In May 2018, AustrianStartups will be celebrating its 5th birthday. It started as a small grassroots non-profit initiative to make startups more visible in Austria and to help build an ecosystem to help them thrive. Since then, it has been one hell of a ride. Today, more than 30,000 social media followers, roughly 1,000 members and more than 50 partners make up our underlying support network. We have reached up to 160,000 monthly unique viewers on our communication channels, organized events for more than 10,000 participants in total and had an impact on several new government initiatives for startups by voicing the needs of the community. Since 2013, the Austrian startup ecosystem has evolved significantly and AustrianStartups as a living organization has evolved as well, trying to fill holes and implement suggestions from the community. As a result, if you ask five people what AustrianStartups does, you’ll probably get five completely different answers. So, to set the record straight, here is what AustrianStartups is planning for the future.
Our vision for the future
In 2018 we aim to regain focus and bring AustrianStartups to the next level, ready to take on the challenges of the years to come. It all starts with a belief we all share and have experienced first hand: Entrepreneurial thinking and acting are key for positive change. No matter if its a young entrepreneur, who wants to revive local bookstores in Vienna, a group of people who organize a non-profit job fair for refugees in Austria, or a few Ph.D. students launching a university spinoff working on a cure for specific cancer types. The more people feel empowered to develop solutions to problems instead of complaining about them, the better off society will be. In EU rankings, Austria has yet to reach competitive levels when it comes to entrepreneurial education and conditions. Our goal is to change this dramatically. In fact, our grand vision for the future is that entrepreneurship will be as common as skiing in Austria. This starts with nationwide skiing courses in schools and leads to Marcel Hirscher & Anna Veith tearing up the slopes in the Olympics.
The role of AustrianStartups
Ambitious goals need a team of collaborative players to make significant, sustainable change in a culture. We know we’re not alone in our efforts, but we believe we can play an important role. As an independent non-profit platform, we focus on three realms of influence: Inspire. Connect. Change.
First of all, we aim to motivate people to develop solutions for problems themselves and provide them with valuable information on how to get off the ground. We want to help people get a realistic understanding of what it means to start your own business or initiate an innovative project: hard work, high impact, and a steep learning curve, but also that it doesn’t mean making fast cash. Our goal is to expand beyond our current community and create content that inspires the broader public and speaks to all generations.
Secondly, we strive to connect founders, supporters, entrepreneurial minds and policy-makers and enable exchange between them. This includes our various existing event series (Stammtisch, Office Hours, Stakeholder Roundtables & Vertical Uncovered) and will be expanded in the upcoming months.
Third, we aim to research and analyse how Austria’s environment can change to give founders & entrepreneurial minds a greater chance for success. As an independent think tank that studies entrepreneurship and builds expertise around it, we will provide policymakers with comprehensive insights that have the power to trigger change.
*What AustrianStartups is NOT:
- A special interest group (“Interessenvertretung”) or lobby organization for startups. We believe there are already plenty of special interest groups in Austria. We see a broad horizon for improvement, reaching beyond the direct needs and viewpoints of startups themselves.
- An association of startups (“Startup-Verband”). We are an open platform and welcome everyone who shares our vision to join us as a member or to join the team as a volunteer. This includes many startup founders, but also various other innovative minds.
- A platform that is affiliated/associated with any political party or political movement. We have always been and will always be politically neutral.
Our future vision comes with a fresh brand – starting with our logo. We wanted to stay true to our roots, but also signal a new beginning. Without any further ado, meet the new look of AustrianStartups:
The first big project to launch us into this new era is already underway. In order to analyze current problems and identify potential solutions, we need much better, more comprehensive data. This is why we joined forces with several major institutions to create the Austrian Startup Monitor. Check it out here and (if you are a startup founder/manager) help Austria serve you better by taking 20 minutes to complete the survey!