InnoPartner 2022 network meeting

"Problems can never be solved with the same way of thinking that created them." - Albert Einstein

Our most recent event took place as part of the LEADER project: "InnovationPartnerships Kraichgau" took place at innoWerft on 26 July. The special thing about it: it wasn't the start-ups that pitched their products - this time it was the SMEs who were given one minute to promote the young entrepreneurs' business models as convincingly as possible in front of a large audience.

"German SMEs are the backbone of our economy." - Everyone has probably heard this or similar phrases - and that German SMEs lack digital innovation. That's why we, from the innoWerfttogether with the HubWerk01 from Bruchsal the InnovationPartnerships project for companies and start-ups in Kraichgau. The project is organised by the Economic development of the Rhine-Neckar district in partnership with the Bruchsal Regional Economic Development Corporation (WFG). Together, we initiate and support co-innovation projects with SMEs, particularly in rural areas. Together, we want to think outside the box and look for solutions to strengthen the innovative power of German SMEs.

The network meeting for SMEs and start-ups was another important step towards the future. Around 80 representatives from medium-sized companies, regional and municipal business development organisations, our marketing partner, the Federal Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and the IHK Rhine-Neckar and the founders of twelve selected start-ups. The aim of the event was to share the experience gained so far in the context of InnoPartner and to bring SMEs and start-ups together for further projects.

At the startup rally, participants had the opportunity to gain an overview of the exhibiting startups, get to know the founders and find out about the innovative business models. An attentive ear was required here, as this was followed by the presentation round. The SME industry representatives had 60 seconds to pitch "their" startup to the audience. Not that easy - and yet they all did it brilliantly.

This format - also a novelty and a risk for us - gave the matching discussions a completely different meaning: fears of contact were quickly pushed aside, questions were asked about questions and there was also tension in the air during the presentations, which lasted until the end of the event. Not only the representatives of the companies and institutions were very impressed by the new event format, the start-ups were also enthusiastic.

"New technologies and methods are helping companies to master the coronavirus crisis. We are supporting them with the InnovationPartnerships project by bringing them together with start-ups in a targeted manner," said Sven Weigt, shareholder of WFG and mayor of the municipality of Karlsdorf-Neuthard.

The fact that the event was a complete success is reflected in the InnoPartner projects, the current status of which was presented at the network meeting: "The UBP for example, has teamed up with a Freiburg-based start-up to digitally reorganise the development process for municipal energy concepts. Or Junker filterwho, together with a Dresden start-up, have set out to use a toolbox suitable for SMEs to keep the expertise of the heads in the company and make it more accessible between departments. The NSG Nakagawa + Sauer Co. GmbH from Helmstadt-Bargen, a manufacturer of silencer components for combustion engines, has gone through a steep learning curve over the course of the project and developed a completely new product using start-up methods." - According to the official Press Release to the event.

The InnovationPartnerships concept was presented by project manager Julia Sliwinski from the Rhine-Neckar district's business development department together with Peter Gräser from innoWerft and Stefan Huber from the Bruchsal regional business development organisation. It offers companies individualised support with expert assistance from the project partners and financial support from EU funds. Further information can be found on the Project website or by Peter Gräser (


LEADER-Kraichgau, Innovation Partnerships project