FROM: Baden-Württemberg, DE
KEYWORDS: local development, cluster, networking, cross-sector, ICT, technological transfer, business support
DURATION: 1997, running
INDICATIVE COST: budget 2013: 1,3 million Euro
FUNDING: private funds (members’ yearly fee), regional fund
FOCUS: ICT sector
Baden-Württemberg Connected e.V., or BWCON for short, is the top business initiative promoting Baden-Württemberg as a high-tech location. As one of the most successful EU technology networks, BWCON connects more than 460 companies and research institutes. Currently more than 4,600 experts are benefiting from systematic networking via the BWCON hub. The added value generated by BWCON is to be found in the possibilities offered by new cooperation projects and connections.
Bwcon is creating a base for the cross-sectoral usage of technologies and an interdisciplinary cooperation. The network promotes young and growing companies via the BWCON: CyberOne High-tech Award and the extensive counseling and coaching program Coach&Connect plus+ in the Network for Business Excellence. This includes an extensive range of counseling and coaching, events and workshops. The network’s BWCON: Coaching group consists of top-level entrepreneurs and top-notch managers who offer the knowledge gained in the course of their successful careers to young and medium-sized companies. These 26 active or former executives and managers in the high-tech sector possess a combination of experience and know-how which is of great value for young and medium-sized companies. Their services focus on the evaluation of business concepts, project-related coaching, support in the acquisition of funding and temporary management functions.
Among the different networking and exchange of knowledge opportunities offered by BWCON figure:
• dialog-events on current trends hold in member companies
• Business Lunch with short presentations
• Business Roundtable – discussion roundtable with experts
• Seminar – professional development opportunities on current topics and trends
• VC-Stammtisch – lunch with presentations on venture capital topics
• Special Interest Groups – working groups on specific topics

In the last years, BWCON started specific initiatives targeting companies from creative industries. Among them, special interest groups and dialog events on current trends hold in member companies. The aim is to connect companies working in this field and to offer them some specific services tailored on their needs. Creative companies and professionals in the BWCON network can benefit from coaching and mentoring programmes, consultation on specific issues as start-up of a new business, copyright management, access to venture capitals and in general access to finance. In the future some more specific program targeting companies working in the games and visual experience sector could be developed

SPECIFIC GOALS • BWCON offers a platform for the transfer of knowledge, experience and ideas
• It connects founders and start-ups with experienced managers
• It connects small enterprises with big companies and enables the growth of cross-industry cooperation and innovation
• It organizes events and training to foster the professional developments of its members, keep up with technologies and society changes and promote networking opportunities among companies and professionals
• systematic networking between market players (and among R&D and businesses
• platform for the transfer of knowledge, experience and ideas
• creation and progress in excellence of consolidated groups of excellence
• connection between founders and start-ups
• connection between start-ups and experienced managers
• non-financial instruments for supporting new technology-based businesses
• business support and training about new business, copyright management, access to venture capitals and in general access to finance
• market development based on innovations and scientific results
• cross-sectoral exchange contributes to serious and applied game sector development
TRANSFERABILITY AND SUCCESS FACTORS BWCON was not created specifically to sustain the games sector but since it mainly aims to support SMEs, start-ups and professional in the ICT and creative industries fields, many of its activities can be exploited as well by games companies. In particular, games companies within BWCON can benefit from networking with games and ICT companies, matchmaking with big companies, professional development opportunities, business start-up consultancy.
As BWCON can be considered as a good practices seems it connects companies working in the same field as well as companies coming from other branches in order to foster an exchange and create collaboration opportunities among enterprises. This can lead to new collaboration projects as well as to cross-sectoral exchange. Furthermore, BWCON offers to young professional and start-ups coaching and mentoring programmes, on matters as: business concepts, project-related coaching, support in the acquisition of funding and temporary management functions.
The project is not focused on video games, but on the creative industries.
QUOTATION “The Hightech Competition [Cyberone - Ed] offers young as well as established businesses the opportunity to quickly and effectively present to a wider public their innovative approaches and thus to increase their market opportunities.
In fact, only when our successful businesses keep on developing and new companies establish themselves in the market with innovative ideas, can Baden-Württemberg succeed in staying as strong and competitive as it is today." Nils Schmid, Baden-Württemberg Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance and Economy, during the 15th Anniversary of the CyberOne Award