BVIZ - German Association of Innovation, Technology and Business Incubation Centres

The BVIZ is the Federal German association of innovation, technology and business incubation centres as well as science and technology parks. The BVIZ was founded in 1988 under the name “ADT - Arbeitsgemeinschaft deutscher Technologiezentren” in the former West Berlin at the initiative of the first innovation and start-up centres in Germany. Since then, the number of Innovation Centres has continually grown along with the number of association members – particularly in the new federal states following German reunification. To date, the BVIZ is the only German institution which has specialised in initiating, supporting and overseeing enterprise start-ups in the form of organised Innovation Centres.

As an association, the BVIZ supports its member centres in fulfilling their task of initiating and overseeing innovative technology-oriented start-ups. By pursuing this approach, the BVIZ fosters the growth of small and medium-sized enterprise economy as well as innovation-oriented structural change in all regions of Germany.

The goal of the BVIZ is to promote technology transfer and innovation as well as business start-ups and enterprise development. It also seeks to further develop the importance and competence of the Innovation Centres in order to support innovative entrepreneurs and to present them appropriately in the public domain. The BVIZ represents the interests of the Innovation Centres, and thus also fledgling companies, in public areas such as politics, industry, science and the media. As an association, it is thus actively involved in creating favourable framework conditions for innovative start-ups in Germany.

Currently round 150 innovation and business incubator centres are associated to the BVIZ, with more than 5.800 companies and over 46.000 employees in these centers. The centres successfully outsourced more than 17.400 companies.

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Innovation Centres in Germany

The success story of Innovation Centres in Germany began in 1983. Today, there more than 300 innovation, technology and business incubation centres as well as science parks and similar institutions throughout the Federal Republic of Germany.

Young entrepreneurs are supported at the Innovation Centres in all questions surrounding the foundation of their businesses and at the same time are provided with an excellent framework with regard to infrastructure and services. This ideal framework provides business founders with the best possible conditions for quick and successful growth. Particularly at the classic incubation centres, young entrepreneurs remain only for a limited period of time until they have grown sufficiently to compete on the market, leaving behind them a place for new companies to find their way to a successful start.

As Innovation Centres are primarily aimed at innovative, technology-oriented start-ups, they are ideally situated near colleges, universities and research institutions. It is particularly these knowledge-based, research-intensive companies that add significantly towards local value creation and new jobs. As an instrument of regional business development, Innovation Centres contribute considerably towards strengthening the economy.

The principle tasks of Innovation Centres in Germany are defined with the following three focus areas:
1. Initiating and supporting of business start-ups
2. Activities in the area of technology transfer
3. Classic promotion of economic development

These three focal areas separate Innovation Centres from conventional commercial centres, which do not normally provide these services. In addition, as part of their incubator function, Innovation Centres offer companies many additional benefits and services which foster optimum growth opportunities. Each centre tailors its services to the individual requirements of its clientele or the industry-specific target group.

Innovation Centres have become an integral part of technology-oriented economic policy and have proven to be a successful tool for developing regional economies.

They create favourable conditions for enterprise start-ups and innovations, and also offer prospects for rejuvenating and developing regional economic structures through small and medium-sized enterprises, particularly in regions lacking a strong economic infrastructure.

Recent years have shown that Innovation Centres are increasingly developing into centres of competence, which means they will also be able to meet future requirements even better.

Tasks of the BVIZ

The tasks of the German association BVIZ are:

  • active support of regional and national economic development
  • improving the framework conditions for Innovation Centres and innovative business start-ups in Germany
  • continuing to develop the performance potential of the Innovation Centres to support the development of the enterprises in the centres
  • expanding the business basis of Innovation Centres and innovative companies by extending the network between the centres, industrial companies, the credit services sector, consulting firms and politics
  • promoting the exchange of information and experiences between the supporting organisations, operators, owners and sponsors of innovation centres
  • drafting statements, recommendations for action and policy documents to support the work of the centres with regard to the federal and regional governments
  • as a lobbyist of the German Innovation Centres, the BVIZ also represents the interests of the young enterprises in the centres with regard to its partners and the public
  • maintaining and expanding the national and international network of the Innovation Centres

Members ot the BVIZ

The majority of BVIZ members are German innovation, technology, business incubation and start-up centres, science and technology parks, and their respective operating organisations. They qualify to become ordinary members of the BVIZ.

In addition, the BVIZ has numerous other members who see their objectives or links in the area of entrepreneurship and supporting the work of the Innovation Centres. They qualify to become supporting members or associated members of the BVIZ.


Services for members

The German association of innovation centres:

  • persuasively presents the interests of its members in key places, both internally and externally, through its competence and experience and communicates these interests to a broad public;
  • serves as a point of contact for its members with regard to questions and problems connected with the operation of Innovation Centres and supporting of entrepreneurs and also recommends competent partners to consult;
  • identifies best practices for the successful operation of Innovation Centres and provides these to its members;
  • offers its members the possibility of exchanging experiences on specific topics in working groups organized according to subject and develops working guidance or policy documents;
  • passes on cooperation requests from national and international partners as well as project collaboration requests;
  • awards the quality seal “Recognised Innovation Centre” as part of an evaluation procedure for guaranteeing the quality of the work carried out by centres. Over 30 German centres have successfully undergone this evaluation.
  • provides its members with useful contacts through its national and international networks;
  • advises project teams that are planning to establish new Innovation Centres by drawing on its extensive experience;
  • contributes towards current legislation processes and the organisation of funding measures;
  • regularly records and publishes statistical data, and makes this available externally. Every two years the BVIZ publishes its updated ‘Blaue Buch’ (Blue Book) containing extensive information and statistical data.
  • offers its members, as well as the companies in the member centres, numerous services under special conditions through framework agreements with cooperation partners.