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https://www.dresden.de/en/business/tomorrow-s-home/startup.php 01.03.2021 13:01:03 Uhr 06.03.2021 11:16:36 Uhr
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Support for new businesses: Getting started in Dresden

Dresden provides ideal conditions for high-tech start-ups. It is a place where funding measures, research institutes and business are closely intertwined – and university spin-offs are many and varied.

Research and development play a major role in Dresden, enhancing the Saxon state capital’s appeal well beyond its borders. Indeed, the European Commission’s Regional Innovation Scoreboard for 2019 labelled the city a ‘strong innovator’. And is it any wonder, with establishments such as the Technische Universität Dresden (TU Dresden), the HTW Dresden (Dresden University of Applied Sciences), the Fraunhofer and Max Planck Societies, the Helmholtz Centre and the Leibnitz Association all driving scientific progress and a spirit of inventiveness. This creates the perfect environment for spin-offs wanting to market their innovations worldwide.

But it’s not just the strong research landscape that offers start-ups setting up in Dresden the best conditions for innovations. Other structures can also help them get off to a successful start, especially in the high-tech industry. Take financing, for example: The idea for a high-tech innovation has been honed, and a suitable business model has been formulated. All that’s required now is the capital. Start-ups facing this challenge have access to all kinds of support schemes and points of contact in Dresden.

Dresden’s innovation support for urban concepts

The Saxon state capital itself supports new products and services launched by regional businesses, research establishments and other institutions through mechanisms such as its innovation support service (Innovationsförderung Dresden), which focuses on concepts designed to significantly help develop the city, such as applications from fields including Industry 4.0, Smart City or modern energy systems. The city’s business service assists start-ups in finding suitable premises, e.g. in one of the Dresden business incubators.

Impressions from the Hightech Venture Days

The HighTech Startbahn Netzwerk is a good port of call for establishing contact with financiers. Once a year, the largest association for start-ups and new businesses in the high-technology industry organises the Hightech Venture Days event, which brings together 40 selected European start-ups with some 160 international investors. The aim of the event is to put fledgling high-tech businesses in touch with investors, mentors, partners and the industry.

Michael Kaiser at the Ride to career

Networks as a driver of success

Silicon Saxony provides another platform for exchanging with potential investors, research establishments and other companies. With some 350 members, the association is Europe’s largest network for the semi-conductor and microsystem industry, and strengthens co-operation between its members through regular networking events. The ‘Smart Systems Hub Dresden – Enabling IoT’ is particularly aimed at start-ups from the artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) fields. The project is part of the Germany-wide Digital Hub Initiative initiated by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), and acts as an intermediary between policymakers, business – especially start-ups – and research establishments.

FutureSAX, the innovation platform run by the Saxon state government, is also focused on networking. It encourages exchange between start-ups, business owners, scientists and investors, including at events such as the FutureSAX Innovation Conference. The initiative also helps start-ups further develop their business model, boost their profile on the market, and get in touch with potential investors. One example of this is the Saxon Investor Roadshow, where Saxon start-ups present their investment cases to investors from all over Germany through pitches and one-on-one meetings.

Prompt securing of follow-up financing

The High-Tech-Gründerfonds – financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) and private companies – is another funding option for start-ups lacking the necessary seed capital. The fund invests risk capital in high-tech start-ups, thereby helping them fill financing holes in this early stage of business. It also provides experts and investor contacts from the network to facilitate follow-up financing.

Future Mobility Incubator

Volkswagen’s incubator programme offers great support for high-tech start-ups in the mobility industry, with the Future Mobility Incubator run by the Transparent Factory (one of the car company’s three production facilities in Saxony) acting as a driving force behind promising business ideas in the area of mobility services. The young entrepreneurs come from all over Europe, and City of Dresden is a project partner.

The Volkswagen incubator is in fact just one of many incubators supporting start-ups in Dresden, with others existing in fields such as life sciences and robotics. There are also a number of start-up centres such as the Universelle Werke Dresden, which provide suitable premises for young entrepreneurs. All in a bid to create an attractive hub with its sights set on the future.

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