Berlin’s tech ecosystem is rife with resources, and the new non-profit aims to open this up to first-generation immigrant founders, who might be facing language or bureaucratic barriers or simply don’t have access to funding.
“Among the people who left their belongings behind to come to Europe are many movers and shakers who take their fate into their own hands and who are prepared to take risks. This is the perfect basis for becoming an entrepreneur,” says Hendrik Brandis, co-founder and partner at Earlybird. Plus there’s the huge economic boon, lying in wait. “Almost half of all unicorns in the United States were founded by immigrants or their children. We have not yet sufficiently realized this enormous potential in Germany. The Vision Lab intends to change this,” he added. The six-month program includes workshops and seminars (covering operational skills such as business modelling, team building, customer acquisition and pitches) and individual mentorship. Especially important will be the networking events, which can bring the founders into a wider tech ecosystem and set them up with future business contacts.
On the financial side, Vision Lab has secured a €1 million fund, privately financed by Earlybird’s partners and others, which will be meted out in €25,000 cheques.
The mentors will come from Earlybird and Bain, as well as Google for Startups, Handelsblatt Media Group, Sky Startup Team, WHU-Incubator Otto Beisheim School of Management, HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management, Bucerius Law School, Unicorn Labs, and the law firms Pöllath+Partners and V14. Applications are currently open, with instructions on the Vision Lab website.