How to build a Start-up Network
1 Feb 2018

This guide provides instructions to support interested cities, counties and regions in setting up a start-up network, as well as three practical examples from different start-up networks in the Germany cities of Mainz, Berlin and Hildesheim.

In 2017, the RKW Kompetenzzentrum (German Center for Productivity and Innovation) worked intensively with start-up networks in Germany. Based on a new developed survey, in a first step nearly a dozen existing networks were surveyed. The focus of the survey lay on the internal organization of the network partners, the measures implemented and the external presentation. It also examined the composition of the networks and the partnership structure, as well as cooperations with external partners such as SMEs from the region.

The goal of this research was to gain a better understanding of the functioning of the networks, to initiate a dialogue, to facilitate mutual learning and to develop measures to support the formation of new networks.

In Germany, there is a large number of local start-up networks that strengthen their founding ecosystem locally and support founders in all phases of their development. Some of these networks have formed on the occasion of GEW in recent years, but some have been around since the late 1990s. Although the direct influence on the start-up scene may be difficult to measure, it can be consistently observed that the joint external appearance and the partnerships of the local institutions - from universities, chambers and associations to banks and insurance providers - creates great synergy effects, significantly greater visibility and a strong external impact. Last but not least: the mutual trust of the partners increases.

The goals of the networks and the motivation for their cooperations are for example to make the support structures on site more transparent, to organize joint offers such as events or consultations or to initiate the exchange of experience between the founders.

Download guidebook here (German).


see also previous posts:

Stronger together – entrepreneurial networks in Germany

"It takes a city to raise a startup"


Sonja Alt

Project Management | GEN Germany