How events foster ecosystems and drive innovation

Our networking activities always focus on the digital hubs and their startups, which of course cannot be missed at the many events. Our aim here is to network, to learn about the latest trends and technologies, to present or discover exciting business ideas and to find potential partners or customers is the focus of our delegations.

We learned during Corona: Video conferencing cannot replace face-to-face meetings at events. And even though you can't force anyone to network, most people find it easiest in an informal event atmosphere. It's a place to exchange ideas about new innovations, gather inspiration, get motivated, and take business relationships to the next level.

A 2020 study by the Observer Research Foundation showed what startup experts have long been preaching. Events play an important role for innovators and startups. They help them gain visibility, attract customers, find investors and expand their network. The study also showed that events foster innovation among startups. They allow them to discover new trends and technologies, get feedback and learn from others.

They are a key driver for ecosystems as they provide a great opportunity to bring people together and build relationships, learn about new ideas and perspectives, and thus collectively identify synergies for potential innovation. Here, in particular, the chance encounters factor plays a major role. Many times we have seen that an elevator pitch at the booth has led to a 6-figure investment and a short talk to a new employee.

Choosing the right event

If you have a choice, you are spoiled for choice. How do you choose the right event formats when it comes to promoting innovation, building synergies, finding investors or employees? Here is a brief overview of the most important event formats:

Pitch events: The initiative's highlight event, Pitch Night, takes place once a year at one of our Digital Hubs. Here, the best startups from the Digital Hub Initiative compete in front of a top-class jury of investors as well as up to 500 expert guests from the digital scene. The Pitch Night is an excellent opportunity to be inspired by the most innovative business ideas, to present yourself and to make valuable contacts. Many other initiatives, accelerators and funding programs host pitch events of this kind. Depending on the industry focus and stage of development of the start-up, there are numerous opportunities to participate.

Trade shows: Everyone knows them, some love them, others less so. These major national and international events bring together various exhibitors, their products or services. New solutions are presented to an interested audience consisting of trade and private visitors. Traditionally, the aim is to win customers and generate sales. But modern trade shows offer much more than that. In addition to networking events, large trade shows offer side events and guided tours. Familiarizing yourself with the program and offerings in advance via the event app can help you get an overview so that you can make targeted contacts.

Networking events: These events, which are usually more informal, offer the opportunity to talk to new contacts in an informal way. Matchmaking formats can help build trust, identify synergies, and receive referrals. The Digital Hub Initiative hosts a number of networking events itself. In addition to the large networking event XXL, which takes place once a year, there is a listing of all events that take place in our ecosystem in our Event Finder.

Hackathons: These intensive events bring together teams from different disciplines who work on a concrete challenge within a short time window of e.g. 48 hours and present it at the end. Hackathons can help develop creative solutions, identify talent and initiate new collaborations.

Delegations as door openers

In addition to these open formats, in which you can participate as an individual or organization, there is also the option of attending events as a closed delegation. This is a tried-and-tested measure that the Digital Hub Initiative falls back on time and again. Whether nationally at Hannover Messe or Bits & Pretzels, or internationally at South by Southwest or Web Summit. Curated encounters provide a level of trust right from the start. Business relationships can be started or deepened, strengthened by the network.

 Events with the Digital Hub Initiative

The Digital Hub Initiative is more than just a sponsor, it is an active partner for events in the digital and startup scene. For more than five years now, we have been actively experiencing how chance encounters at events can change the lives of founders. We believe in the power of networks and see them as a major adjusting screw for technological progress.

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Guest article by Daniel Kriebel, Hub Agency




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