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    new german wave

German startups ready for the world stage

The local startup scene is booming in Germany and its implications could well resonate around the globe. The epicenter is the region between Frankfurt and Stuttgart, and the activists are entrepreneurs who are re-imagining the world — technologically, creatively and emotionally — and our relationship with it. So what’s on the agenda? Session highlights include a workshop on AI’s potential to facilitate ‘direct democracy’ hosted by thingsTHINKING, an award-winning ‘industry disruptor’ backed by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. Also promising to disrupt conventional thinking is Startup Mannheim, which will look at why empathy, interpersonal skills and creativity are set to become vital leadership qualities in the future — and why this may give female tech entrepreneurs the edge over their left-brained male counterparts.

Germany’s sixth largest metropolis, Stuttgart, is represented by two innovative platforms: Startup Autobahn and Next Entrepreneurs. The former, which connects startups with corporate partners to pilot bleeding-edge technology, is coordinating a number of sessions and events, including a panel on corporate sustainability and a demo area dedicated to startups and sustainability. Next Entrepreneurs, meanwhile, will be organizing a Startup Bootcamp for school children from southern Germany. Five teams will be tasked with developing a business idea and pitching it to a jury of industry heavyweights, including Dorothee Bār, Germany’s Minister of State for Digitalisation.

And then there’s TechQuartier, which is flying the flag for me Convention host city of Frankfurt. Billing itself as “a creative arena and melting pot for entrepreneurs and innovators”, the startup hub is presenting a panel on fintech — specifically the impact of disruptive tech and startups on the staid world of finance. Together with PwC, TechQuartier is also hosting a Cyber Security Escape Room, where delegates can try their hand at hacking a bank. It’ll be fun — but it will also be informative, offering a real insight into why cyber security has become such an urgent priority.

Disclaimer: The views of me Convention speakers do not necessarily reflect the opinions of either Mercedes-Benz and/or SXSW.