Corporations and SMEs – achieving success hand in hand

The ‘City of Cities’ is traditionally strong in the energy sector – and nowadays we are especially progressive and innovative.

SMEs are being founded around the large energy corporations; promising start-ups are springing up like mushrooms. There is plenty of investment in research and development and cooperation partnerships are being established, even across different industries. One thing that remains constant is the internationally appreciated experience of the energy specialists. German engineering from the Ruhr Metropolis is huge all over the world – particularly when it comes to renewable energy sources. This is certainly one reason why around 40 of the 500 companies that generate the highest turnover in Germany are based in the ‘City of Cities’ and four of them are listed on the DAX Index: RWE AG, E.on SE, thyssenkrupp AG and Vonovia SE.

Companies from 160 nations

This success story attracts the interest of foreign companies. According to the Ruhr Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the number of such companies has risen by 50 per cent since 2008. The businesses come from 160 different nations – in other words, they come from practically everywhere. Based on information from the Chamber of Commerce, the most important factors influencing their choice of location not only include the high economic power of the Ruhr Metropolis, but equally the numerous well-trained individuals who make up its workforce. Other key aspects include the many universities, the good transport infrastructure and the huge market of 150 million people within a radius of just 500 kilometres.

A dynamic location with an outstanding infrastructure

One outstanding example of an international business successfully moving to the Ruhr region is ACCESS Europe, based in Oberhausen. The Japanese company’s software components are used on more than one and a half billion devices connected to the Internet worldwide. The IT specialists built a European development centre for innovative technologies in Oberhausen. Frank Lichtenheld, managing director of Oberhausen’s business and tourism development organisation (OWT GmbH), confirms the current development: ‘The Ruhr Metropolis market has grown to become a dynamic and expansive investment field.’

The latest project undertaken by foreign investors is the China Trade Center Europe, which is being built in Duisburg and is due to be completed in 2022. It will have offices, a hotel, bars and restaurants, event and exhibition spaces and an e-commerce centre. Investor Starhai has announced the creation of 2,000 jobs.