New building for high-tech start-ups opens its doors in Heidelberg

Press release for the official ceremony on 23 October with seventy invited guests

Heidelberg, October 23, 2019. The opening ceremony of the Business Development Center Heidelberg (BDC HD) was held on Wednesday, October 23, 2019. Guests from the political, scientific, and business communities also attended a guided tour of the BDC HD.

“Today, we are opening the first new building on the site of the former Patton Barracks, previously used by the American forces. The Business Development Center Heidelberg is the part of the new Heidelberg Innovation Park (HIP) where digital solutions will be developed in an interdisciplinary manner, with a constant interchange between researchers, founders and established companies,” says Prof. Eckart Würzner, Mayor of Heidelberg, explaining the objective of the construction in the Kirchheim district. The BDC HD presents the ideal conditions for this: an open campus atmosphere, close proximity, and flexible spaces.

“Innovation requires an interchange of ideas. In the BDC HD, we have consistently implemented the principle of collaborative working, known as coworking, which is well-established among start-ups. What is so new and special about the BDC HD is that founders do not only share offices, but also fully equipped laboratories and workshops. A case in point is Heidelberg Seed Labs, where new business concepts can be easily tested in a safe environment,” states Dr. André H.R. Domin, Managing Director of the Heidelberg Technology Park. The Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Economic Affairs approved funding for Heidelberg Seed Labs in March 2019.

The guided tour impressed the guests: Moritz Schindler, who is responsible for the ongoing works at the BDC HD, led them into the building through the conference center and up to the first floor to see how the first tenants have chosen to furnish their spaces. “We want to find the most diverse tenants possible, who address a broad range of issues including mobility, security, data management, artificial intelligence and Industry 4.0 applications,” says Schindler, describing the selection criteria for tenants. The sixth location of the Technology Park, the BDC HD with its combination of lab and office spaces has been specifically designed with start-ups and companies specializing in biotechnology, printed electronics, environmental technology, and IT and digital media in mind.

It is located directly on Speyerer Strasse, with more than 6,000 m2 of space housing all that tenants would need to grow their companies successfully: from BSL-2–standard labs to clean-room–compatible spaces and workshops, and a private office or shared desk. The spaces are as flexible as required: neighboring labs and offices can easily be merged. Communal areas such as a cafeteria and a conference center are also available to all BDC HD tenants. The conference center with its total area of 240 m2 is also flexible: it can be split into up to four rooms, which can then be set up for seminars, meetings, and events of all kinds.

BDC HD tenants also benefit from the Technology Park and Heidelberg Startup Partners network established in 1984, which facilitates contact with researchers, founders, and companies worldwide, and enables them to develop innovative ideas with industry experts. Heidelberg Startup Partners assists start-ups in the high-tech sector, creating a synergy between young and established companies.
When designing the BDC HD, architect Lukas Hampl, Associate Partner at RKW Architektur +, translated the underlying concept of the HIP into this striking structure. “High-tech inside and out: the new HIP building is a real eye-catcher, not only because of its asymmetrical boomerang shape, but also because of the technoid façade with its bands of aluminum panels. The interior reflects the design philosophy, both formally and in terms of materials used, creating a harmonious structure that makes the BDC HD the HIP flagship,” Hampl specifies.

The HIP is an innovative business park planned and developed by Entwicklungsgesellschaft Patton Barracks mbH & Co. KG (EGP) in collaboration with Sparkasse Heidelberg. The BDC construction project is co-financed by the European Union (EU), the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and the federal state of Baden-Württemberg.

About Technologiepark Heidelberg GmbH
The Heidelberg Technology Park, founded in 1984, is Germany’s first science park with a focus on life science. Its steady growth has enabled it to establish itself in biotechnology, pharmaceutical and environmental technology, printed electronics, and IT in five different locations. The aim of the technology park is to promote the transfer between research and industry, and provide scientific spin-offs with the necessary infrastructure. Its close collaboration with international partners, including the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Zentrum für Molekulare Biologie der Universität Heidelberg (ZMBH), SRH Hochschule Heidelberg gGmbH, Organic Electronics leading-edge cluster, as well as Heidelberg University and its affiliated hospital, ensures that tenant companies have access to a large network and intensive collaboration with both academia and industry. The BDC HD, with 6,000 m² of flexible space in the HIP, will be the next location to open in November 2019.

Further information about the HIP
The establishment of the HIP is helping transform Heidelberg into a hotspot of innovation in IT, digital media, and bioinformatics. An extension of the Heidelberg Technology Park and the first new building for high-tech companies on the HIP site, the BDC HD will be completed by Q4 2019.
“Work connected” is more than just a catchphrase for the HIP: creative ideas progress at a faster rate when researchers and companies network, interact, and collaborate with each other. And this is precisely what the HIP wants to accomplish, thus recreating a small section of Silicon Valley in the heart of Heidelberg. The relaxed campus atmosphere, close proximity, and many meeting places are intended to inspire ideas and give free rein to the imagination, and help create collaborative projects between industrial, research, and business stakeholders.

The HIP is considered a digital hotspot and is already making new forms of working, such as in coworking spaces and makerspaces, available. The EGP, with the backing of the municipality of Heidelberg and Sparkasse Heidelberg, is the driving force behind the HIP development.
Read more about the HIP, its network, and current developments on

Further information about Heidelberg Seed Labs, the coworking labs
Heidelberg Seed Labs, comprising fully equipped shared lab and workshop spaces for start-up projects, is a project intended to promote Baden-Württemberg as a start-up location in the long term. In addition to the state funds that it had originally approved, the Ministry of Economic Affairs is also using ERDF funding to bolster the state economy’s capacity for innovation. Baden-Württemberg will receive around €247 million in regional structural funds from the EU’s ERDF in the 2014–2020 period. Projects financed with these funds are used to bolster application-based research and development, technology and knowledge transfer, networking activities, and business start-ups relevant to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, among other things.

Accordingly, based on the findings of the “Regionale Innovationssysteme in Baden-Württemberg” (Regional Innovation Systems in Baden-Württemberg) study in 2018 and the experience gained from the RegioWIN process, the Ministry of Economic Affairs is funding investment in regional innovation infrastructures in addition to regional innovation management. This will contribute to fulfilling the conditions for the space required to create innovations, thus helping start-ups and SMEs test and apply new and collaborative innovation methods. The Ministry of Economic Affairs selected a total of five projects to fund across the state, the first of which is Heidelberg Seed Labs.

Champagne reception
Second speaker: Lukas Hampl, RKW Architektur + (architecture, design, visual language)
Third speaker: Dr. André H.R. Domin (BDC, start-ups, network, support, ERDF funding, SMEs, BDC facilities)
15:40: Guided tours of the grounds, ground floor, and first floor (10 to 15 participants per tour)

April 24, 2017 – Groundbreaking
September 27, 2017 – Construction works begin
July 11, 2018 – Topping-out ceremony
March 18, 2019 – Approval for Heidelberg Seed Labs

Here you can find further information (in German).

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