GINSUM goes North: “Innovation, aber konkret” in Lübeck

Summer is slowly drawing to a close. At the Media Docks in Lübeck, however, hot topics were once again discussed at the end of August: How can we catch up with the innovation gap in the German economy?

What do managers have to do to lead their companies into the future? And how can we learn from the Startup Nation Israel and even cooperate with Israeli startups?

At the invitation of the Lübeck Economic Development Agency, the Digital Economy Schleswig-Holstein (DiWiSH) and the Schleswig-Holstein Economic Development Agency (WT.SH), the German Israeli Network of Startups & Mittelstand (GINSUM) brought the opportunities of the Israeli technology market for German SMEs into the discussion. Carsten Ovens, Executive Director of ELNET in Germany, stated in his keynote address, “We need to wake up in Germany and roll up our sleeves. While $26 billion was invested in young technology companies in Israel last year, the figure in Germany, which is more than nine times larger in terms of population and economic power, was only EUR 17.4 billion.”

In the continuing GINSUM workshop, there was a deep dive into the synergies between German SMEs and the Israeli innovation landscape. After all, German SMEs enjoy a good reputation worldwide as the backbone of the German economy, offer products of the highest quality, and can scale well due to their location in the single European market. Nevertheless, there is a massive innovation backlog. According to a Bertelsmann study, 46% of German SMEs are rather innovation-averse – and according to a Bitkom survey, only one in four German companies cooperates with startups.

This compares to over 7,000 startups in Israel this year, the second highest VC investment per capita in the world, as well as around 500 multinational R&D centers, 35 incubators and over 120 accelerators. Due to its small market, the Israeli ecosystem is globally oriented, and needs the collaborations with foreign companies to grow.

These complementary interests were represented in the GINSUM workshop by Lion Software GmbH from Hamburg, as well as Israeli digital health startups Tytocare and Binah, who shared their experiences in bi-national cooperation. The desire of all present to jointly drive innovation was palpable. ELNET will continue to dedicate itself to this mission with its GINSUM initiative.

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