5ahead will research innovations in Twente for parent company ELA Container

ELA Container, a German family business, has opened an innovation branch in Enschede with the name 5ahead. This Twente-based corporate start-up will focus on (digital) innovations for modular rooms and buildings, which can be useful to the parent company. Oost NL supported the company with establishing and further embedding itself in the region, together with Novel-T and Kennispark Twente.


ELA container is a German company that specializes in modular rooms and buildings. The company has around 20 locations worldwide, and they have become one of the leading providers of high-quality, flexible, and modular space solutions in Germany. ELA Container operates in a wide range of industries, from manufacturing and construction to retail and hospitality.

New innovations

ELA Container wants to continuously initiate and implement new innovations with 5ahead in the field of internal processes, technical applications, and new business opportunities. Philip Kwiotek, director of 5ahead, will manage the Dutch branch: “Innovation is one of ELA’s core values; the company wants to stay ahead of the curve. 5ahead was founded to make that happen. The name refers to thinking and being 5 steps ahead.” 5ahead will focus on digital innovations. “An example: placing containers always requires an inspection, which costs a lot of time and money. It might be possible to carry out those inspections by using satellite data or drones. Or developing an app to optimize the return process of our modules. We are going to look into those kinds of issues and bottlenecks”, explains Kwiotek.

Close to the university

Oost NL supported the company in establishing itself in the region. The choice fell on The Gallery, on the campus of the University of Twente. “Being close to the university is of great importance for us. We are always looking for new, refreshing ideas and we expect to find them here in Twente. Oost NL and Novel-T have been able to help us with the first steps by creating valuable contacts and connections.”

Bart van ’t Ende, Tech project manager at Oost NL, is delighted that the company is located in Twente: “High-quality R&D jobs are an asset to the region. It creates prospects for alumni of the UT and contributes to the innovative character of the region. 5ahead is also looking to work together with other companies in the region, which makes them a valuable addition to the ecosystem of digitization.”