Photograph: MTZ Accelerator, Munich
This week I had the pleasure of spending some time in Munich, as part of the Scottish Government Tech Mission to Bavaria. As part of the programme we were introduced to key organisations within the Bavarian technology eco-system from accelerators, investors, universities and government officials.
The mission was led by Paul Wheelhouse MSP, the Scottish Government Secretary for Business, Innovation and Energy, and included representatives from Scottish Edge Fund, Woman's Enterprise Scotland, Informatics Ventures, MadeBrave, Epipole, Sunamp, Machines With Vision, Freer Consultancy, MBM Commercial and Scottish Government Entrepreneurship team.
The programme in Munich involved meetings with the new IBM Watson IoT Centre at their new European HQ, introductions to MTZ Technology Centre, insight from BayStartup, a visit to CDTM University and a reception with Munich City Council, as well a meeting and presentation with BMW Main Board Director and Chairman of Rolls Royce, Ian Robertson at their BMW World Executive lounge, then a tour of their manufacturing plant across the road. The programme ended with a meeting from the Bavarian Government entrepreneurship department, where they provided great insight into the eco-system that powers Bavarian business.
It was clear from the short visit to Munich that Bavaria had a very successful business environment and that there exists great opportunity for collaboration and to build relationships with this part of Europe. All the hosts on the programme were very welcoming, open and appeared to show a genuine desire to do business with Scotland and indeed the rest of the world.
The various officials we met on the visit emphasised their success in attracting international companies to base themselves in Munich and their ambition to continue bringing industry giants to the region. The visit to CDTM University was a really interesting insight into the entrepreneurial culture that is being fostered and I was very impressed with their attitude to innovation and future trends, also shown by the extremely exciting presentation from BMW.
However, this programme was not all one way learning - throughout the visit our delegation had many opportunities to showcase what we're also doing in Scotland. Something which made me personally very proud, to see Scottish best practise being listened to very carefully by our Bavarian counterparts.
Scotland has the opportunity to establish links here and work alongside the local eco-system to share our framework in creating a collaborative and increasingly more sustainable eco-system. From this visit it was evident that Scotland is ahead in social inclusion and socially conscious business, as well as our joined up eco-system approach, which we share through ScotlandCanDo.
There are lots of areas to build on and I look forward to the Bavarian mission coming to Scotland next year, where we can all build on what we established this week.