The Initiatives

Logo Berlin Start-up Unit

In 2015, the state of Berlin set up the Berlin Startup Unit together with partners from the startup economy. The Berlin Startup Unit sees itself as a collaborative effort to improve conditions for young and fast growing companies.

Seven initiatives were working together for the advancement of the startup capital Berlin. Each of the initiatives was coordinated by a tandem: an institution and a founder. The goal of the initiatives was to analyze the existing service structures for startups, reveal any gaps and develop new offers. This bottom-up process was completed in early 2016 with the publication of the results in the "Berliner Startup Agenda".

The “Berliner Startup Agenda” contains both an inventory of activities that have already improved the basic conditions in Berlin, as well as an overview of future planned projects. Moreover, additional project ideas are listed which are not planned yet but could improve the status for entrepreneurs and startups in Berlin. The document is available in German only.

Corporate Service Startup

Berlin Partner for Business and Technology and Constanze Buchheim, founder of  i-potentials, both coordinated the “Corporate Service Startup” initiative. The goal of this initiative was to transparently display the existing services for founders on the market. Information on financing possibilities, work permits or recruiting strategies were bundled and gaps were revealed. The focus was on acquired startups setting up in Berlin as well as existing startups in fast-growing sectors.

New Welcoming Culture for Berlin

The goal of this initiative, which was led by Emanuel Stehle, Managing Director Central Europe at Groupon and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Berlin (IHK Berlin), was to improve the welcoming culture. The key element was the establishment of a Business Welcome Center at the IHK Berlin Ludwig-Erhard-Haus. The central physical point of contact for all questions concerning entrepreneurship, the Business Welcome Center is the place for meetings, combined knowledge and the single point of contact. The Business Welcome Center would be operated by the IHK in close cooperation with its partners (incl. the Berlin Foreigners Registration Office, Investitionsbank Berlin (IBB), Berlin Partner, and the Senate Department for Economy and Technology). The IHK would make sure that foreign founders and professionals in particular obtain the required permits and information quickly.

Venture Capital

Investitionsbank Berlin and Simon Schäfer, founder of the Factory, coordinated the “Venture Capital” initiative. Its goal within the scope of the unit was to facilitate access to capital for young startups in Berlin and generate further venture capital for Berlin’s startups. At the same time, the project group presented investors, institutions and their offers concerning startup financing. Furthermore, the market should be checked for improvement potential from the startup view in terms of provision of growth capital and how this can be optimized. For this purpose, initiators and supporters elaborated reports and recommendations for action. The following three key subjects were planned: bundling the offers, supporting new initiatives and networking with international investors.

Infrastructure | Founder Campus

The  state of Berlin and Frank Zahn, CEO of Exozet Berlin GmbH, jointly coordinated the “Infrastructure | Founder Campus” initiative. In cooperation with players from businesses, urban development and culture, the goal of the initiative was to develop approaches to improve framework conditions for supplying the appropriate real estate, co-working, technical infrastructure and connection to existing business structures for creative, innovative and technology-oriented founders.


The goal of the “Networking” initiative was to extend the cooperation between startups and established companies, particularly SMEs from Berlin, and to make it more transparent. There were numerous offers in this field already – from large events giving the opportunity to get to know the startup scene and make initial contacts to direct 1:1 contacts between Berlin’s SMEs and matching startups. The initiative intended to provide a transparent overview of actors and formats for this target group and discuss with startups and institutions which gaps were yet to be filled. The initiative was jointly coordinated by the state of Berlin as well as Sascha Schubert, founder of the startup Spendino and board member of the German Startups Association.


Berlin Partner for Business and Technology and Niklas Östberg, CEO & Co-Founder of Delivery Hero, jointly assumed the coordination of the initiative “Internationalization”. The main focus was made on the networking of startups with international cooperation partners, customers or venture capitalists, for instance by the implementation of pitches or matchmakings on delegation trips. The initiative intended to support Berlin’s founders in entering new markets, for instance by providing consulting in visa issues.

Startups from Universities

B!GRÜNDET, the founder network of Berlin’s institutions of higher education, and Dr. Peter Walde, founder of Mapegy, jointly coordinated the “Startups from Universities” initiative. Its goals included increasing the number of academic startups in Berlin, establishing and extending framework conditions and incentives promoting corporate activities in vocational training, research and administration as well as networking academic entrepreneurs and regional businesses.

The Startup Unit is granted advisory support by

Senatsverwaltung für Wirtschaft, Technologie und Forschung B!gründet Handwerkskammer Berlin Bundesverband Deutsche Startups e.V. Investitionsbank Berlin Bundesverband Informationswirtschaft, Telekommunikation und neue Medien e.V. SIBB e.V. berlinbrandenburg e.V. Technologiestiftung Berlin Industrie- und Handelskammer zu Berlin Vereinigung der Unternehmensverbände in Berlin und Brandenburg e.V.