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StartUps: Yes, the New Generation is Our Future

Spoiler: we do believe that younger people and startups are paving our future and that all businesses should support them with networking, events, and office spaces. See how START Berlin give their all for this goal.
START Berlin is an association of students that help startups and the young generation to start their careers, and EDGE Workspaces provides their community with an event location, offices, and networking possibilities.

In this story

It might sound obvious, but it isn’t. As much as companies are looking towards the future, planning on what to do to create a better world, trying to save the environment and aiming at total inclusion, the focus is not always set on the protagonists of the time to come. But someone is putting their effort into changing this once and for all – and they’re helping startups in our offices.

EDGE Workspaces X START Berlin

Who can have the strongest motivation to fulfil the needs of the oncoming generations, if not themselves? And who can give them the tools and the knowledge to do it, if not existing, successful companies? This is the project of the START Network: making sure that the right companies give the right opportunities to the right people.

And that’s how we come into play. At EDGE Workspaces Grand Central we support START Berlin by providing them with free spaces to reunite, organize their private meetings, and host memorable events for their network. Our offices and coworking spaces are available for them to unleash their true potential and help them in creating opportunities.

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It is to document this partnership and to help this project to reach an even wider audience that we sat down with Svenja Rössig, Head of Growth of START Berlin, for a long, insightful, and motivational interview

Let’s Start From START

“START Berlin is one of the many chapters of the START Network, operating worldwide with one mission: to bridge the gap between students and the city’s startup- and venture capital ecosystem. We want to equip them to be able to launch their own startup one day and learn about investing. In Berlin, especially, it’s difficult to get into this bubble, but we want to make it more inclusive. We want to enable anyone who wants to be a part of this to achieve it.”

What do you mean by “bubble”?

“I mean the startup entrepreneurial bubble – it’s different being in corporate or in a startup – in the early stages it’s really difficult to get a job, find a connection, a network, etc. That’s why we at START have a vast list of people that can be invited to create a connection between them and the students, like an introduction tailored to make things happen.”

When you say “we”, who are you talking about?

“All of our volunteers are students who, apart from studying, are possibly also working in their free time. All the events, trips, and trade fairs we organize and post on our social media look so cool from the outside, but they happen only because we actively pursue new opportunities with a lot of effort. We don’t like saying that we’re working, because we don’t get money out of this, but we do get a lot back, in terms of experience, exposure, and opportunities.”

START Berlin is an association of students that help startups and the young generation to start their careers, and EDGE Workspaces provides their community with an event location, offices, and networking possibilities.

How-To: Helping Startups

“We host a lot of events, workshops, and startup visits – which we call Startup Safaris. We go to a startup, visit it, meet the CEO and the founders, and have interviews with them. Then, they have the option to invite the students to recruit them directly. It gives them a chance to do all of this. These companies look for ambition-driven, intelligent people who want to make a change. They know that, by doing so, they can approach a pool of smart people, who could potentially be part of their business.

Moreover, both the companies and our STARTies post everything on their socials, which allows the students to reach new target groups, and the companies to spread the word about what they do. This helps the recruiting part as well.”

Prioritizing Younger Generations

Do you believe in this concept?

“I 100% do. The main question is how anybody cannot think so. Every person is born with a dream and develops the vision of how they imagine their lives to be like. Despite this, not every person is born with the same opportunities to achieve that. These are the generations, the youngsters, that are going to shape the future. We’re the next founders, CEOs, activists, the ones who can actively drive change in the future. In order to allow this, everyone needs to support. If we don’t do this starting from the bottom, there is not going to be any “way up”, any “top”. We need to foster young people to help building the future for each and every one of us.”

Businesses Step in, for Startups to Step up

“Companies and corporations exert influence on the entire business world. They know that, and sometimes they act accordingly, but sometimes they don’t. The best they can do is to give people a chance.

I see university students trying to get an internship in big companies and ending up doing it unpaid – that’s what I’m talking about. We find this ridiculous, exactly because those are the same companies that are moving a country’s economy, while using students who are putting in so much effort to keep up with their needs.

