Last week the Kickstart Accelerator program officially launched! Nearly 30 startups from around the world arrived at the EWZ Unterwerk Selnau in Zurich, Monday August 22, their new office location for the upcoming 11 weeks.
On Tuesday the startup founders were warmly welcomed by the Mayor of Zurich Corine Mauch in the Zunfthaus zur Waag, giving the entrepreneurs a taste of the entrepreneurial traditions of Zurich. Corine Mauch, a founding member of DigitalZurich2025, also reiterated how important innovation is for Switzerland. The founders also had many opportunities to ask questions and even take some selfies with the mayor herself.
The official kickoff to launch the program followed on Thursday August 25 at EWZ Selnau. Since the Kickstart Accelerator is the flagship project of DigitalZurich2025, the opening remarks were given by Marc Walder (President of the Steering Committee of DigitalZurich2025 and CEO of Ringier). In his speech he made a call to be radically innovative, and encouraged the entrepreneurs to make the most of the unique opportunity that Europe’s largest multi-corporate accelerator presents to them.
His talk was followed by a keynote from the US Ambassador of Switzerland Suzi LeVin who gave a terrific speech on how entrepreneurship is first and foremost about putting a vision into reality without being afraid of failure, and that doing great things is best achieved by collaboration between different actors; in the case of the Kickstart Accelerator, between corporates and startup founders and across industry sectors.
In 90 second intervals the audience also got a taste of what the startups would be working on over the upcoming 11 weeks. Each founder had the opportunity to give a short pitch in the verticals fintech, food, smart & connected machines as well as future & emerging technologies.
The EWZ Unterwerk Selnau was more than fully booked with C-level guests from each of the 10+ Global Partners, entrepreneurs, journalists, mentors, experts and of course everyone who has been working in the last months to make this program happen. The evening was rounded off by a performance of aerial dancers, good music and food as well as many inspiring conversations between the over 100 guests.