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German and Indian entrepreneurs - start your global journey with these programmes

Eileen Trenkmann
21st May 2018
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There is a range of accelerators, and exchange and market access programmes for Indian, German and global startups.

Last year, we detailed exchange, market access and award programmes for German and Indian entrepreneurs and now it’s time for an update, as several things have happened since.

Nirmala Sitharaman had last year tweeted, “#India & #Germany agree to establish Exchange Programme for Indian & German Startups. Thanks @brigittezypries @startupindia #ModiInGermany”, and since then, Indo-German start-up cooperation has intensified.

Over the last year, the German Startups Association launched the German Indian Startup Exchange Program (GINSEP) supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy to foster higher exchange between the two startup economies. The platform officially kicked of its activities with its first delegation visiting India in February 2018.

Delegates at the German Indian Start-Up Exchange Programme

As part of the collaboration, YourStory Germany was officially launched in May 2018, and will increasingly cover stories about German entrepreneurs and the ecosystem in the country. YourStory Germany will also aim to bring the startup ecosystems in India and Germany closer, and foster cooperation.

The initiative got a boost in the arm with Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting Chancellor Angela Merkel in April this year to deepen economic ties.

India remains an attractive market for many German startups, and vice versa. It, therefore, comes as no surprise that Invest India, the investment promotion and facilitation agency of the Government of India, is sending ten promising startups to the CeBit this year, which is scheduled from June 11 to 15.

If you see Germany and India as an attractive market, the following accelerator, exchange and market access programmes may excite you:

Programmes targeting Indian and German startups

GINSEP: In 2017, the German Startups Association supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy launched the German Indian Startup Exchange Program (GINSEP). The aim of the programme is to promote exchange between the startup eco-systems and support Indian and German start-ups to have access to the other country.

As part of the programme, a “Go-To-Market Guide” for Germany is currently being developed with relevant market access information. Additionally, a range of events are regularly conducted in India and in Germany to build the capacity of German and Indian entrepreneurs that seek to expand to the other market. GINSEP also seeks to create opportunities for B2B networking to connect German companies and SMEs with Indian startups.

To this end, the German Startups Association is co-organising the scale11 event at the CeBIT. Under the umbrella of scale11, Indian startups will have the opportunity to participate in a speed-dating during the CeBIT with representatives and CIOs of German companies such as Volkswagen, Schindler Digital Business or Kaufland. The speed-dating provides an exclusive first contact to members of the ‘CEBIT executive club’ and the ‘scale11 Investors Club’. With more than 300 startups from 40 countries presenting their business model on the scale11 platform at the CeBIT fair, it will be a good chance to see what the next big startup idea will be. Those who wish to be part of the speed-dating can apply here. There are only five spots available and applications will be open until May 31, 2018.

Indo-German Young Leaders Forum (IGYLF): Not just startups, but the Indo-German Young Leaders Forum serves as a bilateral exchange platform for exceptional and brilliant minds from India and Germany. It seeks to foster an exchange between young Indian and German leaders from different areas – be it business, politics, science, or media and culture - and establish long-lasting networks.

The Indo-German Young Leaders Forum holds its flagship event on a yearly basis in either Germany or India. This year’s event took place from February 22 to 25 in New Delhi, and brought the selected 50 ‘Young Leaders’ from both countries together with policy makers and business heads. During sessions on healthcare, urban mobility, vocational education, training and industry 4.0, the participants discussed various opportunities to strengthen Indo-German relations. Applications for the next IGYLF conference will open end of 2018. Those looking to meet like-minded people as part of the programme can track the application phase here.

StartUp AsiaBerlin: The StartUp AsiaBerlin platform was established by the State of Berlin in cooperation with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, and recently conducted its flagship event, the Asia-Pacific Week, in Berlin. It hosted various workshops on topics around the collaboration of the different ecosystems and brought together stakeholders from Asia and Germany. The Asia-Pacific Week is part of a larger initiative, namely the StartUp AsiaBerlin platform, which seeks to foster cooperation between the startup hubs - Berlin, Manila, Jakarta and Bengaluru. Recently, China and Singapore also joined the initiative.

In the previous years, the platform organised roadshows in Berlin, Manila, Jakarta and Bengaluru, but now with more countries joining the initiative, the organisers conduct targeted delegation trips to individual countries.

Those looking to build lasting connections between Germany and Asia can join the next delegation trip scheduled for this summer to Delhi and Bengaluru by applying here.

Indo-German Entrepreneurship Pitch Competition: On July 7, 2018, Indian and German startups will pitch their startups at a live transborder event conducted in Mumbai and Heidelberg. Through this event, German and Indian startups will get the chance to pitch their innovations to experienced entrepreneurs and investors from India and Germany, and get to understand the legalities to setup their companies in other markets. The pitch is open for startups that have developed innovations with a social impact and applications can be made here.

Programmes for global startups

Grants4Apps: Bayer is currently looking for the next big digital health solution and runs two programmes – the G4A Global Accelerator Programme, and the G4A Global Dealmaker Programme. The accelerator programme is a 100-day intensive mentoring programme that, besides acceleration support, provides infrastructure and 50,000 euro for selected startups. Focus areas for this year’s programme are Blockchain, digital therapeutics, virtual trial solutions, heart disease prevention, women’s health, Artificial Intelligence for R&D, physician and patient engagement solutions, as well as neurological enhancement solutions. The programme will kick-off on August 30, bringing together startup experts and enthusiasts. Applications are open until May 31, and more information is available here.

The G4A Global Dealmaker programme offers a chance for startups to acquire Bayer as a customer. It targets more mature startups that have ready-to-go solutions. Bayer has opened applications in areas such as established products, women’s health, radiology, ophthalmology, pulmonology, hematology, medical affairs, new product commercialisation and oncology. If there is a match, Bayer will invite the startups to Berlin for the Dealmaker Day on October 9, when startups can pitch their solutions to Bayer experts and elaborate potential projects. Earlier this year, 80 startups had pitched their ideas, leading to more than 10 partnerships. Applications are open until July 8, 2018 and details are available here.

leAD sports accelerator: In 2017, leAD, a sports accelerator from the family of Adidas founder Adi Dassler, conducted its first accelerator programme in Berlin to nurture innovative early-stage sports startups. The programme received over 480 applications from 52 countries and 15 startups from 13 countries made it to the final cohort. The leAD sports accelerator covered three programmatic aspects – coaching and training, networking events, and capital/investment. Over the course of the programme, more than 30 workshops were conducted. Networking events such as mentoring days, which connect cohort startups with selected experts, helped them accelerate business. Under the programme, leAD invested 25,000 euro in the 15 selected startups, in return for eight percent equity. The startups also got an opportunity to interact with venture capitalists, and close investment deals with them. Applications for the 2018 cohort are open until May 31, and for more information on the programmes, check here.

India Market Access Bridge: Another programme for global startups with a keen interest in India is the India Market Access Bridge Programme, implemented by T-Hub in Hyderabad.

T-Hub doesn’t take any equity from participating startups, and the programme helps international startups understand Indian clients and localise their business models by supporting them to build pilot projects and sales pipelines. Besides access to companies and industry leaders, the selected startups will have access to the networking events that T-Hub conducts on a regular basis. Office space and infrastructure is also provided in India for the startups. Post Series A startups that focus on sectors of B2B enterprise products or have developed sustainability innovations can apply for the programme until June 30, 2018 and more information is available here.

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