Jump to main content

An Innovation Ecosystem – sparked in Marburg

Inspiring network event for science and start-up scene in Marburg.

Elevate and Accelerate event, 2 June 2022 Marburg I
"At the beginning, the question must be: What can we achieve together? Then collaboration will succeed": Founder Maria Pennanen at the "Elevate and Accelerate" Innovation Ecosystem event in Marburg

How do you build a startup and innovation ecosystem for Marburg and Central Hesse? CSL Behring Innovation (CSL's R&D in Marburg), the Marburg Institute for Innovation Research, Startup Promotion MAFEX, and the Regional Management Central Hesse, hosted an inspiring, forward-looking evening. In keeping with the motto "Elevate and Accelerate", 60 guests from bioscience, politics, business, and culture joined together to discuss this question and to take a first step towards decentralized innovation and start-up ecosystem - sparked in Marburg.

The venue itself speaks to itself: The Lokschuppen Marburg is an innovative fusion of co-working space, founder’s hub and event location. "Marburg and the Mittelhesse region have all the prerequisites to become a "Life Science Valley", the "Cambridge of Germany"- and we, CSL Behring Innovation, wish to be an enabler in making that happen", Dr. Lars Groenke said when he and Vicky Pirzas – both Managing Directors of CSL Behring R&D in Marburg – launched the evening which was also streamed live on YouTube.  

Dr. Mandy Pastohr from the Hessian Ministry of Economics, Energy, Transport and Housing opened the evening. She sees potential for Central Hesse on its way to becoming an innovation ecosystem, especially in knowledge transfer. "There is so much talent and such a good infrastructure here. But how can we make more of it? Through resilient collaborations within the region that can then grow into a national and international ecosystem. That takes trust and time. Let's get it done!"

One impressive example of how such an undertaking can succeed with patience and openness was provided by Hugh Forrest, who was broadcast live from Texas. His keynote was about building innovative ecosystems in 2022. The South by Southwest (SXSW) festival, which Forrest helped establish, has been held annually in Austin, Texas (USA), since 1987 and is considered one of the world's most important gatherings in the fields of music, film and interactivity. In his keynote, Forrest gave accelerators-to-be a tip for the future: "Focus on strengths first. From there, growth is conceivable in many directions."

In the following discussion, the Mayor of Marburg, Dr. Thomas Spies, Prof. Vivien Procher from the Marburg Institute for Innovation Research and Start-up Promotion (MAFEX), Maria Pennanen (CEO Mindclip Behaviour), Dr. Serghei Glinca (Co-founder and Managing Director ChrystalsFirst GmbH in Marburg, Co-founder DEEP Ecosystems), and Jens Ihle (CEO Regional management Mittelhessen) met. Moderated by Impact Creator Yukiko Elisabeth Kobayashi, all participants gave food for thought on how the launch of an Innovation Ecosystem can succeed. Dr. Thomas Spies sees the city in the role of enabler: "You can't 'make' creative people. But you can bring them together. To do that, Marburg needs to become more visible." Above all, Spies sees potential in the collaboration between startups and the university. "A start-up is a start, not an end. That's where great opportunities lie."

Jens Ihle, Dr. Vivien Procher, Dr. Serghei Glinca, Dr. Thomas Spies, Maria Pennanen, Yukiko Kobayashi atElevate and Accelerate Event 2 June 2022 in Marburg
Under the motto "Elevate & Accelerate", thought leaders and stakeholders from bioscience, politics, business and culture provided food for thought on how the launch of an innovation ecosystem in and around Marburg can succeed. ( F.l.t.r.: Jens Ihle, Regional management Mittelhessen; Prof. Vivien Procher, University of Marburg; Dr. Serghei Glinca CrystalsFirst; Mayor of Marburg, Dr. Thomas Spies; Maria Pennanen, Mindclip Behavior, Yukiko E. Kobayashi Impact Creator and moderator of the evening)

" You can't 'make' creative people. But you can bring them together. "

Dr. Thomas Spies, First Mayor of the city of Marburg
Elevate and Accelerate event, 2 June 2022 Marburg I
Marburg's First Mayor, Dr. Thomas Spies, sees the city's role as that of an enabler – and that there is still particular potential in collaboration between startups and the university

Vivien Procher also pointed to smaller companies as role models: "We learn not only from the big players, but also from the small ones. Encouraging them is therefore just as important." Maria Pennanen advocated not putting the profit motive first: "At the beginning, the question should not be: What's in it for me? But rather: What can we achieve together? Then a collaboration succeeds."

Jens Ihle knew from his work for the Central Hesse region that this works. Over time, he said, a collaborative space emerges from a complex structure, in which international collaborations also grow from strong local roots.

Serghei Glinca emphasized that developing an ecosystem is not "esoteric": "Innovation Ecosystems can be engineered." Based on measurable key figures, the development and success of such an enterprise can be mapped at any time, he said. 

The conclusion of the evening: There is a lot of potential in new co-operations, for which Marburg is exceptionally well suited - to this end, it is now important to maintain the momentum that has been created and to use it for the development and expansion of the innovation and start-up ecosystem in Marburg and Central Hesse. True to the motto: Elevate and Accelerate.