With InnoCow, we have won the First Prize at the founders’ competition Digital Innovations. Brigitte Zypries, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, presented the award to us today at CeBIT in Hanover. We were able to assert ourselves against almost 300 competitors. The award, which is endowed with 32,000 euros, was given to us by State Secretary Dirk Wiese. With the founders’ competition Digital Innovations, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) awards prizes to innovative start-ups in the area of information and communication technologies.
Keeping it short and sweet
Unlike other founders’ competitions, this competition has two phases. At the end of each phase, the participants receive feedback from a jury of experts. We believe that the feedback in the BMWi competition Digital Innovations really stands out and is hugely important for prospective founders. Without this feedback, you could, of course, be happy about having won or unhappy about having been rejected. But normally you never find out which issues were the ones that determined this decision.
In the first phase, we uploaded our conceptual proposal online. We believe that this is already where the first challenge was “hidden”. During the time prior to the actual founding, many contents and ideas are elaborated in a team. Writing all this down on a maximum of 15 pages is not an easy task. To paraphrase the German poet Goethe, it cost us some time to sum up our business plan in a nutshell within this limit. Following phase 1, we received a SWOT analysis as feedback.
Out of 306 submissions, the 50 best proposals were nominated for the second phase. So we got the opportunity to review our submission based on the feedback. For the first phase, we had put the focus of our proposal more on the economic feasibility and the “business” behind InnoCow. According to the jury, this meant that we had described the technical side in a rather too abstract manner. Therefore, more of the technical concept had to be included in the proposal in order to make our proposal tangible and understandable in this regard as well. At the same time we were not allowed to exceed the page limit. This meant that we had to shorten our proposal once more without losing content.
InnoCow and other Digital Innovations
In the end, the jury selected our business idea and awarded us a first prize. We are thus one of the first award winners of the founders’ competition Digital Innovations. The competition is a new initiative by BMWi and started with the 2016 round, which we were able to win right away. In addition to the prize money as starting capital for the founding of one’s own company, all prize winners will receive comprehensive coaching and mentoring. In addition to our sensor collar for dairy cows, other exciting ideas also received awards, ranging from automatic measurement of the remaining lifetime of vehicle components to the exact determination of the lens position. Digitization thus does not stop for anything or anyone, not even for dairy cows.
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"InnoCow is funded unter the project name BlauCow within the EXIST program by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy and the European Social Fund."