GINSEP’s annual flagship event, the Indo-German Startup Week took place from 7th to 11th Dec 2020 digitally, bringing together Indian and German startup ecosystem actors to support young entrepreneurs looking to expand into the respective other markets. There were several workshops, panel discussions with subject matter experts, a pitch marathon for 38 startups, an exciting F*CK UP NIGHT and a virtual networking expo organized as part of the online event.

The event kicked off in the afternoon of 7th Dec with a warm welcome by Julian Zix, Project lead GINSEP, German Startups Association. The first day began with an experience sharing session by Mr. Saravjeet Singh Chahal, Startup India on their collaboration with different cross-border ecosystems and opportunities for German startups in India. After this, Mr. Justin Paul, SAP LABS-Startup Studio and Industry Initiative narrated how SAP India with its innovative solutions supports early and growth-stage startups to scale-up their businesses.

Day 1 continued with experience sharing by Corporates like Siemens Healthineers, Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions and Mercedes Benz Research and Development India. The sessions, addressing selected startups, were insightful for all participants to understand and learn about objectives and engagement models of big companies with startups. The day ended with a 90-minute workshop that was conducted by the four partner corporates in their respective technical fields for the selected startups.

The next day, 8th Dec started with a session on the state of Indo-German start-up ecosystem by Mr. Pedro Ferriera from Mainstage Incubator. He talked about India’s vibrant startup ecosystem and its strong growth in the past years. He also outlined trends and opportunities in Europe for Indian Entrepreneurs as well as factors to be considered while settling down and expanding the business to Germany. This was followed by a detailed presentation on the digital landscape and opportunities for Indian startups in the German market by Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI). Experts from GTAI explained about the country’s digitization initiatives as well as trends and opportunities in the areas of Industry 4.0, IoT and assistance and incentives offered by the government to startups.

During Day 3, four startups presented their personal fails while growing their startup during the first Indo-German F*CK UP NIGHT. After a casual welcome by Dan Ram the four start-ups Educaro GmbH, Givestatic, Ankercloud GmbH and Share outlined mistakes during their entrepreneurial journey and answered questions following the session.

The schedule on 10th Dec was action packed and interactive. During the PITCH MARATHON more than 38 startups pitched their business models in four different sessions targeting the sectors Advanced Analytics, Digital Health, Intelligent IoT and Mobility to the four corporate partners of the event. Each startup was allocated a time limit of 5 mins to introduce their product / service followed by a Q&A round for 3 mins with the esteemed jury members.

The Final Day on 11th Dec was the grand conclusion of the first Indo-German Startup Week with several presentations and panel discussions showcasing eminent speakers from different domains. There were three keynote speeches given by Ms. Sindhu Gangadharan, SVP and MD of SAP Labs India; Mr. Thomas Jarzombek, Commissioner for the Digital Industry and Startups, Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy; and Mr. Deepak Bagla, Managing Director and CEO Invest India. Additionally, the winner of each track from the Pitch Marathon were announced. The corporates will continue working with the winners  in their individual programs.

This was followed by parallel panel discussions on different exciting topics including sessions on the “Role of Corporates in Engaging with Startups to Drive Innovation”, “Exploring Soft Landing Possibilities for Indo-German Startups”, “Scaling Startups to Create a Global Innovation Supply Chain”, “Women Leaders and Entrepreneurs: Forging Ahead, Breaking the Mould” and an Investor Panel on “Shift from Profitability to Survival: Impressions of Indo-German Investors Amidst the Pandemic”. There was also a networking Expo where startups could showcase their products and services to the visitors.

More than 30 partners contributed to the success of the event and more than 450 people followed the sessions throughout the week. The Indo-German Startup Week concluded successfully with numerous networking opportunities, quality connections and valuable information from industry experts on a wide range of topics which was highly useful for the participants. Corporate and startup partnerships are critical for the success of startups. The Startup Week was a unique initiative, to foster cross-border collaboration between startups, companies and other stakeholders.