Schleswig-Holstein enters into partnership with US technology company Plug and Play

Minister Buchholz urges startups to “utilize this unique springboard!”

KIEL/SAN FRANCISCO, March 28, 2019— The “Northern Germany Innovation Office” of Schleswig-Holstein/Hamburg was opened in San Francisco just under a year ago and already shows the first tangible results: The world’s leading technology accelerator, Plug and Play, from Silicon Valley and the State of Schleswig-Holstein have entered into a partnership that aims to encourage international networking between companies and investors and will initially last for one year.

“Thanks to this cooperation we will be able, for the first time ever, to offer up to ten young entrepreneurs access to the infrastructure of Plug and Play within the period of one year. Thus, these young businessmen and women will be provided with an international springboard allowing them to gain a foothold in the market with their business ideas and innovations,” Mr. Buchholz said today (March 28) in Kiel. Christian Knipfer from San Francisco — in charge of international relations at Plug and Play — also expressed how pleased he was with the first international business partner from Northern Germany: “In terms of our International partnerships, I can say that this one is by far one of the most wide-ranging and comprehensive we have ever seen here at Plug and Play. Schleswig-Holstein is an exciting region for us because it is a gateway to Northern Germany and the Nordics where we will no doubt be able to leverage our existing network and resources, both in Germany and in Silicon Valley.”

According to Mr. Buchholz, one of the core elements of the cooperation is a free, three-month stay in Silicon Valley for young startups. Founders from Schleswig-Holstein are eligible to apply or qualify themselves for the program mainly through the following events:

  • up to June 4 within the “Überflieger”-StartUp Competition that is being held all across Schleswig-Holstein
  • on June 14 at the “waterkant Festival” in Kiel
  • on August 12 in the Ministry of Economic Affairs when participants of this year’s StartUp Camp are selected (the 3 winners will be able to participate in the Accelerator Program)

As Mr. Buchholz went on to explain, the stay in the United States primarily includes

support through expert know-how in developing business ideas as well as advice and guidance from experienced mentors. “In addition, one naturally has access to Plug and Play’s huge global network and its contacts and one gets to attend networking events,” Mr. Buchholz said.

At the same time, Schleswig-Holstein will be part of Plug and Play’s marketing strategy during the next 12 months, according to Mr. Knipfer and Mr. Buchholz, with teams from Plug and Play taking part in events for founders in Schleswig-Holstein this year, such as the “waterkant Festival” or this year’s Startup-Camp in Flensburg.

Mr. Buchholz called on all founders, and especially on female founders, not to miss out on this unique opportunity: “Don’t hesitate, toss your hat in the ring, even the application as such can already be worth its while.”

To participate in the program, the following criteria have to be fulfilled. Startups must be:

  • registered as a company (the company must be privately owned, may not be the subsidiary of another company nor legally linked to that company),
  • owner of a first functional product (service, software or the like)
  • in possession of a scalable business model and
  • no older than 5 years.

Founders can find all information on the StartUp Camp and on the application at https://startupcamp.sh/.