OWL to become a model region for sustainable business

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State of NRW and EU fund Green.OWL project with around 1 million euros

Circular economy, resource efficiency, climate protection: the sustainability transformation of the economy is an important foundation for the future of the Ostwestfalen-Lippe region - and at the same time a major challenge for local companies. With the "Green.OWL" project, OstWestfalenLippe GmbH, together with the Fraunhofer IEM, the University of Paderborn and 40 other associated partners, aims to implement an innovation offensive for a sustainable economic region. To this end, the partners want to develop a regional masterplan and specific support programmes for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The three-year project is being funded with around 1 million euros as part of the Regio.NRW - Transformation call for projects from state funds and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Mona Neubaur, Minister for Economic Affairs, Industry, Climate Protection and Energy of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, presented the funding decisions to the three project partners on Tuesday. "Business, research and local authorities go hand in hand in East Westphalia-Lippe with innovative and inspiring networks. I am delighted to support further exciting projects from the 'Regio.NRW - Transformation' call for projects, which underpin the strength and innovative power of OWL and contribute to the future viability of the region and the state. With a focus on sustainability, climate neutrality and the circular environmental economy, the project teams are setting absolutely the right priorities for the future-oriented transformation of the region."

Björn Böker, Managing Director of OstWestfalenLippe GmbH, explains the motivations and objectives: "There are already many good ideas and projects for intelligent energy supply, the circular economy and climate protection in Ostwestfalen-Lippe. Now it is important to show that sustainability is not just a buzzword for the economy, but offers real added value. With this project, we can make new technologies and experience from research available to our economy. And, for the first time, launch a bold, pan-regional sustainability concept for our region."

Masterplan for the region and customised offers for SMEs

The Green.OWL masterplan will define goals, indicators, measures and projects that will be supported and implemented by business, science and politics in OWL. "To this end, we will process the latest findings from sustainability research and develop specific measures and indicators in the areas of energy supply, circular economy, mobility and buildings," explains Prof Dr René Fahr, Vice President for Knowledge and Technology Transfer at Paderborn University.

In addition, customised support services are to be launched that are tailored to the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises. "We work closely with companies to develop solutions that enable them to recognise potential, take the first steps, find partners and develop an overall concept for their business," explains Dr Arno Kühn, Head of Department at the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechatronic Design Technology IEM. This includes, for example, a company model, quick checks, a solution kit and implementation workshops. In addition, sustainability managers are to be trained in small and medium-sized enterprises and business-related organisations.

An important building block for securing the future of OWL - and Germany as an industrial location

The project is widely supported in the region. Participants include companies, universities and innovation networks, the chambers of industry and commerce and the chamber of crafts, sustainability initiatives and business development organisations in the districts and cities. Wolfgang Marquardt, authorised representative of OstWestfalenLippe GmbH, emphasises the importance of the project: "Green.OWL is a central component of OstWestfalenLippe GmbH's new location strategy. I am convinced that we are setting new standards for a sustainable industrial region with our regional masterplan and making an important contribution to the competitiveness of industry in Germany."

This text has been translated automatically. 

Group photo
Photo (MWIKE NRW): (from left) Sarah Pinno (Paderborn University), Friederike Dohmann (Fraunhofer IEM), Mona Neubaur (NRW Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection) and Wolfgang Marquardt (OstWestfalenLippe GmbH) are delighted about the project launch.