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OWF – East German Economic Forum 2024

“fast forward” was the motto of this year’s East German Economic Forum (OWF). From 02. Leading figures from business, politics, science and society discussed the dynamics of structural change processes here from June 1 to 4. Bad Saarow was once again the venue for the OWF.

After the opening of the OWF on Sunday, Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz gave a keynote speech in which he addressed various challenges currently facing Germany. He pleaded for a defensive democracy and addressed climate change and its consequences. According to Scholz, it is extremely important to counteract the shortage of skilled workers and to reduce bureaucracy in order to simplify and speed up processes.

As a partner of the OWF, the Digital Hub Initiative (de:hub) hosted the traditional matchmaking event on Sunday. After a welcoming address by Dr. Anna Christmann, Federal Government Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Start-ups, three start-ups had the opportunity to pitch their business models and then answer questions in a Q&A session. In addition to from Dresden, a team working on replacing fossil fuels with renewable alternatives, and Hivebuy from Berlin, which offers purchasing software for SMEs, 2Sync, an alumni start-up of the MediaTech Hub Accelerator whose software can be used to transform real spaces into virtual spaces, also pitched its business idea to an audience. After the pitches, the participants were able to network with each other.

Another item on the agenda, which was organized by de:hub and Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI), was the “Working Breakfast” on Monday morning. Yildiz Götze, Head of the Funding Program Department at GTAI, Benjamin Heese from the Startup Association of the Brandenburg State Association, Hirgit Horack, Lead de:hub from the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK), and Michael Kaiser, Managing Director of the Dresden Digital Hub Smart Systems Hub, discussed the topic of “Startup Ecosystem Building in Eastern Germany”.

The discussion focused on the questions of how young companies can be supported in the ecosystem, what measures are required to ensure sustainable development and what role public and private actors can play in the development and expansion of ecosystems. One realization was that commitment and perseverance are necessary for a functioning ecosystem and that the partners are particularly important, because no one can build a network alone.

An overview of the entire program can be found on the OWF website. In addition, some content can be streamed afterwards.

Below are some impressions of the event:

Photo Credit: Hannes Schmidt