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Berlin to go, english edition, 03/2019

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SERVICE TRANSFORMING

SERVICE TRANSFORMING IDEAS INTO SUCCESS STORIES The Enterprise Europe Network operated by Berlin Partner fosters small and mediumsized companies, in particular Text: Gabriele Schulte-Kemper Today the perfect idea, tomorrow the finished product; these days, it sometimes seems as if companies are bringing new products to the market at lightning speed. But it’s not always as easy as it looks. Companies need staying power, unrelenting motivation to navigate potential defeats and the ability to invest in prototypes, test their marketability and subsequently manufacture them. These things are often impossible without the backing of strong partners. Engineer and architect Bertram Thyssen speaks from personal experience. In 2001, he launched his architectural office in Berlin, thereby unknowingly laying the foundation for a successful product known as roometric 3D. The technology uses a smartphone for the non-contact measurement of interior dimensions, which is especially helpful in the case of hard-to-access building areas such as the surface of sloping roofs. “I first realized there was a great need for simple measurement solutions without large hardware while I was Photos: © photothek/Felix Zahn, © Frank Nürnberger, Studio10117, Berlin 26

working as an architect,” explains Thyssen. Calculating surface areas was part of his daily work back then, and the idea of making the process as simple as possible became his passion. After entering the first test phase, he began searching for a strong partner to provide that necessary boost for the ongoing development. “It costs money to start a company,” recalls Thyssen. At the time, he simply entered the word ‘Wirtschaftsförderung’ (business promotion) into a Google search; the results he got were Berlin Partner and Enterprise Europe Network. Thyssen’s request ultimately made its way to the team at the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN). The EEN has over 600 partner organizations in more than 60 countries; it is the world’s largest support network for small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) and has a European and international focus. “We’re networked with experts from all over Europe,” explains Elena Arndt, who has worked at the Enterprise Europe Network Berlin-Brandenburg (EEN BB) since 2004. “This network makes it possible for us to find cooperation partners for R&D, production, distribution and trade for companies on the European and global stage. We also provide support by supplying market information and helping to search and apply for EU funding.” This was exactly the case with Bertram Thyssen. In May 2013, his architectural office made contact with Berlin Partner for the first time via a federal service called SIGNO-Erfinderfachauskunft, and Thyssen presented his innovative solution for the smartphone-based measurement of interiors. In addition to helping him apply for the federal “SIGNO KMU” patent program, Thyssen and the EEN also discussed the funding opportunities available to him after the company was founded. The patent application was submitted in February 2014, and after the founding Engineer and architect Bertram Thyssen of roometric GmbH in January 2015, Thyssen received further assistance regarding business plans and prototype construction. The support measures offered by Berlin, which include the CoachingBonus, Innovationsassistent and TransferBonus, were considered as possible funding paths. “We then registered the patent for our product and received support from Berlin Partner for this step, too,” notes Thyssen. That was followed by an orientation session with the EEN where other funding opportunities were explored. Thyssen decided to apply for funds as part of the European program known as “KMU-Instrument” in the framework of “Horizont 2020.” “We accompany applicants through that process and provide support,” says EEN’s Elena Arndt. This funding allowed Thyssen to further develop a prototype as well as to acquire the first test customers and write a sound business plan. “We also looked for and found a suitable EEN coach to help Mr. Thyssen during this time,” says Arndt. After successfully completing Phase 1 of the “KMU-Instrument” as part of “Horizont 2020” with help from the EEN at Berlin Partner, Thyssen will soon move on to Phase 2 of the pilot program organized by the EU’s European Innovation Council so as to be able to finally get his product to market. Bertram Thyssen strongly encourages all small and medium-sized companies to look into and take advantage of funding opportunities. “Our experience of European funding is that it‘s quickly processed and payment is unclomplicated. We even got an email from one of our contact partners in Brussels telling us that there was one small item missing on our website. We fixed it immediately, and a couple of days later the money was on our account.” An email to the EEN can be the first step to success. Contact: Berlin Partner for Business and Technology Phone: +49 30 46302 195 · E-Mail: eu-beratung@berlin-partner.de 27

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