Ecosystem Pulse with Benjamin Stuchly
Ecosystem Pulse is a periodical section, in which we invite key stakeholders from the Frankfurt Rhein-Main Startup ecosystem to give their highlights, analysis, inputs, comments, predictions, and share their expertise on relevant industry topics.
On our third publication, we gathered with the Regionalmanagement Mittelhessen team, guided by Benjamin Stuchly, to deep-dive on their platform, key activities milestones and future actions. Find it all below.
Benjamin, can you guide us a bit, on what´s the role of Regionalmanagement Mittelhessen for our startup ecosystem?
Since 2019 I have been leading the EU funded project Digitalization, Foundation, Innovation in Central Hesse. Our project goals: Promote the young entrepreneurs in our region and sensitize the old economy to innovations in business model development. As a network organization, we build bridges between cooperates and young talents.
When was the task force built and the biggest milestones achieved?
We had a close partnership of the Startup Weekend Mittelhessen since it’s beginning in 2016. We completely adopted the format in 2019. The first alignment was a great experience with over 120 participants. In addition to the Startup Weekend, we have also been hosting the Central Hesse Innovation Forum since 2020. An annual full day event in which we target C-Level representatives of medium-sized companies and give impulses for digital transformation in workshops and keynotes. This year’s stream was followed by more than 300 active viewers. Most of them from our Hessian medium-sized businesses. A confirmation that there is awareness of the New Economy approaches.
Regarding upcoming events, Startup Weekend is just around the corner. What are your expectations?
It’s Startup Weekend Mittelhessens sixth birthday. We would have loved to celebrate it offline, but that is not yet possible. We are offering the largest line-up in the formats history this year. With Magdalena (Framen.io), we were able to invite a keynote that knows our ecosystem better than any other. She was part of the SWMH organizer team from 2016 til 2018 and is now returning as an internationally successful founder. In addition, this year’s pitch training will be held in cooperation with the Maschmeyer Group. I’ve already got to know Lars and for sure it’s worth taking part for just his lesson. The fact that we were able to get Bärbel Schäfer (hessischer rundfunk) as part of our jury is a good example of the reputation that we have built up with our brand.
We really offer something for everyone this year. We offer the perfect prerequisites to let young ideas grow and enable cooperates that not had yet any contact with startup mentality to dive in the scene.
This event is a flagship in the region, and you have great success stories. Do you want to share some?
Talking about success stories, we obviously have to talk about GraphCMS (https://graphcms.com/), which were participants in our first edition in 2016. Michael and his team have covered an unprecedented path, collected several million in their seed rounds and have always remained loyal to the region. But Startup Weekend Mittelhessen is not just high-tech. We are as diverse as our participants. From medical knee brace (https://dynamic-innovation.de/) to creative cat furniture (https://kittypits.de/), to digital personnel development (https://perxoom.com/), we have already experienced a lot.
What are some trends and foreseen trends for upcoming months and years, if one can predict something after the pandemic?
Our startup ecosystem is well positioned to deal with the changes brought by the pandemic. Hybrid working models and agile working methods were already state of the art. The problem was probably primarily financial circumstances. Talking about Cooperates, it is exactly the opposite. The advantages of the two worlds are obvious. I believe the pandemic offers a chance for the two worlds to come closer together. Cooperates will open themselves to innovation and diversification of business models and support our start-up landscape with their know-how.
Any advice or tips for Founders regarding ways to maximize their performance in our region? Why should they stick or move to Mittlehessen?
We have the highest student density in Germany. Therefore, the largest pool of young talents. Numerous hidden champions and world market leaders in the healthcare and optics sector. An excellent infrastructure due to our location in the middle of Germany and, in addition to our urban hotspots, also offer start-ups in the manufacturing industry attractive space for production facilities at realistic prices.