International discussion: Supporting startups and young businesses

The Technologiepark Heidelberg welcomed 30 international guests to its traditional TP BIO Breakfast. From June 19th to 22nd, in celebration of the international BIO Convention in San Diego CA, three speakers discussed their strategic start-up support. This fitting kickoff for the presentations and discussion was provided with a shared breakfast at the Hotel Indigo.

San Diego, June 20th, 2017 – “We consider the incubation of start-ups in the JLABS as a long-term investment. The founders do not enter into any commitments, since we do not demand any shares or privileges. Nevertheless, we and also the start-ups profit from these mutually beneficial partnerships." Positive words from Kara Bortone, director of Venture Sourcing & Development at Johnson & Johnson Innovation JLABS, after investments and IPOs of biotechnology companies decreased not only in Europe in 2016. The USA too saw its companies having to stomach a 50% reduction in the raising of capital, while equity capital has been hit even harder. Even so, more than 60 percent of all venture capital from investors in the US goes into promoting early development and start-ups. In German on the other hand, start-up development still leaves something to be desired – this is why the speakers at the BIO Breakfast have tackled the question of how vital innovation-promoting structures for young companies can be established.

Bortone, who has over ten years’ experience in European and American biotechnology, used her talk entitled “Enabling science to reach the people who need it” to present the institutional support of start-ups via the incubator and accelerator Johnson & Johnson JLBAS from Janssen Pharmaceuticals.

“Guidance and consultation can only generate long term success if start-ups find an infrastructural basis upon which they can develop themselves,” added Andre H. R. Domin, Executive Director of the Technologiepark Heidelberg GmbH and chairman of the Heidelberg Startup Partners e.V. In his keynote address, “Choosing growth – Securing space for start-ups and established businesses” he emphasized the importance of spatial- and sector-specific support for founding new businesses. “The large scientific potential of Heidelberg must be matched by a sufficient range of work- and office space. If we want to facilitate growth, we also have to generate and ensure appropriate spaces for start-ups and established businesses.” In this context, Domin mentioned the former US military’s Patton Barracks, where the new Heidelberg Innovation Park will open. The Technologiepark Heidelberg will also be expanding with the Business Development Center Organic Electronics (BDC OE). Concerning the dynamic economic development of Heidelberg, Domin views the construction of specialized buildings and the co-financing of start-ups as opportunities to cooperate internationally.

“We focus on consulting start-ups sustainably. This is the only way to create business models that are really suitable for investment,” said Thomas Prexl, director of the Startup Support Bureau at the Heidelberg Technologiepark and CEO of the Heidelberg Startup Partners (HSP). In his presentation, “Acceleration – Supporting scientific start-ups and spinoffs”, he introduced the Heidelberg Startup Partners as a cooperative initiative of the leading research and educational institutions. The partners advise scientific and technological start-ups and spin-offs and offer an international network of branch experts and investors. “This year we will be able to expand our support with accelerator programs. What’s new, is that we can now support start-ups in the field of life sciences and IT for a whole year. By combining life sciences and IT – such as with Sensorik or Blockchain – we are now able to engage with important topics such as digitalization which is certain to have a growing impact on medicine and science in the future.”

The speakers and the audience agreed that an innovation-supporting ecosystem for start-ups must be approached on a variety of levels. The Technologiepark’s new Business Development Center Organic Electronics functions as an infrastructural innovation foundation in Heidelberg by offering empty office space, labs and co-working spaces for young businesses, as well as facilitating interdisciplinary cooperation. Heidelberg Startup Partners und Accelerator programs provide individual consultation, support and regular events to deepen economic and sector-specific competences, as well as the creation of a network of professionals. Johnson & Johnson Innovation JLABS supports start-ups via a business oriented network of experts, mentors, and partners, as well as all the necessary infrastructure. To achieve optimal results, all the necessary building blocks for sustainable start-up support must be considered and international networks established.

About the Technologiepark Heidelberg GmbH

The Techologiepark Heidelberg was founded in 1984 as the first science park in Germany with a life science focus. Through its continual growth in the fields of biotechnology, pharmatechnology, environmental technology, printed electronics, as well as IT, it has been able to expand into five locations. The goal of the Technologiepark is to support the exchange between research and industry and support spin-offs from science with the necessary infrastructure. By working closely with internationally active partners such as EMBL, the DKFZ, the Center for Molecular Biology, the SRH University, the Excellence Cluster Organic Electronics, as well as the University and its hospital, it offers local businesses a large network and intensive cooperation with academia and business. A further location, the 7000 m² Business Development Center Organic Electronics, will be opened as part of the Heidelberg Innovation Park in the middle of 2019. The new location of about 42 acres, will see academic research, start-ups, and established businesses cooperate and realize innovations aimed at  the pressing challenges the future holds.

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About the Heidelberg Startup Partners e.V

The Heidelberg Startup Partners are a cooperative initiative of research and educational institutions in Heidelberg. The goal of the association is the support of newly founded scientific, technological, and science-based businesses. In addition to the wide assortment of events, it offers an interdisciplinary team in Heidelberg who provide consulting services and support entrepreneurs in their search for funding, qualified employees and office space. The Heidelberg Startup Partners are a cooperative initiative of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), the IHK Rhein-Neckar, the University of Education Heidelberg, the SRH University Heidelberg gGmbH, the Technologiepark Heidelberg GmbH, the Technology Transfer Heidelberg GmbH, the medical department of the University of Heidelberg, as well as the University of Heidelberg.

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21.06.2017 - 10:16