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Networking for success in cross-industry innovation in Bavaria
The key to the success of any cross-industry innovation project is bringing the right partners together. Building a team involves seeing beyond your own nose. So networking is crucial to finding the diversity of skills and perspectives needed to create disruptive innovation.
Bavaria is known for its varied, effective and open networking platforms, a major factor contributing to its thriving culture of cross-industry innovation. These networks range from the so-called Cluster Initiative to new digital hubs to regional initiatives. Newcomers to these networks – whether you’re an industry insider or looking for a cross-industry innovation partnership are always welcome.
Peter Englert, Acting Deputy Head of Investor Services at Invest in Bavaria, looks back on over two decades of experience helping businesses succeed beyond their home turf. Along the way, he has learned a thing or two about tapping into networks to build advantageous connections.
Here are some insider tips from Peter on how to go about successfully tapping into these networks:
Know before you go
Before you start, be sure to clarify what you are looking for. Do you want to connect with potential customers, R&D partners or industry peers? Or are you looking for market intelligence, investors or suppliers? Peter Englert advises:
“If you already have a finished product to sell in new markets, you are going to need a different network than, for example, someone who wants to launch a major R&D project here. Knowing exactly what you want from a network is key. Identify your needs and objectives before you go out and start connecting.”
Find the right network
Bavaria has a lot of networks. So many, in fact, that the sheer number can be overwhelming. You might be tempted to connect with everyone. Peter Englert exercises a word of caution:
“The key to successful networking in Bavaria is finding the platforms that are the right fit for you. Otherwise, it can be frustrating. That’s why part of our service is matching our customers with the appropriate networks. Because if you’re new here, knowing which ones are the right fit can be a challenge.”
Meet in person
While the pandemic has put many events such as conferences, workshops and informal gatherings on hold, they form – just as they do everywhere else – an important part of the networking culture in Bavaria.
Peter Englert notes that “the informal part of networking is extremely important. Joining a network’s event is key to becoming part of it. Hopefully, the pandemic will allow for more in-person gatherings soon. In the meantime, I recommend checking the attendee lists of webinars and virtual events and following up with interesting contacts via LinkedIn or by telephone.”
Take your time
We may live in a fast-paced environment, but building strong relationships still takes time and effort. Peter Englert puts it like this:
“Newcomers often underestimate the amount of effort it takes to build a network. Realistically, it takes time, time that you must be willing to invest. I think businesses can learn from both start-up entrepreneurs and the research community. The most successful ones make a conscious effort to invest time in maintaining and growing their networks, both locally and abroad. In my experience, this always pays off.”
Get good advice
As the business promotion agency of the State of Bavaria, Invest in Bavaria not only provides information on the relevant sectors and technology networks but also sets you up with the right contacts for these networks or other experts who can point you in the right direction. This service is free of charge.
“Our team of experts has years of experience. We have helped many companies get a head start by connecting them with the right people,” advises Peter Englert.
- For information on accessing the Bavarian venture capital scene, check out this blog post.
- If you’re a start-up, our "Ois Easy" package has just the information you’re looking for. In addition to networking support, it offers a multitude of comprehensive services for founders.
- Here some background information on the Bavarian cluster initiative.
For an overview of some of the most important networks in key cross-industry innovation areas, download our fact sheets here: