BerlinWeek-Long Study Tour | Innovation & Entrepreneurship Program

Required Course(s)
Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Europe
Spring semester

This week-long Study Tour takes you to Berlin, a diverse, innovative city with a complex past. A 2015 Ernst & Young study ranked Berlin second – behind only London – among the most important European start-up cities. Berlin has a unique environment within which to study entrepreneurship, combining a low cost of living with an immigrant history that means over one-third of new entrepreneurs are non-German. The city’s well-known cultural heritage of technology, entertainment, and music has resulted in a ‘punk meets tech’ environment with business influences from fintech, cultural entrepreneurship, and science, to name a few.

Berlin start-ups include Soundcloud and ResearchGate, but larger companies such as Microsoft and Google both recently launched accelerator programs in the city. Gain an understanding of why Berlin has been nicknamed ‘Silicon Allee’ by learning about how local policies, new business funding, and development programs all contribute to a thriving community. Meet with those working in the field to add to your first-hand knowledge of the start-up process. In addition, understanding Berlin’s history and its own period of rebuilding will help us frame the city and its place in the global business landscape.

Tour Objectives

  • Compare and contrast the business environment of Berlin with that of Scandinavia and the United States
  • Further develop your own business venture ideas
  • Gain deeper insight into what makes Berlin a start-up rich environment as well as what challenges entrepreneurs face
  • Learn how German history has shaped Berlin as a modern city

Possible Activities

  • Visit an accelerator program such as Factory Berlin Campus co-sponsored by Google, Microsoft Ventures Accelerator, or Deutsche Bahn’s DB Mindbox
  • Hear from local entrepreneurs about mentorship, diversity, and networking both in Berlin and across Europe
  • Meet with companies such as WeWork, Clue, Delivery Hero, and Babbel to learn more about their journey
  • Meet with a Venture Capitalist, such as Early Bird, to gain insight into the strategies, criteria for investments, and what makes a good pitch
  • Access a local community by visiting Betahaus, GTEC (German Tech Entrepreneurship Center), or Cluboffice (a co-working space)