EIT Health Bridgehead – Take your business abroad
BIO Clustermanagement NRW GmbH (BIO CM) was a catalyst in the EIT Health Bridgehead program from 2020 to 2023, offering its services to start-ups and small businesses in the fields of biotechnology and life sciences.
Bridgehead matches highly qualified healthcare entrepreneurs with suitable catalysts that facilitate their internationalization into new European markets (Bridgehead Europe/ Inbound) and non-European markets (Bridgehead Global). The catalysts are clusters, networks or incubators that are experts in the target country and support start-ups with their local knowledge and contacts.
Through its network and experience, BIO CM qualified as a catalyst for Germany and China by sharing its expertise with start-ups and SMEs. BIO CM provided regulatory, financial and cultural support, such as partner and region identification, trade fairs and conferences, business agreement support, stakeholder management and customized workshops, e.g. on local reimbursement and regulatory systems.
BIO CM is not only located in Germany’s largest federal state and is in close contact with science and industry, but also had Chinese-speaking employees in Germany and China, which ideally connected Europe and the Far East. This enabled BIO CM to effectively promote the market entry in Germany and China.
ChInValue – Internationalization of leading-edge clusters
In 2017 BIO Clustermanagement NRW GmbH (BIO CM) in concert with BIO.NRW The Home of Biotech has been granted the prestigious BMBF (National Ministry of Education and Research) funded project „Internationalization of leading-edge clusters, future projects, and comparable networks” with China as a partner country. The goal was the establishment of the NRW-China Life Science Business Forum as a permanent and sustainable structure under the organizational sponsorship of BIO.NRW and the development of cooperation and innovation structures in the life science sector in NRW and the partner provinces (Jiangsu and Sichuan in the beginning) into sustainable and innovative value chains.
Through several delegation trips BIO CM and BIO.NRW strategically expanded network contacts between NRW and the Yangtze delta area* where a number of large and economically strong cities like Shanghai, Nanjing, Suzhou, Hangzhou, and others are located. The first Chinese network partner within this project was China Medical City (CMC) in Taizhou, Jiangsu (Yangtzekiang delta region) followed by further closed alliances with over 10 Chinese partner organizations, including signing of two “Memorandum of Understanding”.
Subsequent mutual delegation visits led to an efficient support of business development activities between NRW and Chinese life science enterprises and successful initiation of new industry collaborations. Based on the long history of partnership between NRW and Chinese provinces reaching back more than three decades, BIO CM and BIO.NRW are pursuing a long-term internationalization strategy to establish a bridge between NRW and China.
Within the project, BIO CM organized several workshops covering topics like “Intellectual Property”, “Market Entry Strategies” or “Cultural Properties” to prepare the NRW community and company representatives interested in a market entry in China.
The project was funded until 2020 and is now perpetuated. BIO CM has successfully been building up a comprehensive expertise as a dedicated professional agency supporting the business development of both, NRW and Chinese companies. Through its Chinese native employees, BIO CM can directly access Chinese networks and sources of information. BIO CM continuous to organize and offer business workshops and delegation trips including exhibition booth packages at key events in China. Furthermore, BIO CM offers the identification of potential partners and the conduction of business studies including market entry studies according to the specific interests and requirements for companies interested to enter either the Chinese or German market.
*The Yangtze delta region with about 150 million inhabitants accounts for roughly 10 % of China’s population but more than 20 % of the nation’s GDP.
GLARS – Goal-Based Learning in an Alternate Reality Setting
Digital media offer enormous potential in education and training. The Rheinische Fachhochschule Köln (RFH) developed a didactic and technologically pioneering training concept together with BIO Clustermanagement NRW GmbH (BIO CM) and other partners.
The project lied with the RFH, Prof. Dr. Stefan Ludwigs, and was funded from 2017 to 2019 by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the European Social Fund as part of the funding measure “Digital Media in Vocational Education and Training”.
GLARS – Goal-Based Learning in Alternate Reality Setting – is a multimedia learning project for students of the field of training for biological-technical assistants (BTA) at the Rheinische Akademie Köln gGmbH (RAK). In a playful scenario that brings together school, corporate world and home, they access and produce some of the digital learning media themselves.
The main goal of the project partners was to connect the training center even more closely with the working world and to impart application-oriented knowledge. This was done by directly integrating the learning processes into the various real professional contexts. In comparison to traditional learning methods, the project could contribute to an increased motivation to learn.
During the project, BIO CM connected the project partners to various Biotech companies that were interested to support GLARS. The industry experts not only had the opportunity to find future skilled workers but, in addition to digital media, also served as coaches and advisors for the students in order to solve tasks from real customers in the laboratory. Furthermore, the participating companies offered field trips to their facilities and gave presentations on their specific topics. Thus, the exchange between science and industry in the field of life sciences was promoted and the interest in biotech locations was aroused.