
However, the “Karlsruhe principle of short distances” not only has an institutional component, but also a spatial one. Companies, universities, non-university research institutions, start-up centers, creative spaces, cultural institutions and the town hall are all located within a radius of just a few hundred meters. Thanks to well-connected mobility services and the multi-award-winning bicycle infrastructure, all central facilities in the fan-shaped city can be reached within a very short time. This facilitates personal exchange and cross-institutional, unbureaucratic cooperation.
A strong digital location needs strong networks. Karlsruhe entrepreneur Dr. Friedrich Georg Hoepfner recognized this early on – and initiated the first start-up network in Karlsruhe in 1997 together with eleven partners from science, research, administration, business and the financial sector.
25 years and many milestones later, CyberForum e.V. is now the largest regionally active high-tech entrepreneur network in Europe with over 1,200 members. Whether start-up, medium-sized software company, global IT corporation or research institution – the CyberForum brings together all players in the Karlsruhe region.
The focus is on the exchange of experience and knowledge, as well as contacts and ideas. The CyberForum also supports companies from the IT and high-tech sector in all phases of company development – starting with the foundation, through the recruitment of specialists and employee training, to location marketing.
The K³ Kultur- und Kreativwirtschaftsbüro and MEKA Medienregion Karlsruhe e.V. take on these tasks for the creative industries , companies from the energy sector can be found in the EnergieForum and fokus.energie e.V., the Automotive Engineering Network serves as a regional platform for mobility and engineering. The Gründerallianz Karlsruhe supports start-ups across all sectors on their way to market entry.
Inspiring creative spaces
The digital industry depends more than almost any other on networking and cooperation between the individual players. Karlsruhe is responding to this with initiatives such as karlsruhe.digital and strong networks. But even in the age of digitalization, in which much takes place virtually, physical proximity and personal exchange remain important cornerstones of new ideas and groundbreaking innovations
This requires extraordinary places where the IT, cultural and creative industries not only work together, but also live together. The best ideas are often not generated in meetings with colleagues, but during coffee breaks in discussions with others
Several attractive creative spaces have therefore been created in Karlsruhe in recent years, giving start-ups and companies the opportunity to bundle their existing potential and make effective use of synergies. These include the Alte Schlachthof with the Perfekt Futur start-up center and the FUX consolidation and expansion center, the Hoepfner Burg with the CyberLab, the Karlsruhe Technology Park and the Raumfabrik in Durlach. At all these locations, emphasis was placed on an inspiring atmosphere, modern open-space concepts and the provision of public space for creative exchange.