Institute of Economic and Cultural Geography Research Research projects
Real-time evaluation of start-up and acquisition initiatives “Plug & Work” and “Zukunftsfabrik Produktionstechnik“ for the hannoverimpuls GmbH

Real-time evaluation of start-up and acquisition initiatives “Plug & Work” and “Zukunftsfabrik Produktionstechnik“ for the hannoverimpuls GmbH

Led by:  Prof. Dr. Ludwig Schätzl
Team:  Dr. Matthias Kiese
Year:  2007
Funding:  hannoverimpuls GmbH
Duration:  2005 - 2007
Is Finished:  yes

Based on a concept to strengthen the economic capabilities of the Hannover region developed by management consultants McKinsey & Co. in 2002, the region’s new economic development agency hannoverimpuls GmbH promotes cluster-based economic development since its establishment in April 2003. In doing so, it focuses on the five ‘focus industries’ automotive, information and communication technologies (ICT), life science, optical technologies, and production engineering. For ICT, the agency carried out combined start-up and acquisition competitions „Plug & Work“ with the intention to propel the development of the EXPO Park location – part of the former world exhibition fairground – into a hotspot for ICT and media businesses. Following its initial success, the concept of this competition was applied to two other focus industries, i.e. production engineering (“Zukunftsfabrik Produktionstechnik” = future factory for production engineering) and optical technologies (“Lighthouse”). In 2006, the competition was extended to include all five focus industries using Plug & Work as a unitary label.


Building on the agency’s internal project controlling and a  regional industry report  by NORD/LB Regionalwirtschaft and NIW , our real-time evaluation of the start-up and acquisition initiatives Plug & Work and Zukunftsfabrik Produktionstechnik focuses on:

  • Impacts on the regional economy, especially their contribution to the development of knowledge-based industry clusters in ICT and production engineering;
  • Contribution to the development of the locations EXPO-Park und the local university’s Department of Mechanical Engineering (PZH); into leading hubs for ICT and media, and production engineering businesses, respectively;
  • Transferability of experiences or applicability of competitions for start-ups and acquisitions from ICT and manufacturing technologies to the other three focus industries and their respective locations.

As part of this real-time evaluation, postal surveys and face-to-face interviews are being conducted with winners of the competitions currently enjoying their promotion (stocktaking analysis), and winners of past competitions whose promotional package already expired (ex-post analysis). Furthermore, key actors and competent observers are also interviewed as part of an analysis of the relevant economic and institutional environment. The findings of this project are communicated to hannoverimpuls through ongoing presentations and a final written report, and they should lead to a scientific publication upon completion once the project is completed.