At the interface of start-ups and established companies: In conversation with Madlen Dietrich, innovation scout for the UVB Business Associations Berlin-Brandenburg

03. January 2019

At the interface of start-ups and established companies

In conversation with Madlen Dietrich, innovation scout for the UVB Business Associations Berlin-Brandenburg

Madlen Dietrich, Kommunikationsmanagerin

Madlen Dietrich knows where to look for good ideas and how they channel into economic growth. She has been the innovation scout at the UVB Business Associations Berlin-Brandenburg since 2016. Her focus is on digital transformation. At the interface of start-ups and established companies, her curiosity and an affinity to all things tech help the qualified communications manager to take the right steps, foster ideas, and initiate joint projects. To the mother of a young son, language is a key success factor. Even the best ideas cannot be sold if they are not conveyed in a convincing and clear way.

Where do you find innovative business ideas?

I work in project management for the Business Plan Competition Berlin-Brandenburg (BPW), Germany’s largest regional business founding initiative, I am a jury member in various business founding programmes, including the start-up programme Adlershof Founder’s Lab, and I am a frequent guest at many events in the start-up scene. These are all great places to meet people with ideas.

What was the most exciting business that you have supported?

That’s hard to say because I am faced with many good ideas every year. I am genuinely impressed by the people behind the idea, how they present themselves, how they showcase their products, and how they inspire others. Whenever I see an ‘emmy’ in the city, the red electric scooter sharing service by the company Electric Mobility Concepts, I’m happy to see their team succeeding. I’m also impressed by the business acumen of the boys at Philosoffee GmbH – although I don’t even drink coffee. In a difficult terrain dominated by large coffee producers, their ‘Cold Brew Coffee’ really stands out.

How is your business acumen?

I would love to start my own business, but I haven’t had the right idea yet. Recently, I’ve been thinking about projects, for example, an electric-powered pram with integrated lights, mobile electricity for bottle warmers, and so on. Unfortunately, I am not really a tinkerer and unable to build something like that.

Children and career – how do you juggle both?

My son is six months old and I’m on part-time maternity leave, working from home. I often take him to events with me. This is quite natural in the start-up scene, but far from normal in business circles in general. However, I’ve recently had very good experiences. Attitudes are certainly changing. Starting in March, my husband will take care of our son. We agreed right from the beginning that we would split the parental leave between us.

Where does your tech affinity come from?

I worked in communications for a Berlin-based software company for eight years. I also like trying out new gadgets. I bought a virtual reality headset before everybody else.

What does courage mean to you?

Overcoming one’s fears. Starting a business involves many risks: no secure income, no regular working hours, often working 24/7. But if people are convinced of their idea, they should dare to jump into the deep end of founding a business.

Do you have any advice for potential business founders?

Always get feedback. For example, by having the BPW evaluate your concept or facing the questions of juries. Of course, having an eye on the market and your target group is also essential.

When did you first visit Adlershof?

That was at least 12 years ago. My first impression was that of an off-the-beaten-track industrial park without any restaurants or cafés. That image is very different today. Business founders in high-tech now have everything they need: the space and support for growth, networks, and talent.

What do you do in your spare time?

I am into photography. I love exploring by Berlin on foot and with my camera. I often discover surprisingly beautiful places where I expect them the least. As a contrast to city life, I like to take a break and unwind canoeing and swimming in the Feldberg Lake District in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. That’s where I grew up.


Interview by Sylvia Nitschke for Adlershof Journal