The area around the Garzweiler open pit mine is to become an innovation platform by 2026 in view of the imminent end of active open pit lignite mining: the “Innovation Valley Garzweiler”. The newly created areas can be used as large demonstration areas for innovations and future-oriented business.
As part of the inter-municipal structural change project Innovation Valley Garzweiler, WFMG is pursuing this goal together with Wirtschaftsförderung Rhein-Kreis Neuss, Wirtschaftsförderung Kreis Heinsberg and ZENIT GmbH as the innovation agency for small and medium-sized enterprises and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The project is led by the special-purpose association LANDFOLGE Garzweiler.
Innovation Rallye in Innovation Valley
By means of this project, WFMG would like to promote innovation projects by companies and thus advance the establishment of a regional innovation network in close cooperation with local companies, universities and research institutions. To this end, we will familiarize small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in particular with agile tools and methods, such as design thinking or rapid prototyping, in the form of an Innovation Rallye. In addition, we will provide information on suitable funding and offer advice on potential funding projects. Another goal is to initiate cooperation between SMEs beyond the city limits, which should lead to synergy effects and the development of innovation structures. New innovative fields of competence are to be identified in the region and developed into knowledge and innovation hubs.
Innovation Valley Garzweiler is being funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection as part of the so-called STARK program for “Strengthening the Transformation Dynamics and Awakening in the Coalfields and at Coal-fired Power Plant Sites”. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia is also involved in funding the project as a valuable contribution to managing structural change in the northern coalfield.