Open letter from German start-ups to Altmaier

The Minister of Economic Affairs caused a sensation when he announced that Estonian IT teams would be flown in should Germany fail to make digital progress. Now he has got an answer.

The Gustav Adolf School in Tallinn.

Sought it to be a provocation, a motivation, or both? When the Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier said at the beginning of the Hanover Fair that if digitization in Germany doesn’t really work, I would also be willing to fly in the best digital team from Estonia in order to make faster progress here, ”it made waves. Now, at the end of the virtual trade fair, some German start-ups are starting a counterattack.

In an open letter, the bosses of companies such as XignSys or Aware7 are not only irritated but also disappointed: “There are ideas and drive, even right on your own doorstep, in public administrations, at universities, in start-ups. But they also have to be asked and listened to. ”But there is a lack of that. German start-ups not only have ideas, but also marketable products. But this seldom gives them a chance, even for small public tenders.

Others are smarter

It’s different in countries like America and China. There, market access for domestic start-ups is specifically promoted by awarding public contracts. Government contracts also play an important role in Estonia. According to the latest “Baltic Startup Scene Report” from Crunchbase, this made the country a hub of a thousand start-ups, including a handful that are valued at more than one billion euros.

In the open letter from the German company founders, it says: “We have all decided to set up companies to develop digital identities as a key technology for the practical implementation of eGovernment and Smart City applications. Why do you not involve us in these acute questions, either with our passion for the topic or with our specialist knowledge, perhaps not even heard? “

Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (CDU)
Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (CDU) : Image: dpa

That was not unheard of at the Hanover Fair, which has just ended. After the trade fair was canceled last year, this time it was only held virtually. Gunther Kegel, President of the digital association ZVEI, said: “The trade fair has increased its technical competence.” Frank Riemensperger, Head of Accenture Germany, explained: “In terms of content, the level was as usual high, the panels exciting and diverse. But I missed the spontaneity that results in an exhibition hall: random meetings, unplanned stand talks, new contacts. In addition, technology that you can touch on site is a different experience. “

And Minister Altmaier? He should know what to do after his provocative or motivating call for digital help from the Baltic States. Estonia has had an e-Council since 1989 to implement its digital plans, a government CIO since 2008 and a ministerial IT development center since 2013.