A variety of initiatives creates innovative environments

How can we facilitate entrepreneurship and the growth of start-ups? In Munich, a number of initiatives aimed at creating innovative environments are underway. And it is a long-term job.

– Establishing collaboration between businesses, universities and the scientific community on a specific topic, is a very personal and time consuming venture, says Ute Berger at the Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Ute Berger is one of the speakers at the UniverCITY Partnerships Conference in Stockholm and Uppsala 12 to 14 October. She is responsible for innovation and industry at the Chamber of Commerce for Munich and Upper Bavaria, the largest in Germany with over 380,000 member companies in industry, trade and services – most of them small and medium-sized.

Ute Berger is going to talk about technology shifts and describe the start-up ecosystem in Munich.

– First of all, Munich is a great city to live in. With the proximity to the Alps, we can offer wonderful nature; here you will find a wide range of activities and cultural events, she says, pointing out that the city’s innovative climate can be attributed several factors.

  • Two internationally renowned universities.
  • A differentiated industry with large international groups and many medium-sized businesses that are leaders in their industries.
  • A variety of B2B start-ups and networking ecosystems.
  • A good international transport infrastructure.
  • A number of international trade fairs are held in the city.

Ute Berger believes there are significant challenges in achieving greater collaboration between the industry and universities.

– Large businesses do not really need help. They have their own departments for collaborative research and their own resources to gather intelligence on new technologies. Small and medium-sized businesses rarely have the knowledge as to which scientific partners might help them meet the challenges they face.

In Munich, there are many different initiatives aimed at removing the barriers, such as publicly funded clusters for various industries, departments for technology transfer at the universities and special aid programs. The Chamber of Commerce also holds special events, such as “Science for Breakfast,” where business representatives can visit the university departments.

– However, one should be careful with this kind of public intervention, since it cannot address the specific needs of each individual business. Fostering greater collaboration between academia and businesses on a specific problem is a very personal and time consuming venture. That is how we build collaboration between different parties.

She also believes dealing with the societal problems of tomorrow calls for more partnerships between the public and private sectors.

– Public-private partnerships are often used to cut investment costs for the municipalities or the state. The success of this kind of collaboration hinges on the reliability of the parties involved, the presence of clear definitions of collaboration and clear agreements.

Public hearings or referendums are other commitment building tools, as is the creation of advisory committees. An example in Bavaria is the Digitization Council, involving chambers of commerce, businesses and experts.