Originally, a one-week delegation trip of 10 Indian entrepreneurs to Berlin for the Asia Pacific Week (APW) and the Connecting Startup Cities conference was planned for 2020. The focus is on establishing personal and sustainable relationships between system-relevant actors, entrepreneurs from startups, small and medium-sized enterprises, investors, and political decision-makers, and serve to establish business relationships and exchange knowledge.
The delegation trips serve to get to know potential business partners personally and to discuss local conditions and trends of the respective market for possible collaborations between the participating entrepreneurs as well as a knowledge transfer. The participants will meet up to 150 entrepreneurs and ecosystem builders from the respective digital ecosystem visited at the networking events organized as part of the BLP in the respective ecosystem in India or Berlin. The content should focus on smart cities as well as on female entrepreneurship.
In response to Covid-19 and global travel restrictions, the project partners decided to change the format of the delegation trip from India to Berlin and have all activities take place online in 2020. The delegation trip was timed to coincide with the AsiaBerlin Summit, which was held as a hybrid event from Sept. 21-27, 2020.
Industry 4.0 and IoT were chosen as the focus areas. As usual, the delegation trip was advertised for about two months via the existing partners in India, former delegates, and via the social media of the partners. A total of 33 applications were received. After careful consideration, 12 founders were selected for the interviews and the actual ten for participation. For personal reasons, three selected participants dropped out at short notice, which meant that a total of seven founders took part. The complete list with the profiles of the participating companies is available on the AsiaBerlin website.
In the curation of the digital program – the first draft and the first implementation of a delegation trip in exclusively virtual form – the participants were involved in the design even more than usual. This was done by asking for their preferences regarding the schedule and type of meetings. Only two founders agreed to devote full working days to the format for meetings and content. The majority preferred a 2-3 hour program per day, which was subsequently reflected in the design of the virtual delegation trip.