Adlershof’s New Workspace
The Gründerwerkstatt is the anchor tenant of a new co-working space
They are all the rage: open spaces for working, networking and trying new things. Berlin is the world capital of co-working spaces and now the Technology Park has one its own. The newly-founded Gründerwerkstatt Adlershof, a start-up centre, is its anchor tenant.
The Technology Park now has a 550-sqm playground for creatives, freelancers, business founders, students and project groups from research institutes as well as established companies. In short, for everybody looking for a space to create new ideas. The new co-working space called “Im.Puls“ boasts more than 50 work stations in the basement of Rudower Chaussee 17 to provide an eponymous fresh impulse. They bring like-minded persons together, who can mingle over a cup of coffee and jointly create new projects, explains the project’s manager Ralph Langanke of WISTA-MANAGEMENT GMBH.
“We want to be more than a normal co-working space,” says Langanke. What are his plans? “Our idea is to create a space for culture, exchange and innovation, which is versatile and adapts to the needs of its users.” He also plans to host own events and projects in the future. “This is not a place you rent for a few hours. Our work stations are rented out for at least a month, often longer,” adds Marina Salmon, who is also on the “Im.Puls“ team.
Those that remember the rooms as the former canteen’s kitchen, will be surprised: light-coloured furniture, colourful chairs, wooden floors, transparent walls and many different stations create a feel-good experience for its users. Apart from the usual desks, wi-fi and printers, there are also cosy lounges, so-called think tanks for making phone calls, a workshop area and a meeting room. Ralph Langanke is particularly proud of a fully-equipped kitchen for cooking together.
Some of the co-working spaces have been reserved by Tobias Kirschnick for the Gründerwerkstatt Adlershof, a new business incubation project of WISTA-MANAGEMENT GMBH. Kirschnick is on the road a lot these days visiting start-up competitions and tracking down prospective business founders. He is a venture scout as well as the head of the Innovation and Start-Up Centre in Adlershof. He takes a sack of presents on the road with him that is filled to the brim with grants, workshops, coaching and mentoring at the new Gründerwerkstatt Adlershof. The bundle also contains a workstation in the brand-new co-working space. The focus is on technical and technological start-up teams. Isn’t that what the well-known EXIST programme of the ministry for economic affairs is for? “Yes, but that focuses on spin-offs from universities and other higher education institutions. Basically, we’re EXIST for Adlershof. We focus on spin-offs from non-university institutes and established companies, says Kirschnick. The funding comes from Berlin’s senate department for economics, energy and public enterprises and the European Social Fund. Up to three people per team can receive a monthly scholarship of 1,500 euros for one year. Forty such scholarships will have been given out by the end of the project period in December 2019.
To be eligible, the founders present a business concept and a prototype to be made market-ready. One of those founders is Johannes Jägers, a promising candidate for Kirschnick’s Gründerwerkstatt Adlershof. Jägers is a physicist, who is fascinated by human-like robots. His machine people are about three feet tall. They talk, move, perceive their environment and interact with it. Their main purpose is as a fascinating high-tech product for visitors at trade fairs and events. Contrary to his competition, his robot is ready to go and offers an array of useful functions at a fair price. Jägers is currently canvassing the feasibility of founding a company and its market potential. He could start in two months. He has also started to look for co-founders. “If Jägers and his team take part in the Gründerwerkstatt, we can reduce the economic risk for him in the beginning,” says Kirschnick.
Application for the Gründerwerkstatt’s is done online. After examination and evaluation of the submitted business concepts, it gets serious for the best among them: pitch day. The applicants pitch their ideas and try to convince a group comprising WISTA-MANAGEMENT GMBH staff, professors from non-university research institutes, Berlin Partner, the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the Business Angels Club and successful Adlershof-based founders.
When the applicants have overcome that obstacle, the only thing left to do before receiving the scholarship is to provide proof of lawful residence in Berlin. Apart from the pecuniary help, the teams of the Gründerwerkstatt receive training, support and access to the network of one of the best high-technology sites in Germany.
By Sylvia Nitschke for Adlershof Journal