Author: Josefina Nungesser, Director Trend- und Innovationscouting; Emailadresse:

Blockchain, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Industry 4.0 are technologies that have the potential to disrupt lives. However, this new industrial revolution must not only be managed, but also shaped. Digitalising the German economy and identifying new solutions that can drive the transformation process are key to Germany’s economic growth prospects.

In order to promote the digital transformation in Germany, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy launched the Digital Hub initiative. The Digital Hub aims to strengthen Germany’s position as a world leading digital ecosystem and attractive business location.  Twelve Digital Hubs distributed across Germany were established that form a strong network enabling the exchange of technological and business expertise, programs and ideas. Start-ups, established businesses and academics can join forces at each Digital Hub to find answers to the challenges of the digital age. Innovation programs support the development of new solutions in industry relevant fields, from artificial intelligence to new mobility to smart infrastructure. Each hub has a sector specific focus and interested start-ups can get in contact with the hub managers and become part of the hub network.

In times of Corona, there is an enhanced interest in the healthcare sector. Within the digital hub initiative, two hubs focus on digital health.

The metropolitan region of Nuremberg/Erlangen is distinguished by its strong economy coupled with excellent research institutions in this specific sector. A successful ecosystem has already emerged from the collaboration of these partners, offering excellent opportunities for start-ups and investors. The Digital Health Hub Nuremberg/Erlangen builds upon the structures already in place and, by consistently carrying out digitisation measures, breaks apart established processes in the healthcare industry. The aim is the continued improvement of healthcare quality through the stimulation of growth in the healthcare market.

Named Cluster of Excellence in 2010 Medical Valley EMN serves as a One-Stop-Shop for all concerns related to Digital Health. One of the best practise examples for this strong network is the Medical Valley Award. Funded by the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy it supports research-teams, that are planning on founding a company, with 250.000. To find more information on the Medical Valley Award please go to:

Another very important networking platform in the Medical Valley ecosystem is d.hip – Digital Health Innovation Platform ( In cooperation with the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen, Siemens Healthineers and the University Clinic of Erlangen it offers the perfect space to create events and know-how-transfer such as the Clinical Data Day that took place in December last year.

Since there is still a lot of uncertainties when it comes to digital healthcare solutions, the Digital Health Application Center dmac ( provides companies, start-ups or researchers with everything they need to know on for instance t­he German digital health market, reimbursement pathways, patient reported outcomes, health economic evaluations, etc. when entering the world of digital medicine. Moreover, experts accompany the certification process and the clinical or technical evaluations.

Health Hackers Erlangen e. V. ( ) unites different kinds of professionals i.e. medical staff, engineers, health economics etc., to organize events, seminars or projects like “NoToSho” which was created during the “WirvsVirus” hackathon challenge and minimizes contamination risks while grocery shopping via lean, easy and digital solutions.

These are just a few examples of the vivid and vibrant ecosystem Digital Health Hub – Medical Valley.

Besides Erlangen, Nuremberg with its Tech Incubator ZOLLHOF also belongs to the Digital Health Hub and has a lot to offer. As a tech family of entrepreneurs, corporates and digital innovators in Germany, ZOLLHOF connects start-ups to influential groups that help reaching the next level and provides in-house support tailored to the needs of each start-ups.

With Vitas and Climedo, the digital hub demonstrates how two start-ups help fighting the Corona crisis with concrete projects. Vitas has developed an AI-based Corona voice assistant that helps overstretched institutions, the police but also health care providers in order to answer recurrent enquiries from citizens. It supports to ease the burden on hotlines and to share relevant and helpful information in no time. More information can be found under

The start-up Climedo also contributes to fighting against the Corona crisis. Courses of disease of infected patients are recorded in so-called digital diaries. For the registration Climedo uses its existing technological infrastructure: Participants can register at the Climedo online platform and can find a standardized questionnaire from a local health authority. That way, a decline of the health status is documented for doctors and data can be collected for scientific institutions. More information can be found under:

The metropolitan region of Rhine-Neckar in Germany is distinguished by a successful business culture and internationally recognised research centres. The Digital Hub Mannheim/Ludwigshafen strengthens these existing competences and combines them with an established network of start-up companies. Targeted methods are used to conduct research on the application of digitisation in the chemical and healthcare industries. Numerous municipalities and private venture capitalists ensure that innovative technologies and services can be brought to market faster.

The 5-HT Digital Hub Mannheim/Ludwigshafen is Europe’s fastest growing “Digital chemistry & health ecosystem” and located in the Rhine-Neckar region, in South-West Germany. Besides its corporate founding members and shareholders BASF, the world’s largest chemical company, hidden champion Pepperl+Fuchs and tech-giant SAP, more corporates like Merck, Phoenix Pharma and Roche became active sponsors of the 5-HT Digital Hub. In addition, the regional start-up support institutions Heidelberg Technology Park, Startup Mannheim (mg:gmbh) and Technology Center Ludwigshafen (TZL) are network partners and shareholders.

The 5-HT Digital Hub is offering various programs to support entrepreneurial activities: The 5-HT X-linker is a one-week start-up bootcamp to prepare national and international startups within a Seed or Series A stage for their individual sessions with renowned chemical and pharmaceutical companies and pitch in front of several investor. In the “5-HT Digital Qualifier” students are solving corporate challenges during one semester with industry experts and mentors from universities. Currently, the program is in cooperation with KIT – Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, University of Applied Sciences Ludwigshafen and Fresenius University of Applied Sciences. In the joint program “Insuring Digital Health” between 5-HT Digital Hub and EIT Health with support of the University of Heidelberg, digital health start-ups and health insurance companies meet individually to discuss collaboration opportunities.

With its international appeal, the German ecosystem is one of the most relevant locations for business founders and investors from all over the world. Unlike other centers of digitization such as the Silicon Valley, the focus in Germany is not on one region, but on progress at multiple locations. German digital companies are among the world’s most valuable, while traditional corporations and SMEs continue to lead markets and are at the forefront of digital development in their industries, too. The digital hubs support start-ups to connect to medium-sized businesses and larger corporates to enable innovation. They provide access to investors, customers and partners, offer technical advice and a space to operate from.

A national Hub Agency based in Berlin coordinates the way the Digital Hubs work together. The Hub Agency also supports the Digital Hubs in the development of innovation formats and business models. In collaboration with Germany Trade and Invest, whose brief is to promote foreign trade and market locations, Digital Hubs are advertised abroad to raise the international profile of Germany as a forerunner in the digital space.

Driven by technical excellence and proven market competence, the Digital Hub Initiative is about producing innovative solutions and strong economic growth. National and international talent and investors are invited to be part of this digital success story by contributing with their business ideas and inspiration. The Digital Hub Initiative is Germany’s decentralised answer to Silicon Valley and seeks to strengthen the visibility and the potential of Germany.

If you want to find out more about the digital health hubs, please find the links and contact persons here: