Final stop of WER19: Berlin, Germany!
Arriving on the 5th of December, in the German capital, Berlin, the Women in Entrepreneurship Roadshow touched down for its final stop of 2019. Welcoming over 40 participants from the local and European entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Hosted by Leonie Moos, Head of Program at Grace Accelerator, WER19 Berlin commenced with a lively networking cocktail introduced with warm welcomes from Moos, Virginia Murray, Minister Counselor for Economic Affairs from the US Embassy, and Nicholas Zyberglajt, EYIF President.
Who offered their words of wisdom for the project participants. With Murray voicing her support for the project, and giving an encouraging speech to attendees.
“People want to invest in you, not just because of your idea but because of what you represent.” – Virginia Murray, Minister Counselor for Economic Affairs from the US Embassy.
The supportive spirit of the event continued into the next day, as participants arrived for a full day of curated motivation, starting with the investors panel, consisting of inspiring local players including: Gesa Miczaika, Co-Founder of Auxxo Beteiligungen; Jennifer Phan, Associate btov; Sonja Radovic, Investment Manager at APX; Nina Rinke, Investment Analyst Earlybird; and Jasper Masemann, Principal at HV Holtzbrinck Ventures.
As Zyberglajt kicked off the discussion, as chair, with the following statement of intent, “increase the deal flow of women founders, and we will increase the amount of venture backed women founders.” Supported in his statement by Masemann, who added that “we have to start investing more in women.”
The panel provided an insight into the local Geman and European ecosystem, and advice on how to increase deal flow for women founders, with the importance of a strong network cited by most panelists as the key to a sustainable venture.
With Rinke drawing attention to the problematic gender divide within the local and European ecosystem, stating, “I was shocked by how male [the industry] is. It’s super important that we’ve built this network. It’s super important that we bring this to fruition, and allow women to connect.” Later adding that, as an investor, the “number one source for [generating deal flow] is networks. Networking is the most important as a female community.” As Radovic stated the importance of “resilience and hustling,” in assuring that women entrepreneurs are heard and seen within the ecosystem.
Phan also added the importance of self-belief and confidence, as “women tend to make less bold projections, [and need to start] believing in the upstart potential,” in order to progress in an upward trajectory.
The panel was followed by a diverse Q&A, as participants representing a swathe of entrepreneurial ventures, projects, and ideas including: zero waste initiatives, sustainable fashion/textiles solutions, skills sharing/learning, and carbon-neutral mobility, put their questions to the investors.
Enquiring about the right time to invest, market reluctance to invest in direct to consumer ventures seemingly preoccupied with the search for the ‘next tech unicorn,’ and what the biggest red flags to early stage investment were, with all panelists unanimously warning against ‘messy capital.’
Following a short lunch break the participants, returned energised for the second portion of the day, as the entrepreneurs were given the opportunity to talk one-on-one to top industry mentors*, to gain tailor made advice to advance their endeavours. With each of the participatory attendee receiving $10,000 of AWS promotional credits</strong. valid for 2 years, $5,000 of AWS Business Support and $1,600 of AWS Training offered by Amazon, a main partner of the project.
As the 8th iteration of WER19, Berlin provided another mark of accomplishment for the Women in Entrepreneurship project, supported by on the day feedback from participants who said that the project exceeded their expectations and provided a more personal and human approach to entrepreneurship and investment.
The 8 roadshows of 2019, have provided the WER team with a clear mandate for success to make a vital and welcomed change within the startup and innovation ecosystems across Europe.
As EYIF prepares for 2020, and our next roadshow event, which will be held in the economic capital of Italy, Milan, on the 23rd – 24th January, we encourage you to keep an eye on our website and apply for the upcoming events for your chance to get involved and be a part of the Women in Entrepreneurship family.
*Mentors included: Jorge Muñoz, Marketing Director EYIF; Ofira Engelberg, Marketing and Business Development Executive-Israel Trade Center; Hillary Evans, Head of Finance and Operations; Irina Nikolovska, Head of The Family Begins; Margo McCullough, Founder and Managing Director M1 Talent; Leonie Moos, Head of Program at Grace; Virginia Palm, Venture Partner Thinkt Digital; Andrea Fernández, Partner at Auxxo; Val Racheeva, Founder and CEO Female Founder Space; David Schreiber, Head of Cards Products Stripe; Carina Thum, Key Account Manager and Project Manager Berlin Partner for Business and Technology; Karolin Erdmann, Startup Coordinator Berlin Partner for Business and Technology; Moritz Förster, Senior Communications Manager Openers; Anna Yukiko Bickenbach,Event and Program Manager German Tech; Fabiola Hochkirchen, Co-Founder Auxxo Beteiligungen; and Dr. Matthieu Voss, Coach Startup Incubator Berlin.