DIHK Start.Up! Germany

Activities & Events, Top News

45 start-ups from 16 countries
were chosen to participate in the Start.up! Germany Roadshow

9 start-ups from Kenya and Nigeria
sponsored by Make-IT in Africa joined the trip

1 week of international exposure, networking and pitching
and a Nigerian Start-up to win the final pitch at NRW RuhrSummit

Start.up! Germany

… aims at providing selected tech entrepreneurs with an opportunity to extend their international networks, connect with the German start-up ecosystem and meet potential German business partners.

The local German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (IHK) and the German Chambers of Commerce Abroad (AHK) have initiated Start.up! Germany as a new type of study and networking tour (“roadshow”) connecting tech entrepreneurs from all over the world.

Start.up! Germany is implemented jointly with Make-IT in Africa in order to include and promote African entrepreneurs in their early growth phase. All start-ups are selected in an open call and with respect to their social-impact business model.

Roadshow 2017

The roadshow 2017 focused on energy, logistics/transport; and Internet of things/industry 4.0.

Program and highlights
Selection process
Great opportunities
Media response and results
Program and highlights

At the 7-day roadshow the start-ups travelled to Berlin, Hamburg and North Rhine-Westphalia to exchange and network with corporates, investors, politicians and official agencies. The start-ups visited WestVisions (Duisburg) and RuhrSummit (Dortmund). During the trip, the entrepreneurs had several pitch opportunities, and were introduced to German companies in “reverse pitches”.

Berlin (14.10. – 16.10.): meet-ups with the DIHK and ecosystem partners (Telefonica Basecamp, “The Place”, German Trade & Invest, EUREF Campus, Deutsche Bahn mindbox, etventure and SAP Data Space)

Hamburg (16.10. – 17.10.): meet-ups with corporates (Silpion, HHLA, Pfannenberg and Lufthansa Technik), masterclasses on copyright / property protection and collaboration between start-ups and corporates, as well as a guided tour to Hamburg harbor and around the city.

NRW (18.10. – 20.10.; Dortmund, Duisburg, Essen and Bochum): meet-ups with ecosystem partners (WestVisions, Initiativkreis Ruhr, Innogy, WILO, Starbuzz, IBM, Thyssenkrupp, Tengelmann) and a visit to the RuhrSummit – the biggest start-up event in the area.

Selection process

Ventures and tech entrepreneurs who wanted to participate had to be active in any of the following areas:

  • Energy/Energy solutions
  • Industry 4.0
  • Mobility/Logistics

Furthermore, all start-ups had to meet the following criteria:

  • In the ‘market testing’ phase, i.e. beyond the seed stage and successfully accomplished first investor rounds.
  • A scalable business model with an international approach.
  • Focus on the German market / German customers is an advantage.
  • A good understanding of English.

In August 2017, the German bilateral Chambers in Kenya (Nairobi) and Nigeria (Lagos) launched an open call for applications on their websites, which was promoted through a targeted mailing campaign. In a second step, the applicants where ranked on a short list. The ones that matched the key criteria were then invited to present their business case to the Chambers.

The start-ups were ranked (among others) on the following criteria:

  • Fit into one of the three sectors (verticals)
  • Fit to German market
  • Scaling potential
  • Innovativeness
  • Impact of the business (SDGs)
Great opportunities

The Start-ups were given the chance to:

… visit Berlin’s most promising startup hotspots, such as the SAP Data Space, EUREF Campus and DB mindbox.

… get in touch with German corporates and investors in the cities of Hamburg, Berlin and Dortmund

… meet with 300+ startups, 200+ corporates and 50+ top speakers in the heart of Germany’s industry at RuhrSummit in Dortmund, one of Germany’s biggest start-up events, offering Pitch Contests and Match-making


Media response and results
The experience and exposure was just at another level. I feel lucky to have gotten a chance to participate in the Startup Tour as what I learned will without doubt come in very handy as we strive to grow our start up!
Francis JuraFounder and Director of Genexe Engineering Limited (Kenya)

Reports and press releases. (Click to expand)

Start.up! Germany Roadshow | WestVisions | video

Start.Up! Germany Roadshow | IHK Dortmund | video (GERMAN)

Start.up! Germany Roadshow | Business Daily Africa | article (ENGLISH)

Start.up! Germany Roadshow | Deutsche Welle | article (ENGLISH)

Start.up! Germany Roadshow | Inside Wirtschaft | video (GERMAN)

Start.up! Germany Roadshow | WALLSTREET:online | video (GERMAN)

Start.up! Germany Roadshow | FMM – Magazin | article (GERMAN)


The Roadshow 2017 was an amazing opportunity for the entrepreneurs to meet interesting founders, corporates and investors.

Photos taken by Kim Mühl

To see more pictures of the roadshow, visit our Facebook page:

Selected African Ventures






Genexe Engineering








Implementing Partners

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