Elaborations by WTSH – Business Development and Technology Transfer Corporation of Schleswig-Holstein

3-Sentence Pitch on the local Startup Ecosystem:

Schleswig-Holstein is an outstanding place to live and work. On several occasions, it has been established that the most satisfied people in Germany live in Schleswig-Holstein. The land between two seas – the North Sea and the Baltic Sea – is the gateway to Scandinavia. Many Hidden Champions are outstandingly positioned on the international stage. It is not only in the larger cities but also in other, smaller places where ideas are turned into products that are highly sought-after throughout the world.

The start-up scene in Schleswig-Holstein is seeing strong growth. Here, the universities in the state are playing a key role. In addition, there are a growing number of different events that help company founders to network and develop ideas. The entrepreneur workshops, the BarCamps and the idea competitions in the state are just three examples. Company founders are also being given ever greater space in the form of co-working spaces, for example, which can be found throughout the state and are well received.

The advantage Schleswig-Holstein offers the entrepreneurs is that the channels are shorter than in bigger cities. People know one another in Germany’s True North and it is therefore much easier for young entrepreneurs to build up networks. They really value that and many of them come back to Schleswig-Holstein especially to found their business. Then there is the proximity to Scandinavia and the Baltic states. The rather small domestic market in Schleswig-Holstein is a further advantage for young entrepreneurs because it allows ideas and concepts to be developed on a larger scale for export throughout the rest of Germany and Europe.

More information on Schleswig-Holstein can be found here.

Regional Hubs

The main hubs in Schleswig-Holstein that contribute to the entrepreneurship ecosystem are for example:




Besides these initiatives and institutions, Schleswig-Holstein benefits from the Nordzentren that are technology and business centers offering 90,000 m² for startups and young ventures at 16 sites in the state. They aim at supporting technology-oriented and knowledge-intensive companies.

Sectoral Focus of the Startup Ecosystem

We find successful startups throughout the state and in a wide range of industries. However, each regional hub tends to focus on specific industries:

  • Green Tec and Women Entrepreneurship (Flensburg)
  • BioMedTec, Life Sciences and medical technology (Lübeck)
  • ICT and nanotechnology (Kiel)
  • Silicon technology and microtechnology (Itzehoe)

Local Financing Landscape/Presence of VCs

For startups and young companies, there is a variety of financing possibilities (grants, loans, equity capital, etc.), provided by, among others, the following institutions and instruments:

Presence and Industrial Focus of Established Industries

  • Maritime economy
  • Renewables
  • Wind energy
  • Life sciences
  • Logistics
  • Food economy
  • Digital economy
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Tourism/hotels

Cluster in Schleswig-Holstein:

  • DiWiSH
  • SH
  • foodRegio
  • Life Science Nord
  • Maritimes Cluster Norddeutschland (MCN)
  • Tourismus-Cluster Schleswig-Holstein

Presence of Research Institutes and Universities

  • Christian Albrecht University, Kiel
  • Kiel University of Applied Science
  • Lübeck University
  • Lübeck University of Applied Sciences
  • Flensburg University
  • Flensburg University of Applied Sciences
  • West Coast University of Applied Sciences
  • Wedel University of Applied Sciences
  • Muthesius College of Art, Kiel
  • Lübeck College of Music

Noticeable Events

There are a growing number of different events that help company founders to network and develop ideas: