For two days the Jahrhunderthalle in Bochum was the Mecca for the startup scene of the Rhine-Ruhr area.
With a record number of more than 4,500 visitors, the RuhrSummit 2018 ended on Friday, 12th October. The two-day event concluded with the grand finale of the pitch competition, which was endowed with 5,000 euros. The Dortmund-based team MotionMiners won the final and beat five other top-class young companies from Germany, Finland, Bulgaria and Russia.
"The success of the largest startup conference in NRW confirms the trend that the Ruhr region is developing into one of the leading startup hubs in Germany," said RuhrSummit organizer Oliver Weimann from the 360 Online Performance Group with regard to a recent study by consulting firm PwC. According to the study, the Ruhr region, together with Berlin, occupies the top position in Germany among the fastest growing startups.
Dirk Opalka, Managing Director of Initiativkreis Ruhr GmbH, co-initiator of the conference alongside the 360 Online Performance Group and the startup portal RuhrGründer.de, also drew a positive balance: "Despite all optimism, we did not expect such a strong response. We wanted to double the number of visitors in comparison to last year. In the end, the RuhrSummit had three times more visitors than in 2017".
Making visible which initiatives, organisations and companies are involved in the development of the Ruhr region as a startup hotspot was one of the focal points of this year's RuhrSummit. Eight universities in the region presented their founding activities both in the trade fair sector and on stage. In addition, visitors to a large Startup Expo with 150 exhibited companies were able to gain an impression of the quality and quantity of the local startups as well as of regional focal topics such as IT security, eHealth or industrial technologies.
In addition to several stages and workshops, the large exhibition area and various networking areas on the entire grounds of Bochum’s Jahrhunderthalle provided an opportunity for countless discussions among the participants. For the first time, a significant number of regional representatives of medium-sized businesses were among them. "Our aim is to actively connect startups with established companies and investors. With events such as the Startup-Expo, the Match-Making or the Corporate Challenge Pitch, we have succeeded in this in the long term," said Oliver Weimann who, at the end of the event, announced that there will also be a RuhrSummit in the coming year.