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MANNHEIM’S INNOVATION STRENGTH: WHERE GOOD IDEAS ARE BOTH TRADITION AND FUTURE

Car, bicycle, tractor – many ground-breaking inventions have come out of Mannheim. Some of them are among the world’s most influential innovations. Success through innovation is what Mannheim is all about. But why should that be the case?

Galerie der Innovationen
Galerie der Innovationen © Stadtmarketing Mannheim GmbH, Marcus Seip

Wide eyes, open mouths: between the Alte Feuerwache (“old fire station”), Capitol and Einraumhaus (“one-room house”), Mannheim residents and tourists alike take selfies in front of giant billboards, eagerly peer into colourful shipping containers and can sometimes hardly believe the endless spirit of invention that burns in Mannheim. This passion can be experienced right here on the Alte Messplatz (“Old Exhibition Ground”) through the major open-air exhibition “Gallery of Innovations”. Up until 5 December, you too will have the unique opportunity of discovering ten Mannheim innovations from the fields of culture, technology and science in an impressive setting.

Barockschloss Mannheim
Barockschloss Mannheim © Achim Mende

Car, bicycle, tractor – many ground-breaking inventions have come out of Mannheim. But did you know that Big Data is becoming Smart Data in the city of squares, that we can plan freshness and play Tetris with containers at the port of Mannheim? On the list of the most influential innovations worldwide, some of our ideas are very high up. Other Mannheim innovators have written their success stories more quietly, but have been no less forward-looking in science, technology or culture and have entered the history books in a revolutionary way. Success through innovation is something that is lived and taught in Mannheim.

At the city’s famous university, students learn at the highest international level how innovations are optimally protected and commercialised. How does successful start-up financing work? How does a corporate culture need to be structured in order to generate and promote ideas? And what is an “Innovation Roadmap”? In the stuccoed rooms of the Mannheim Baroque Palace, minds are burning.

Mafinex
Mafinex © Stadtmarketing Mannheim GmbH, Daniel Lukac

So it is no surprise that some of the pioneers of the current gallery of innovations pondered, researched and took their first steps as company founders in what are probably the most beautiful seminar rooms in Germany – among them the three young founders of covexo. Based in the MAFINEX Technology Centre, this IT start-up is currently revolutionising software development with a cloud-based solution. Admittedly, that may sound a little dry to the average consumer. But which of us doesn’t enjoy having the latest apps on our smartphones and efficient programmes on our computers? But what powers this spirit of innovation today?

Mannheim, Gründer- und Innovationsstadt
Mannheim, Gründer- und Innovationsstadt © Stadtmarketing Mannheim GmbH, Daniel Lukac

At the interdisciplinary Mannheim Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (MCEI), which is also located at the university, the three alumni are well known. Not so long ago, they were the ones who made contacts here as students, sought mentors and shaped their ideas. Today, almost two years after covexo was founded, they are regarded as a success story. In 2018, they received the MEXI Mannheim Business Start-Up Award in the “Digital Economy” category. Since 2005, this prize has been awarded annually to promising start-ups that distinguish themselves through “calculated courage”. By the way, winning the award is not easy, but Mannheim traditionally ranks at the top of the list of German start-ups.

Morgenstimmung
Morgenstimmung © Wolfgang Bantz | pixabay.com

Whether IT, creative industries or medical technology, whether native Mannheimers or newcomers: our city is driven by a passion for innovation and progress. It is this quality that inspires and makes Mannheim even more diverse. It is this that allows us to think outside the box by presenting us with fresh challenges. This passion constantly nourishes Mannheim’s fertile breeding ground for innovation and keeps our city on the road to success. Anyone who aspires to become something and achieve something, who has a vision and dreams of great things, comes to Mannheim. Here, they find not only a nationally unique range of municipal support services that provides specialised start-up centres, technical initiatives and moral support. Regular events such as the Startup Lounge or the MCEI Founder Talks also invite people to discuss, brainstorm, network and create together.

Mannheim Skyline Käfertal
Mannheim Skyline Käfertal © Northwind Filmagentur GmbH

Thanks to the fully developed innovation ecosystem, there are plenty of opportunities to get started in Mannheim. This is important, because new ideas can only grow and prosper if the framework conditions guarantee the optimum operating temperature. Success through innovation – as an important player on the economic stage, Mannheim has long understood this principle. Here, growth through innovation is not just actively promoted. Because when stakeholders and decision-makers are convinced, and when the new product has perhaps already gained a foothold in its market, it is high time to present the inventive “Made in Mannheim” genius to a wide public.

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