Start of the Westerwelle Young Founders Programme Spring 2019


A week filled with networking, learning and sharing ideas, expertise as well as personal stories with another inspiring cohort of Westerwelle Young Founders lies behind us marking the start of the Westerwelle Young Founders Programme Spring 2019.

From 2nd to 6th of April the Young Founders coming from 17 countries improved their pitch with Pitch Doctor Christoph Sollich, worked on their growth strategies with Sinan Keles and got a better understanding of the legal tools available to protect founders’ interests in a workshop with Frank Hildebrandt. Moreover, they met with international investors Rachel Crawford (Village Capital), Marc Penkala (Mountain Partners), Dominic Wilhelm ( and Erick Yong (GreenTec Capital Partners) who shared their insights on what it is investors are looking for in a startup and do’s and don’ts in a pitch deck. Etienne Salborn, founder of the Social Innovation Academy Uganda (SINA) and Westerwelle Young Founder 2016, spoke about personal motivation to support change and shared alternative models of leadership and group organization with the participants. Very well received was also another fireside chat from Julia Derndinger with Samir Mirza, who sold his company to Twitter and spoke about his learnings during this entrepreneurial journey.

One of the main parts of the conference was again the mentoring kick-off where the Young Founders met their personal mentor for a first session to get to know each other and work together on a milestone plan for the upcoming six months. Mentors – experienced founders themselves – support the Young Founders throughout the programme as a sparring partner and discuss upcoming challenges and opportunities in monthly calls. Mentors willing to share knowledge and support the Young Founders in this cohort are among others Coletta Riediger (co-founder All4Schools), Friedrich Hubel (Co-founder Lendico) and Emanuel Pallua (co-founder Foodora).

Besides being supported by an experienced mentor, the Westerwelle Young Founders Programme is also about building a strong network of like-minded startup founders supporting each other on the entrepreneurial path beyond the duration of the programme. Therefore, part of the conference already focused on working in peer groups and discussing existing challenges in a secure and supportive group. Although the week was work-intensive there was also some time to explore Berlin and enjoy the time with the international group. A walking tour as well as a boat trip to see Berlin from the water topped off the conference week.

The team of the Westerwelle Foundation would like to take the opportunity to thank all speakers, mentors and participants for contributing to yet another very successful Westerwelle Young Founders Conference. We look forward to working with you and shaping the next six month of the Westerwelle Young Founders Programme.