About Us

InnoZent OWL e.V. is a technology network for sustainable corporate development through re-search, co-operation and innovation

Continuity & reliability
The registered association “InnovationsZentrum für Internettechnologie und Multimediakompetenz InnoZent OWL e.V.“ (Innovation Centre for Internet Technology and Multimedia Competence InnoZent OWL) was founded more than 20 years ago (1998) by users of IT technologies as a neutral body between development and application.

Trust & credibility
Approx. 70 companies, universities, research establishments and business-related organisations are involved in our network. What unites us is the search for and application of new technologies for innovative products and services in a cooperative environment.

Value retention & openness
Science & research, companies, multipliers, the political field and society are brought together by us as a neutral player in order to sound out and initiate new developments and competencies. While doing so, we are always at the cutting edge for new developments.

Tested quality & neutrality
As a member of go-cluster (cluster policy excellence measure of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy) we are one of the 90 most powerful innovation clusters in Germany. As an association, we are committed to the purpose in our statutes and do not have any financial sales or personal interests.


1. Promoting innovations / CIM cooperation projects & networks

Innovations sustainably foster corporate development. Within the context of our funding advice, we discuss your ideas and approaches to solutions with you and provide you with support for the selection of suitable funding opportunities.  

We assist companies in particular with the application within the scope of the Zentrales Innovationsprogramms Mittelstand (ZIM) (Central SME Innovation Programme).

This is a funding programme of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy that aims to foster the innovative capacity of SMEs (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises). It launches several thousand new projects every year all around Germany, making it the country’s largest innovation programme for SMEs.

ZIM funds innovative companies with business operations in Germany which want to develop new or significantly improve existing products, processes or technical services. Public and private non-profit research and technology organisations (RTOs) acting as a cooperation partner of an SME are also eligible for ZIM funding. The programme is open to all sectors and fields of technology. Funded projects must be highly innovative, market-oriented and entail a substantial technological risk.
Since ZIM strictly focuses on the needs of SMEs, it offers easy application and quick decision-making processes. Another feature which accommodates the needs of SMEs is that ZIM offers a range of possibilities to structure innovative activities in various project forms. They also include various possibilities for transnational cooperation.

Since 2006, more than 530 individual ZIM applications and 220 (mainly) ZIM cooperation projects between companies and research establishments have been supported by us in Germany and successfully approved.

Moreover, we initiate and support international ZIM co-operations.  
As a service for German applicants, several bilateral agreements with other countries facilitate synchronised funding with foreign national programmes, while ZIM finances only the German partners. Currently, bilateral agreements are in effect with Argentina, Canada, Catalonia (Spain), Finland, France, Israel, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Not all calls are open to all countries, and it may be the case that further countries/regions have been added since this page was last updated. A current list can be found on the German page linked below. Calls for proposals for transnational cooperative research projects are published for SMEs and RTOs with the objective of developing innovative products, processes, or technical services. Additional bilateral agreements with other countries are planned.
Further information on bilateral agreements and open calls


2. InnoZent OWL as a project partner

As an applicant or project partner, we initiate or participate in national or EU-funded projects. Here we drive new topics and developments ahead together with our partners, from the results of which our region and our network benefit.

In this case, we particularly address companies and inform them as to how current trends affect their companies and how they can apply the results from research and development in a practical way.

Offers are, for example,

  • Performance of pilot projects in companies
  • Carrying out of interdisciplinary assessments and development of business ideas
  • Participation in experience exchange groups
  • Participation in consulting hours and quick checks
  • Participation in specialist workshops, professional events, and expert forums

Since 2011, we have organised and moderated the Electronics Forum OWL. Since autumn 2019, we have been carrying out projects on the subjects of “Circular Economy”, “Digitising the Customer Interface“ and ”IT Security for SMEs“.

3. Finding co-operation partners – InnoZent OWL as a matchmaker

Co-operations are indispensable for innovations and projects. As a neutral player, we bring companies, science, the political field and society together and create a space for creative approaches and brave solutions for the challenges of the markets and of society.

Our network as well as our excellent regional and supra-regional contacts make it possible to find like-minded research and corporate partners.

In addition, we are well networked with associations, networks and chambers as well as with the project and start-up landscape in the East Westphalia/Lippe region (Ostwestfalen-Lippe (OWL)).

4. Developing junior employees

Attracting and retaining skilled staff is a key issue for innovative companies not only in times of a shortage. We make our contribution within the framework of the career guidance project SchuBS – School and Business on Saturday that promotes the university and vocational training entrance qualification for school pupils in the areas of technology and IT. In 12 courses and 12 years, more than 740 pupils were supported on their way to obtaining qualifications for university and vocational training.

With our work, we would like to contribute to the 17 goals of the United Nations for sustainable development.


Michael Kemkes


Telefon: +49 5251 2055 - 911
Mobil: +49 172 930 2731