As a location for technology and innovation, Dresden and its surrounding area should become even more attractive for start-ups. In order to elicit the opportunities and challenges of start-ups, Saxony's Minister President Michael Kretschmer this week invited guests to a discussion round at the Saxon State Chancellery.
In addition to Wandelbots, Cloud & Heat Technologies, Packwise and anvajo, Kiwigrid also accepted the invitation. In an open round table, it was discussed, among other things, how the existing potential of Saxony as a business and start-up location can be made visible and how the conditions for founders can be optimized at the state level. The goal: to bring the best ideas and the best minds forward.
"As a company with twelve years of experience and over 140 employees, we are no longer a start-up, but we know the pain points that accompany founders in everyday life. We were happy to have the opportunity to provide input here." - Dr. Frank Schlichting, CEO Kiwigrid
In the roundtable discussion, the following key topics emerged that are currently explosive for company founders:
Attracting and integrating skilled workers
The labor market is scarce and young companies need well-trained national and international specialists. Here, on the one hand, the expansion of training capacities in schools and universities is crucial. On the other hand, location marketing plays an important role in attracting skilled workers (see next point). But the integration of foreign employees is also essential. Here, there is a need to catch up throughout the system - for example, with regard to a lack of English language skills (for example, among the police, who are responsible for protection).
In the perception of other German states, Saxony is often still seen as a location disadvantage. This is largely due to right-wing political groups that have attracted media attention in recent years. Yet Saxony offers many important locational advantages, such as sufficient crèche and daycare places, affordable rents or innovation and science centers. Saxony's founders actively advertise the advantages of their state. However, the goal must be to position Saxony as an optimal business location beyond the region. Minister President Michael Kretschmer has called for all invited parties to contribute their ideas in order to put Saxony in a more positive media light here.
Creating an ecosystem
To significantly increase the clout in implementation, it is necessary to create and expand an ecosystem of several companies that support and benefit from each other in the sense of a "marketplace".
Currently, there is still a lack of instruments to support risky investments. In addition, there is a jungle of different funding pots. Applying for funding is complicated and lengthy. Decisions are often delayed and there is a lack of appropriate know-how at public funding agencies. Pitch competitions with higher prize amounts would be a format tried and tested from the U.S. to fire up start-ups in the region.
Strengthening positive perceptions of start-ups and entrepreneurship
The perception of entrepreneurship is often still negatively associated. A foundation should be laid here at school in order to show young people opportunities and give them the chance to approach the subject without prejudice.
"We appreciate the Saxony state government's initiative to engage in an open format with emerging companies from the region, identify their pain points, and identify improvements and impetus for the promotion of young companies in the Saxony region. A number of specific points were picked up from the discussion and taken away by the prime ministers. What matters now is how stringently these points are pursued and implemented." - Dr. Frank Schlichting, CEO Kiwigrid