In July 2022, the Federal Government adopted the first Startup Strategy with a whole series of concrete measures. Essentially, it is about improving the chances of startups in terms of competition and strengthening the economic power.
Measures to strengthen the market opportunities of startups
A total of 10 measures were formulated in the Startup Strategy:
- Strengthen financing for startups
- Make it easier for startups to attract talents - Make employee-capital-participation more attractive
- Ignite the startup spirit - make business-founding easier and more digital
- Strengthen female startup founders and diversity in startups
- Facilitate startup spin-offs from science
- Improve the framework conditions for public-interest startups
- Mobilise startup skills for public procurement
- Facilitate access to data for startups
- Strengthen real labs - facilitate access for startups
- Putting startups at the center
On the BMWK website, interested startups can find the contact points of the Federal Government and the federal states as well as the subordinate authorities. The Federal Government will continue to promote the networking of all stakeholders and encourage the dialogue, especially between the Federal Government and the federal states. The aim is to integrate startups into a network of interconnected actors and institutions, to push forward the dynamics in knowledge exchange and to contribute to the dissemination and use of new ideas, technologies, products, and services.
KOINNO supports the Federal Government in the implementation of the Startup Strategy by mobilising startup competencies for public procurement (point 7 of the Startup Strategy).
More opportunities for startups in public procurement
The public sector as a client with its huge procurement volume of more than 350 billion euros per year has a significant role to play because tenders open interesting business fields, new sales markets and potential for research and development projects for startups. However, this does not happen by itself. The effort that startups must make is great in order to gain visibility and perception among public procurement entities. In addition, the obstacles are numerous, as the requirements for suitability are often high in terms of turnover figures, references, number of employees and further criteria.
Tendering for startups - the perspective of public-sector clients
What is the reason that startups have so far been given little consideration in public tenders? Innovation-promoting instruments are only partially known in public procurement organisations. These include the choice of tender procedures with a high level of dialogue as well as the "smart" structuring of the qualifying criteria. Often there is also a lack of market knowledge to prepare a tender.
KOINNO therefore recommends public procurers:
- to conduct extensive market research and discuss with potential suppliers to familiarise themselves with new types of products. And document this thoroughly for the contract award files.
- to create tenders that are suitable for innovation through functional specification of services, lot formation and allowance of side offers.
- to reduce requirements and formulate them smart by balancing proportionality and legal requirements.
- and to actively inform the market in advance about current tenders.
Tendering for Public Contracts - Startups' Perspective
Communicating with the public sector and making their innovations visible before tendering are the essential tools for startups to increase their chances of winning public contracts. It is about introducing and presenting their innovative products and solutions to public clients. It is a strategic business decision for startups to focus on and actively develop the public sector as a targeted customer segment.
KOINNO activates startup competences for public tenders
By focusing on point 7 of the table of actions in the Startup Strategy, KOINNO supports the objectives of the Federal Government and thus strengthens the chances of startups.
With the following services we contribute to point 7 of the table of actions:
The new market research tool KOINNOvationsplatz
KOINNO successfully launched the digital marketplace described in the Startup Strategy in December 2022 as "KOINNOvationsplatz". The platform is like a "digital showcase" where young companies can present their business. In this way, KOINNO supports the young startup economy in making their innovative solutions better known to the public sector - on the one hand with a cost-free presentation on the marketplace of innovations and on the other hand with the possibility of participating in "challenges" (digital market surveys of public clients). The advantage for public procurers is, among other benefits, to identify and get to know innovative solutions that they were not previously aware of.
In den Beratungen legt KOINNO im Sinne der Bundesregierung klar den Fokus auf innovative Beschaffungsinstrumente sowie auf mittelstandsfreundliche Ausschreibungen für mehr Vergaben an Startups und innovative kleine und mittlere Unternehmen. Dabei wird noch stärker für lösungsoffene Ausschreibungen mit funktionalen Leistungsbeschreibungen geworben. Das Besondere daran ist, dass Kreativität und Innovation auf Seiten der Unternehmen gefördert werden, da zwar das Ziel und der Lieferumfang, aber noch nicht die technische Lösung vorgeben werden.
KOINNO consulting services
In its consultancies, KOINNO clearly focuses on innovative procurement instruments as well as SME-friendly tender offers for more awards to startups and innovative small and medium-sized enterprises. In this context, there is a stronger promotion of open-solution tenders with functional specification of services. The particularity about this is that the creativity and innovation on the company side is being encouraged, since the goal and the scope of delivery are specified, but not yet the technical solution.
The cost-free playbook provides targeted information, tips and resources (e.g. checklists) to help startups and young SMEs enter the public sector.
KOINNO e-learning and certification
By the end of 2023, two further services will expand the portfolio for providers: The e-learning specifically for innovative companies provides profound information on how to deal with public tenders and is a.o. dedicated to the (legal) framework conditions. Within the context of the three-stage certification, companies will also soon be able to be certified as innovative and approved in their work with the public sector.
Startup Procurement Index reveals
With the new Startup Procurement Index, KOINNO, together with Staat-up e.V., is implementing the Federal Government's objective of using systematic evaluations to record the development of the consideration of startups in public tenders and to make it transparent.
GovTech solutions for the public sector
The Federal Government supports the "Procurement for Government" program of the GovTech Campus Germany. GovTech stands for Governance Technology and includes digitalisation solutions for the public sector. KOINNO was involved in the GovTech Innovation Sprint "Open Innovation Platform" in summer 2022. The project was an agile format for developing new ideas to make digital procurement solutions centrally accessible for administrations from the federal, state, and municipal governments. The focus is on testing innovative technologies, software, and digital solutions in a legally secure framework, thereby opening up new learning spaces.
With the KOINNOvationsplatz, the consulting services as well as new digital tools and services especially for startups, KOINNO provides a significant contribution to the implementation of the German government's startup strategy and supports innovative public procurement as a strong instrument for achieving the innovation policy goals anchored in the coalition agreement of the German government.
What else might interest you
Publication: Startup strategy of the Federal Government