Startup-Weekend Mittelhessen 2021 Highlights
At this year’s Startup Weekend in Central Hesse, which happened exactly one week ago, last weekend, the skin care concept “Wild Leaves” took the first place. Second place went to “Leaf to Product”, a project that relies on raw materials from nature: The basic concept is a novel process for processing plant fibers from agricultural waste products as a plastic alternative for industry. The third winner, “Scanio”, is an app idea that is intended to make it easier for fans of sporty footwear to find the sneakers they want with advanced pattern recognition.
A total of ten teams took part in the final pitch round, i.e. the brief presentations of the business ideas.
The sixth edition of the Central Hessian startup weekend, which is organized by Regionalmanagement Mittelhessen GmbH (RMG), had to take place online for the second time, but was still able to come up with a top-class panel. A total of 150 participants did not want to miss this.
A total of 25 ideas came together at the opening meeting on Friday, the so-called pitch fire, from which the ten final business ideas finally crystallized over the weekend.
“A very good value, even more than at the analog event,” said Doğan Can Geniş from the organization team at RMG. The team is confident that the event can take place live on site again next year — then in Marburg, as Benjamin Stuchly, head of the organization team, announced. RMG managing director Jens Ihle described the startup weekend as the “flagship of Central Hesse”, which has gained in importance far beyond the borders of the region thanks to a “super pool” of partners, experts and talents.
“A good symbol for our way of doing things.” This year, the well-known TV journalist Bärbel Schäfer (jury) and the Maschmeyer Group around TV investor Carsten Maschmeyer (mentors) followed suit.
A total of 13 speakers and six mentors supported the founding teams with information, training and advice. To kick off on Friday, Julia Kümper, Managing Director of VentureVilla Accelerator GmbH, first explained the “Business Model Canvas” as the basic framework for developing a business idea. Kümper explained questions about the target group, production, marketing, costs and sales expectations using an exercise with a fictitious business idea. However: “Nothing is set in stone that applies to the entire startup process,” as the entrepreneur emphasized.
In her keynote speech, Magdalena Pusch, co-founder and CMO of the tech start-up Framen, made it clear which trips founders often have behind them. Five years ago as a student at the Startup Weekend in Central Hesse, she then grabbed “the magic of founding”, which she first brought to Californian Silicon Valley and then back to Europe for the Google Group.
In Berlin, Pusch finally founded her second startup, Framen. The company, which is now part of the Axel Springer Group, supplies business customers with digital advertising space. “In the beginning there is the idea”, she told her audience at the SWMH along the way, even if this does not necessarily have to be what you sell later, but rather “a foundation”. “Take a look at the market and where there are problems,” recommended the entrepreneur. “The bigger the problem, the greater the potential.” It is also important to present your own idea to others. “Sharing is learning”, as Pusch put it. An idea that you keep to yourself has no value. Feedback is also important to make sure that “you don’t develop anything that nobody needs.”
Before the final pitches on Sunday, Bärbel Schäfer reminded in an interview that the “gender gap” also has to be overcome when setting up a company. Although there are now more networks for them, women still have to expend significantly more energy to assert themselves in the startup scene. “Men are mostly looking for men for their teams,” said Schäfer, who founded her own production company after her time as a freelance presenter. Bureaucratic hurdles for founders should also be more dismantled. Last but not least, the journalist also advocated a “better error culture”: If you are responsible for founding a business, “learning by doing” often applies.
In the pitches this year, too, the ideas for apps predominated. It is all the more remarkable that with first and second place two ideas that revolve around the use of natural raw materials came to the fore. In addition to the winners, the portfolio this time also included a novel concept for digitizing receipts, a universal app for controlling smart homes, a learning application for “real-life skills”, an app for an emergency community, an application for neighborly cooking, a dating app with a challenge component based on the motto “Tinder meets TikTok” and a comprehensive platform for event organizers and visitors. The coworking company SleevesUp! Coupons ready; You could also look forward to marketing workshops with a total value of around 3,000 euros; the winner also received an additional 1,500 euros credit for investments.
While the jury was working, founder and investor Noel Zeh spoke about his perspective on starting up. The man from Giessen, who initiated seven startups and is now a partner at the venture capital fund Alstin Capital, recommended that medium-sized companies in particular invest in startups. “The financing landscape has become broader,” said Zeh. He cited GraphCMS as a positive example: The headless content management system that was created at the startup weekend has now become an international success story, “Made in Central Hesse,” after its breeding season, among other things in the founder center of Stadtwerke Gießen “.
The Central Hesse regional management strengthens and markets the business and university location in the middle of Hesse. The alliance of business, science and politics is active in the fields of infrastructure, education and skilled workers as well as research and innovation.
In Regionalmanagement Mittelhessen GmbH, all chambers of crafts, universities, chambers of industry and commerce, districts and the four large cities have joined forces with the Mittelhessen association to plan strategies for the region and implement projects together.
More about the region and regional management at https://www.mittelhessen.eu