Thursday, August 2, 2012 | 12:03 PM
Germany has been home to many groundbreaking innovators -- Gottlieb Daimler, Werner von Siemens, and Heinz Nixdorf to name but a few. But those great entrepreneurs launched their business long before the Internet. As the Economist recently reported, Germany and the rest of Europe are struggling to breed digital entrepreneurs. “Most sources of capital will shun them,” the magazine wrote. “Regulations will shackle them. And when they fail, as most are sure to do, they will not be allowed just to dust themselves off and start all over again.”
Because we believe the Internet must help overcome these obstacles, we are launching a new competition for digital entrepreneurs. Its called the “Gruender-Garage.” Unlike many startup contests which focus exclusively on tech, Gruender Garage is aimed at early-stage entrepreneurs in any field. Having a great idea you can 'release early and iterate' will count for more than a polished business model when it comes to judging. Winners will be named in October, and Google will match successfully fundraised competition ideas until a prize pot of EUR 150,000 is depleted.
Our partners in this unique project include the Entrepreneurship Foundation and Indiegogo.
Berlin-based Entrepreneurship Foundation will run the contest’s initial learning phase. provide the online training materials. Its founder Professor Guenter Faltin is the author of the best-selling book “Head beats Capital” (Kopf schlägt Kapital), that gives advice to early-stage founders. He and his team organize an annual entrepreneurship summit in Berlin, where the winners of the Garage-contest will be announced.
After the learning phase, the contest will focus on funding. Candidates will seek their own capital through Indiegogo, the world's largest platform and pioneer in crowdfunding. Gruender-Garage represents Indiegogo's first localised platform developed for the European market.
Recession and the euro crisis means Germany and the rest of Europe need to encourage new business creation. As many big European companies shed staff, startups - born in a garage or somewhere else - can pick up much of the slack.