German Minister for Economics and Technology Philipp Rösler is going all out to publicly support the local startup industry this election year. At last night’s UDL Digital Talk, Rösler debated with Philipp Hermann, CEO of etventure Seed Investments, how to make startups the new “economic wonder” of Germany.
Politics and startups – plans for a trade fair and an English-speaking Bürgeramt?
Rösler had a few strong points on how he will make politics more startup-friendly and less out-of-touch with the industry. He wants to set up points of contact for startups within government to address different issues affecting the sector. He’s also planning a trade fair to connect investors with startups, and wants to make universities more supportive of entrepreneurial endeavours through conferences and guest speakers to inspire students.
A common complaint heard in the Berlin startup scene – that programmers are almost impossible to find – was also addressed by the Minister. Rösler wants to make Germany a more welcoming place for foreigners looking for work, particularly Eastern European technical talent. To support these internationals, Hermann suggested setting up an English-speaking bureau for all the complex official documents and processes – to a resounding round of applause from the audience.
While acknowledging the steps Röslers is planning on taking to further the startup industry, Hermann believes the biggest problem Germany is facing is a lack of investments: “In the USA roughly 20-30 billion venture capital is invested, in Germany it’s about 700 million. Here, we have 5000 business angels, in the US it’s 200,000.”
Lately, Rösler has been busy doing media round after media round to emphasise his support of the German startup industry – a move likely motivated by the fact that it is an election year. His plan for boosting international recognition for the German startup scene included a visit to Silicon Valley a couple of weeks ago. He wants to remind VCs across the Atlantic, with their much larger spending budgets, that German startups are solid investment options.
Whether these goals will be put into practice post-September election remains to be seen. For now, it’s a good show of support for the startup industry and will help draw more attention to the scene from the rest of Germany.
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