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Going Global – Support schemes for Start-ups in German-speaking Europe

Germany

Since 2012, the German Accelerator empowers German start-ups to expand into the world’s leading innovation hubs such as Silicon Valley, New York City or Singapore. Two Academy modules provide start-ups with a head start on their journey to internationalization. The Market Access Program offers high potential start-ups and Scale-ups a customized program with curated content modules and individualized one-on-one mentoring targeting the US, South-East Asia and Japan. The Life Sciences program is a unique offer to start-ups working on diagnostics, digital health, medical devices, therapeutics and platform technologies. Start-ups can also benefit from the Market Development Program, which offers around 150 industry-specific market access modules across all continents. In 2021, the program generated 10,000 B2B meetings with a revenue potential of 107m Euros. In close collaboration with the German-Finnish Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AHK Finnland), German start-ups can explore the Finnish market in combination with attending Slush. Other modules focused on the Indian high-tech sector or exploring the US market.

We, as Digital Hub Initiative, are a national network of 12 Digital Hubs and ecosystems and bring Germany’s most promising start-ups to the world’s leading tech trade fairs and conferences. Participants join the official start-up delegation from Germany, exhibit at the booth, access investor matchmakings or pitch and participate in curated side events with VCs, start-ups and leading representatives from industry and politics. In 2022, we are planning to bring German start-ups to Viva Technology in Paris (June 15-18), TechBBQ in Copenhagen (September 14-15), GITEX/Northstar in Dubai (October 10-13), Web Summit in Lisbon (November 1-4) and Slush in Helsinki (November 16-17).

Switzerland

Innosuisse, the Swiss Innovation Agency, offers start-ups three types of internationalization camps with the aim to connect them with the world’s leading innovation hubs and to establish a foothold in new markets abroad. The Market Validation Camp takes place in the US, Brazil, China, India and the United Kingdom (UK). Start-ups can test the international waters, validate their business idea and investigate the potential success of their products or services. The Market Entry Camp supports start-ups in their search for new clients, partners, investors and even qualified employees. Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE), the official Swiss organization for export and investment promotion, offers start-ups individual advisory services as part of their Export Sparring Program. Start-ups have access to a 2-hour individual exploration meeting, expert workshops and tailor-made internationalization workshops on business model adaptation and market entry planning. Through its network of 30 locations worldwide, S-GE helps identify and contact potential customers or partners abroad. The so-called Swiss Business Hubs also have local market knowledge that is available to start-ups. The digital GoGlobal Cockpit shows more than 20,000 market opportunities for Swiss companies. The Innosuisse Trade Fair Program, implemented together with S-GE, brings start-ups to leading international trade fairs as visitors or exhibitors. Financial support, Logistics support, individualized fair consulting and targeted matchmaking as well as go-to-market deep-dive or business partner search are part of the offer. Philip Morger, Senior Consultant Internationalization Starters at Switzerland Global Enterprise: “Every year, we support over 6,000 Swiss SMEs and start-ups in their internationalization. In doing so, we try to give Swiss companies direct access to international market potential and help them overcome existing entry barriers.”

Austria

Launched in 2022 by AUSSENWIRTSCHAFT AUSTRIA, Born Global Academy supports Scale-ups on their way into foreign markets. Cornerstone is Scaleup Globally, an 8-week intensive course program with workshops and coaching sessions for ten selected teams. After the program, start-ups can benefit from other offers from other initiatives of more than 100 offices worldwide such as Go USA, GIN (Global Incubator Network) Programme in Asia, Pitching Days in London, Zürich or Tel Aviv and further Landing Zones in the UAE, South Africa or Germany. Other modules include fireside chats with experienced founders, an international bootcamp to learn about internationalization basics and an investor demo day for graduates of Scaleup Globally. Renate Schnutt, Head of Scaleups at AUSSENWIRTSCHAFT AUSTRIA: “Leaving the German-speaking region is a decisive step in the expansion process. With our initiatives within our global network, we are helping a new generation of innovative companies to achieve success in the foreign market and become proud bearers of the "made in Austria" quality label. Or in the words of my friends at Austrian Startups: Leading the way to a future in which entrepreneurship in Austria is as normal as skiing.”

Towards a unified start-up ecosystem in German-speaking Europe

Germany, Switzerland and Austria are at the heart of Europe sharing not only the same language but also business culture. Start-ups from Germany are likely to expand into Switzerland and Austria as their first international market and open offices in Vienna or Zurich. In turn, Germany is a natural first foreign market for Swiss and Austrian start-ups, where our 12 Digital Hubs are attractive landing pads with access to potential business partners, talent and investors. Therefore, start-up support schemes play a vital role in fostering the strength of the German-speaking region and building a more unified start-up ecosystem.

 

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