One startup event follows the other in the Ruhr area this autumn. But not only the number of events shows how vibrant the startup ecosystem of that region is. It's the variety of events, organizers and of course participants and visitors that is impressive. The Ruhr area definitely does not has to hide from the other major startup regions in Germany and Europe.
The next really big Ruhr area startup event - RuhrSummit 2018 - will take place mid of October, 11th and 12th, in Bochum. Tom Felber talked for Superior Business magazine to Oliver Weimann, Managing Director of 360 Online Performance Group GmbH, one of the co-founders of RuhrSummit.
RuhrSummit is one of the biggest startup events in the Rhine-Ruhr region. Why have you founded this event three years ago?
Because we just couldn't do anything else... Serious, there were two main reasons and goals for the first RuhrSummit.
First, we wanted to show the local scene how big it actually is and direct the spotlight of the German startup scene on the Ruhr area for at least one single day!
And second, we wanted to create an event which is big enough that cool speakers from outside come to the Ruhr area. Carsten Maschmeyer, Philipp Westermeyer or Max Wittrock doesn't come for 70 participants, but for 500+.
We had already achieved these goals in the first year just because we haven’t been by ourselves but had many, many partners and multipliers within the region. And nowadays we look for growth, fun and generating significant value for startups and established local companies.
How important are events like RuhrSummit or startupweek:RUHR for Rhine-Ruhr startup ecosystem?
If you ask me I probably won’t be the most objective person in the world. Bur for sure I wouldn’t have initiated both if I wouldn’t be highly convinced about the relevance for our region. And the success proofs me right even if there are thousand things to improve again and again and again.
Hooking up external partners and making their entry to the scene as easy as possible (startupweek:RUHR) is in my view as important as creating the one single shinning event which provides community building and video material to enable further development of innovation culture within Ruhr area.
Do you think the Rhine-Ruhr region can compete with the other big startup places in Europe? If yes, why?
YES! 100%! BUT and this is really important NOT by copying somewhere else. We honestly need to focus on our strength, we honestly need to accept failure and we honestly need to speed up.
Our backbone is an industrial landscape with potential clients for almost all startups you can imagine. We also have a university density which we should use to attract future talent for our startups.
In the Ruhr area we will focus an topics like IT-Security, eHealth, IndustrialTech and EnvironmentalTech or resource management. We can offer leading engineers, market expertise and will enable funding whenever necessary. This doesn’t mean that we don’t push for other startups but I belief in cluster management.
Coming back to the RuhrSummit. What is the concept behind it? Which goals do you like to achieve with the event?
As said before we still want to present how well the scene develops. Moreover my goal is creating clear impact to startups, corporates and investors and cause a cultural change of mindset.
My personal goals are showing young people the “opportunity startup” and speed up the informal network within the region. I clearly don’t want everybody to found a startup but maybe young people consider to work there or to partner if the start working at a corporate. Also I want lively connections on high speed between different actors of the scene.
Who are the addressees?
Actually we are pretty much open for curious people of all kind. The largest groups are obviously startups (> 500 teams and > 1,400 visitors) and students (800 -> 1,000).
The highest impact we will also have for employees of established companies, mainly SME, because they will get insides of technological development as well as access to innovative startup teams throughout "DeepDives" and "Startup Expo".
Moreover we welcome 60+ investors and high numbers of multipliers, digital natives and special guests.
Can you tell us a bit about the program of RuhrSummit 2018?
It’s massive by now. We have the main stage with Keynotes, Panel Discussions and live Podcasts. We also have Insight Talks where the speaker will dig a but deeper into the topic and present examples from his/her experience.
There will be workshops and Tech DeepDives focusing on knowhow transfer and re-connecting certain participant groups. And one highlight obviously is our Pitch Competition with roughly 40 startups from all over the world (50+ nations).
We are proud to welcome successful entrepreneurs, leaders from innovative corporates but also thinkers behind the scene who will lay out their strategies.
There is also an interesting side program, right?
Sure… it’s becoming more like a festival of RuhrSummit. We gonna start with Pre-Events like a Corporate Challenge Pitch - where corporates like Siemens and RWE but also SME present their existing challenges and startups pitch individual solutions – and a VC-Roundtable, where investors from different countries come together to connect and discuss about cross border deals.
And there will be "Startup Expo" with 140 startups and Meet@Beat Party with live performances and DWNRW-Award ceremony and and and… come around you won’t get bored!
Where do visitors get the tickets for the RuhrSummit 2018?
That’s an easy one… just visit the website www.summit.ruhr and click on tickets. Please be quick because there are still some very few opportunities to participate in workshops and Tech DeepDives. And even better: as a community member of SUPERIOR Business you will receive a 25% discount on tickets with "XXSuperior25".
Thank you for the interview ... We meet at RuhrSummit 2018 !!!