Another point is companies taking a much too closer look at diplomas and grades. We believe that they should take a chance on people, not on their grades. Grades reflect how well you learn, not how “good” you are on a whole. Skills, empathy, critical thinking… there’s so much beyond th at. There are also the street smarts: those people whose kind of intelligence doesn’t come from university, but by growing up, facing real life situations, seeing opportunities in everyday circumstances, being positive when everything is crumbling down. So many soft skills that schools can’t teach, on which companies are missing out by not taking a chance on them.

Some big advice for these companies is to really allow these people to grow. Businesses need to change themselves and the way they operate, mostly if they haven’t. These students can bring new ideas, different backgrounds, fresh air.”

START Berlin is an association of students that help startups and the young generation to start their careers, and EDGE Workspaces provides their community with an event location, offices, and networking possibilities.

Events as a Multi-Tool

What were the goals of the events you organized at EDGE Workspaces Grand Central?

“There were a couple of goals: at Future Pynk, we wanted to foster female entrepreneurship, inspire women to dare, to be there, to follow their dreams, and to connect with other female entrepreneurs.

Also recruiting is important, growing the chapter, showing people that we’re not only all about the business, but we’re also having fun, and that they should totally join us.

Another goal, in common with all the events, is for people to be seen and to make it easier for them to decide to pursue their dream career and life. We believe that if we throw these events and be like, “hey, we’re students, we’re doing all this, it’s cool, we’re talking with big founders, and if we can, you can too, either as part of START or by yourself”. You don’t need to be part of a big association to thrive, but it does make it easier. We want to show people that they can.”

Defining Success

“Since START was founded in 1997 we grew tremendously – we have Paris and Hamburg from last year, and we’re founding new chapters in South America as we speak. This is what gives the motivation to go on, and what defines whether we’re being successful or not. One day we’ll operate worldwide, which will create a new set of chances and opportunities for young people.

Regarding the events we held at EDGE Workspaces, the social media engagement defines our success, which we measure afterwards. Another achievement is the feedback we get, which is almost exclusively positive from everybody. New and long-term partnerships are also a measure: the fact that we’ve thrown multiple events at Edge means that we respected your space, that we’re grateful, and that we don’t take things for granted – and you recognized this. All the collaborations we have, speak for themselves. Basically, the growth is the measure – the growth of the network and of the partnerships.”

START Berlin is an association of students that help startups and the young generation to start their careers, and EDGE Workspaces provides their community with an event location, offices, and networking possibilities.

Coworking as a Synonym for Diversity

How does diversity influence the workplace, and how can the workplace influence diversity?

“Having many different chapters for us means collaborating with many different cultures and countries, which means new challenges but also new chances. That is the very same thing in a workplace. If you combine the best of all worlds, you really achieve the best. If we want to build an economy and a future of love, we need to foster understanding. This only happens if you engage interaction and collaboration – you’ll then realise that we’re all the same, with different upbringings and cultures, but the same, in essence.

Companies can profit from this too, because being different brings us the possibility to share new approaches. A diverse team means more skills and chances. Once the company understands this concept, they’re already contributing to this diversity.”

Workspaces that Grow with Your Business

“We have definitely seen a huge change in office usage since the pandemic – this is not a secret anymore. Many companies offer hybrid positions, or remote work only, and it’s not just a transitional phase for some of them anymore. Multiple businesses are being founded with a remote work structure only. This helps people to beautifully combine the work-life balance. If you, as a company, allow your employees to work from abroad, or to just not be in the workplace 24/7 (depending on the position), you allow them to grow personally, and not only professionally.

I see that EDGE Workspaces is also offering this to their members, because if you are an employee or a freelancer from a different city or country and find yourself in Berlin, you can work in such a beautiful place for a day or more. At the same time, you may get to know people from different areas, backgrounds, etc. That’s why so many people work remotely in coworking spaces or cafés. You don’t always have the same neighbour, or the same colleague around you. You can have different furniture and fancy couches, which you may not have in your office or at home.”

START Berlin is an association of students that help startups and the young generation to start their careers, and EDGE Workspaces provides their community with an event location, offices, and networking possibilities.

The Future is About to START

Just by reading Svenja’s words, one can perceive the motivation and the passion that move her and the whole network. This is what it means to us to believe in the future, to unleash the true potential of students, and to support the startups.

Follow the trend and reach out to START Berlin if you’re interested in their projects, and reach out to EDGE Workspaces if you want to know more about our event areas.

The opportunities are limitless – you just need to look for them in the right places.

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