Starting a company at a younger age allows you to grow more as an individual, make more mistakes, and have more time to get it right.
STARTUP TEENS supports bold digital natives, who want to found their own company and provides them with the tools to help them learn. They offer a highly respected mentorship program to nurture innovative minds and teens to shape the future digital society within Germany and Europe.
Teens like Nils Reinhardt, who founded CodeBrain and ShareZone, understand that there are many gaps within the education system, especially when it comes to technology and innovation. By founding his own company with his friends, he was not only able to make his day to day life at school a bit more organized with his digital notebook, but he also learned how to code, and learned a few business tricks along the way.
Although Nils was inspired to start a business with his friends, he one of the German natives who are the exception to the rule. While German engineering continues to lead the game, when it comes to innovation, foreigners and their ideas are coming more into play. More and more, exemplary innovative ideas are coming from expats, foreigners, or international students, and new Berliners relocating to Germany to take advantage of its rich startup ecosystem. As digital natives in Germany move into the workforce of the platform economy, their natural tech-savvy talent and high energy output also have their own agenda.
Challenges for Innovation
The biggest innovation challenge facing Germany is a cultural and structural one. Besides improving digital accessibility and application in education, German industry could benefit from a mindset with characteristics that encompass both creative thinking and smart – not safe – investments. There needs to be more confidence and encouragement towards risk-taking. These are strong features of a healthy startup ecosystem that reflect a Silicon Valley-like culture. “People shouldn’t be afraid to take risks, fail, or make mistakes. All these things are part of facing a challenge, “ notes Viola Menzel, the Berlin representative of STARTUP TEENS. The non-profit exists to start nurturing change and incubate the curiosity and go-getter attitudes that are necessary personality traits of an increasingly influential Generation Z.
STARTUP TEENS just started the fourth annual application process of their business plan challenge, a competition between teens all over Germany who have the chance to win 10,000 euros in funding for each of the seven categories. A total of 70,000 euros will be awarded to the best business ideas in Germany – the most prestigious teenage startup competition in Germany.
Catching entrepreneurs in their early stage, STARTUP TEENS aims to update schools with digital education in all forms of school in Germany – for free. Their mission is simple: to increase the number of German-founded startups, reigniting the spirit of Weber in millennials and Generation Z. With valuable mentorships and access to funding, they encourage teenagers to adopt a more innovative mindset and effectuate a more agile and platform-oriented climate. It ensures that Germany will continue to be one of the strongest players in the global economy through to the next century.