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Startup survival kit for Covid-19

TECHSCALE! EXB's techxpert Jewell Sparks outlines ways Berlin's startups can overcome the economic impacts of the coronavirus.

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Fuck Corona! Today, I received news that a friend of mine who worked in investments and was starting her own venture lost her life to this darn virus. This reality kicked me into high gear to provide a laser-focused perspective from the view of an entrepreneur this week. First and foremost, we all need money to pay rent, eat, support our passions, businesses and just to operate—PERIOD! Innovation is the future, so this week I wanted to highlight some financial solutions in place for Berlin startups, as well as a few resources to keep us fed and happy during these crazy times. 

Has Covid-19 put a dent in your business operations? Resources do exist.

Plenty of virtual activity and content is being thrown our way, but it’s difficult to sort through all the noise. However, Norrsken Foundation and Dagens Industri has launched Action Against Corona initiative, enlisting partners such as Nordeo, Facebook, Microsoft, PwC and AFRY. An extensive list of those founders and entrepreneurs who are willing to help during these crazy times is quite useful. The initiative’s goal is to identify and fund solutions that could help minimise the public health crisis of Covid-19. Make sure you apply for funding if you’re working on a solution that can aid societies during this crisis.

We’re all focused on the now, but it’s important to continue to support founders and solutions that can help us function and operate post-pandemic. On March 31, the German Startup Association, in collaboration with Curth + Roth, released results from their Corona Study which included info from 1000 startups. It was noted that nine out of ten startups in Germany have been negatively affected by the #stayhome #staysafe crisis. The association put together a four-step plan to help create a holistic plan for startups from all industries in order to protect jobs that have been created by startup innovators. 

How to handle a crisis? Create your crisis canvas

More than ever, we are realizing that crisis management needs to be incorporated into our business operations. EIT Climate-KIC published a great crisis assessment management tool to help startups bootstrap without having to feel so codependent upon external financing. Climate-KIC’s goal is to contribute to an inclusive, climate-resilient society, so their advice could not come at a better time. 

Show us the money

It takes money to survive. All of the studies and the potential opportunities are great, but HOW MUCH MONEY DO YOU NEED? It is great to know that people want to help, however help is only possible when business planning is done properly, and startups express their specific needs. If you are an early stage startup and your workers were still in freelance mode, then you were able to apply for the emergency aid program that included state funds and was executed by IBB, Bürgschaftsbank Berlin. The state of Berlin paid out more than €1.3 billion to approximately 140,00 people according to the Senator for Economic Affairs Ramona Pop. More information can be found out about that process by reading our recent interview with cultural activist Tim Renner. State funds are no longer available, but startups and SMEs with a maximum of ten employees can now apply for federal subsidies.

The German Economics Minister Peter Altmaier last week announced that a €2 billion booster program will been created specifically for startups. The money will help expand venture capital financing in order to ensure any financing that was promised will still take place.

“Startups should be able to continue successfully tinkering with their ideas in the current crisis. That is why we will now quickly help founders With a € 2 billion aid package, we are ensuring that this innovative growth industry with many thousands of employees comes through the crisis well. Funding rounds can continue with this help.” This was Federal Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz, according to the Ministry’s announcement. In the meantime, public venture capital investors at funds such as KfW Capital, European Investment Fund, High-Tech Gründerfonds will be receive extra funding in order to co-invest with private investors. 

The Munchies

We have all started to notice a bit of weight gain since our work lives changed. We just received word that Cell Garden has started an online shop to help you grow your own sprouts.  Founded by Marina Zeisler, Joe Teips and Alex Lier, this startup has adapted to the crisis by shifting its focus from their vertical farming kitchen solution to offering superfood startup kits. I have already ordered mine. 

That’s all, folks! Until next week….. In the meantime, stay home, happy and healthy. Bitkom has created a great platform for all of us innovators to stay posted during these crazy, yet eye-awakening times. Have some news you want to share? Ping me

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