Constant competitive pressure requires manufacturing companies to drive innovation in their own businesses – be it in the form of new business models, products or even processes. In order to remain competitive, it is necessary to search for new developments beyond one’s own company boundaries. Time and cost pressure, special customer needs as well as the competition as a whole lead to a constant need for improvement in one’s own company in order to be successful on the market.
There are many sources for obtaining new knowledge and know-how, but corporate resources, especially of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), are limited in this respect – they cannot afford a strategy or research and development department to conduct extensive research into technology and research results. For this reason, it makes sense for SMEs, but also for large companies, to make use of external partners who facilitate the search for suitable technologies, cooperation partners and know-how.
According to the results of a survey of participants at the “Technology and Knowledge Transfer with innovation2business.nrw” event held on October 20, 2022, contact with universities is most frequently sought in order to gain access to technologies and research materials from university science or to obtain suitable cooperation partners from universities. Likewise, there is primarily a great deal of interest in supporting the company’s own technology scouting. When it comes to finding cooperation partners from industry, the interest in support is somewhat lower.
The innovation2business.nrw project supports companies in technology and knowledge transfer and is carried out by PROvendis GmbH. The support project helps machine and plant manufacturers in NRW to obtain innovative approaches to solutions for challenges and individual objectives – regardless of how far the innovation project has progressed in their own company.
Due to the support of the Ministry for Economy, Industry, Climate Protection and Energy of North Rhine-Westphalia (MWIKE), PROvendis offers a free service.
In addition to the search for research partners or new technologies, innovation2business provides contacts and know-how of the NRW universities.
The services offered through the project can be divided into different modules: In addition to the initial contact and the evaluation of the consulting and support possibilities, an orientation consultation follows, which is adapted to the needs of the company in order to obtain an overview of the range of services offered by innovation2business.nrw. The orientation consultation includes a one-day workshop with technology and IP experts from PROvendis to take stock and determine the company’s technology needs. Other service offerings that go beyond the personal orientation consultation and brief analysis of technology needs are the service modules “Fast Track Innovation Pull” and “Innovation, Market and Technology Consulting”.
The event was offered by ProduktionNRW. ProduktionNRW is the competence network for mechanical engineering and production technology in North Rhine-Westphalia and is run by VDMA NRW. ProduktionNRW sees itself as a platform for networking, informing and marketing companies, institutions and networks among themselves and along the value chain. Significant parts of the services provided by ProduktionNRW are funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).