Elaborations by Marina Heimann, futureSAX

3-Sentence Pitch on the local Startup Ecosystem:

The Free State of Saxony provides a versatile support offer for start-ups. In this ecosystem, founder unfold creativity and find the ingredients to realize ideas. Support concerning company founding, workshops, mentoring or infrastructure and technical equipment in coworking spaces are instruments to reach the goals.

Accelerators as a kind of boot camp for start-ups give assistance by intensive coaching and accelerate the development process. Mentors provide a great experience and reliable prescriptions. Incubators help to find partners and employees and give start-up-teams assistance to developing a business model for individual matching for specific topics.

The USP is the interdisciplinary approach, that brings together different branches of industry, science sectors, key enabling technologies as well as start-ups and globally acting groups of companies within the central element by the innovation platform futureSAX and sets the framework for cross-innovation.

Regional Hubs

Sectoral Focus of the Startup Ecosystem

The Free State of Saxony can look back on a long commercial tradition, from its silver mines in the middle ages to semiconductor technology today. Saxony currently belongs to the top 20 innovation locations in Europe. Saxony has set itself the goal of becoming one of the top 10 most innovative and commercially strong regions in Europe. As a knowledge and communication platform, futureSAX initially had the objective of supporting startups and young companies active in knowledge-based and technology-oriented fields. futureSAX is also open for high-growth companies with an established market position.

Local Financing Landscape/Presence of VCs

  • TECHNOLOGIEGRÜNDERFONDS SACHSEN: Venture capital fund investing in startups and young companies in the high technology area headquartered or located in Saxony. The funds provide capital and expertise to develop the companies successfully. More information here: http://www.tgfs.de/our-focus.html
  • TECHNOLOGIEGRÜNDERSTIPENDIUM (TECHNOLOGY FOUNDER GRANT): This funding is designed to support startups of young and innovative enterprises in future-oriented technological sectors by awarding personal grants. More information here: https://www.sab.sachsen.de/privatpersonen/förderprogramme/technologiegründerstipendium.jsp#tab_program_conditions
  • GRÜNDUNGSBERATUNG KMU (STARTUP CONSULTATION FOR SME): The “Gründungsberatung” start-up consultation program is geared towards the founding of competitive SMEs with the objective of becoming a fully operational, economically viable enterprise. The Federal State of Saxony grants subsidies for the use of consultation services in order to make it easier for business founders to become self-employed. More information here: https://www.sab.sachsen.de/privatpersonen/förderprogramme/gründungsberatung.jsp#tab_program_conditions
  • MICROLOANS FOR BUSINESS FOUNDERS AND YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS: With microloans, business founders wishing to become self-employed receive start-up financing for their investments and production equipment and facilities. For these purposes, business founders before they start their business operations as well as young enterprises up to five years after they started their business may apply for a low-interest loan amounting to a maximum of 20,000 euros directly at Saxony’s Development Bank (SAB). More information here: https://www.sab.sachsen.de/unternehmen/förderprogramme/mikrodarlehen.jsp?topicID=73030
  • BETRIEBSBERATUNG / COACHING (BUSINESS CONSULTATION / COACHING): The “Business Consultation / Coaching” program is the core component of Saxony’s consultation funding for SMEs. Thanks to the financial support, SMEs will benefit from the professional expertise of competent consultants in virtually all entrepreneurial issues and get the necessary help so that they can help themselves. More information here: https://www.sab.sachsen.de/unternehmen/förderprogramme/betriebsberatung-coaching.jsp?topicID=73025
  • “INNOVATIONSPRÄMIE” (INNOVATION GRANT): The “Innovationsprämie” [Innovation Grant] is designed to prepare particularly small companies and craft enterprises for cooperations with scientists. In addition, universities and research institutions are to apply their technical knowledge in Saxony even better than before. Such “Innovationsprämie” innovation grants foster the utilization of external R&D services in conjunction with the development of new or the improvement of existing products, processes, and services as well as the requisite technical support during the implementation phase. More information here: https://www.sab.sachsen.de/unternehmen/förderprogramme/innovationsprämie.jsp#tab_program_conditions

In addition, crowdfunding has been used in the Federal of Saxony to fund a wide range of for-profit entrepreneurial ventures such as artistic and creative projects, medical expenses, travel, or community-oriented social entrepreneurship projects. Examples for Crowdfunding- resp. Crowdinvesting-platforms in Federal of Saxony:

For further information: https://business-saxony.com/en/about-saxony/subsidy-programs/incentives-for-start-ups

Presence and Industrial Focus of Established Industries

The Federal of Saxony is characterized by a small and medium-sized business structure. Therefore several clusters combine the R&D strength of big companies. For example, the network Silicon Saxony is one of Europe‘s most successful trade association for the semiconductor, electronic, microsystems and software industries. The Silicon Saxony Management GmbH corporation is a daughter of the Silicon Saxony association and takes over the management of networks and cooperations in the high tech industry. This includes above all the branches microelectronics, photovoltaics as well as information and communication technology. The key competence is to develop and implement different types of cooperations between the scientific and business communities as well as public authorities.

The cluster biosaxony organizes the companies in the field of biotechnology and the medical technique-sector in a similar way.

Presence of Incubators/Accelerators

The incubators are present in the main regional areas and open for foreign start-ups because the internationalization is an important goal in our export-orientated economy.

Furthermore, there are several technology centers providing assistance for technical orientated founders: http://www.tzs.sachsen.de/tzs-bin/tzs/tzs.pl

Presence of Research Institutes and Universities

Building on Saxony’s scientific traditions during the last 27 years, it has been possible to create a close network embracing 14 institutions of higher education – four universities, five universities of applied sciences and five universities of fine arts – as well as to build up a mass of nonuniversity research institutions: 14 institutes and facilities belonging to the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, six Max Planck institutes, six institutes in the Leibniz Association, two Helmholtz centres, a Helmholtz institute and nine institutions financed by the Free State itself. BA Sachsen University of Cooperative Education with its seven academies and its special dual approach to academic training is another strong component on the Saxon educational landscape.

Further information: https://www.sachsen.de/en/download/Hochschulflyer_englisch_2014_barrierefrei.pdf

Noticeable Events

The innovation platform futureSAX provides well-founded over 6500 contacts with our prize winners (alumni network) but also with partners from business, science and politics. We develop the innovative concepts and present these as a bundle to interested investors during pitch sessions at the futureSAX investor roadshow or during individual matching sessions. This reduces the amount of research and coordination required by startups. More information under https://www.futuresax.org/

For a list of events please see here: https://www.futuresax.de/veranstaltungen

Marina Heimann