Space for innovation: Stuttgart’s start-up hubs

by | Apr 18, 2018 | Corporates & Start-ups

No more Berlin, but “Kessel-love” instead. Baden-Württemberg’s capital city Stuttgart is increasingly turning into a meeting point for local and international entrepreneurs. Spaces for innovation and creative collaboration arose from the demand. We introduce five business incubation centers in Stuttgart.

Lighthouses in the founders’ hub Stuttgart

Stuttgart is increasingly becoming a founder hub. Established companies commit more and more to this area. Famous examples are Daimler with the Startup Autobahn (German for highway), GFT with the Global Innovation Hub Code_n, Festo, Trumpf or Mahle with the M.TECH Accelerator or the Vector Foundation, which supports the Social Impact Lab Stuttgart.

Startup Autobahn

Startup Autobahn logo

This innovative platform was developed by the company Plug and Play Germany together with Daimler AG, the University of Stuttgart and ARENA2036 e.V. and is named after the German high-speed motorway – the only one in the world without speed limit.

As the motorway does as well, STARTUP AUTOBAHN is aiming to accelerate joint projects between young tech companies and the company partners of the platform’s founding companies. For the inclusion in the specific programs of the STARTUP AUTOBAHN, it is an important prerequisite for all participants to have an advanced technology and a large capacity. This is the only way for the young tech companies, as well as the companies and pioneers already registered in the network, to work together and benefit from this.

The objective of this impartial exchange platform is to promote the dialogue and cooperation of globally active young tech companies with the experts from Silicon Valley and the best engineering providers from Germany. The network of investment firms and mentors only aims to contribute to the growth of technology companies in the region of Baden-Württemberg and to support joint projects between the interested technical experts, the start-ups and the corporate partners of the platform-founders. The areas, in which these projects are initiated and funded, are IoT, manufacturing, logistics, site-related services, cybersecurity, biometrics, natural language processing, process optimisation, customer experience and forecast analysis. For this, the location – which is not only the birthplace of the automobile and, thus, strategically chosen – is quite suitable. Stuttgart is, furthermore, one of the leading IP regions in the world and a hub for business, engineering and breakthrough inventions. More information under


In November 2016, the Innovation Campus CODE_n SPACES started as a blueprint for digital start-ups, innovation teams of international companies and experienced managers. The interdisciplinary innovation center CODE_n was initiated in 2011 by GFT Technologies AG and its CEO, Ulrich Dietz, and has been supporting self-determined and sustainable approaches to digital pioneering ever since. On the one hand, companies are supported in their future planning and, on the other hand, they are integrated into an international network of start-ups and established companies. CODE_n provides a platform for new business models and digital trends, creates awareness for the issues arising from digital transformation, sensitises the opportunities and encourages cultural change within organisations.

CODE_n logo

Since January 2017, 14 new offices were put into operation in the premises of the neighbouring building of CODE_n SPACES.

Fully-equipped community areas and modern workshop spaces complement the successful concept. “The demand for progressive and flexible working environments remains undiminished – both in start-ups and in innovation teams of established companies,” explains Ulrich Dietz, CODE_n initiator.

Except CODE_n SPACES, Stuttgart also offers rooms for the start-ups wanting to settle down in the region – from the classic office space to whole start-up centres and co-working spaces. The most famous addresses are on the Wizemann-Areal, Coworking0711, Arena 2036 or the new Leitz-Areal.

Wizemann.Space: 750 m² room for new ideas

WIZESpace logo

The Wizemann.Space in Stuttgart is the platform and co-working space for creative and entrepreneurial action for a better world. Together with its dynamic community, Wizemann.Space develops and implements visions for a responsible economy. The place, the people and the concept form an ecosystem of entrepreneurial Know-How, events and ideas for entrepreneurs, innovators, companies, makers, designers, lateral thinkers, techies, students and all those wanting to help shape the economy.

Leitz-Areal: “Live at Stuttgart”

Live at Stuttgart logo

The Leitz-Areal pursues one vision: by the beginning of 2018, all cross-thinkers and innovative minds shall meet in the new LIVE AT STUTTGART homeland and mutually promote each other. No more Berlin, but “Kessel-love” instead – love for the “boiler”, as Stuttgart is called among locals and other Federal States of Germany: None of the Baden-Württemberg based start-ups and companies have to leave their home anymore to be able to think!

The future is been created again in Stuttgart. On the 36,000 square meters premises of the Leitz-Areal, two thousand people are supposed to change the way they work, bring life back to work, and, thus, create more sense, fun and innovation. The aim of this space is to bring corporations and founders to work hand-in-hand and to build on the creativity and the different abilities of each other. Such a colourful network can grow the creative culture of a whole region.

In addition to the innovative cross-thinkers, the social entrepreneurs have been represented for some time and are gaining importance. Since 2017, there has been a Social Impact Lab in the Merz-Akademie in Stuttgart and a Social Impact Community in the

Social Impact Lab

Social Impact Lab Stuttgart Logo

The Social Impact Labs are incubators for social innovations and NGOs. For more than 20 years, they have been enabling social entrepreneurship and contributing to positive societal change. The Social Impact Labs focus on the support of social start-ups, which want to use their concepts to solve social challenges entrepreneurially.

Particularly promising social start-ups receive scholarships, which include up to eight months of professional consulting, coaching, workshops and co-working office spaces, as well as access to financing forms, so that the social start-up project can achieve the best possible start into its entrepreneurial future. The work rooms and spaces are located on the campus of the Merz-Akademie in Stuttgart.