IoT+ members invest almost 1m € into IoT tech talents to tackle the skilled labor shortage

Written by:

Fridtjof Gustavs

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For fast growing Star-Ups like our IoT+ Member Staex (1.65m € Pre-Seed) and 1nce ($50m investment by Softbank and partner) access to money is crucial for their growth and future success. But what to do when investment rounds are successfully completed and it’s still a challenge to hire great talent to develop exceptional technologies? Finding young talent that has practical skills and can turn theoretical ideas into real products is critical to the adoption of innovative IoT technologies, whether it’s a startup, an SME or a large enterprise. According to Bitkom, today in Germany there are 96.000 open positions in the field of IT. The fact is, the IoT industry needs to invest in young talent who can invent forward-looking technologies in their own startups or in large teams. This is the only way we can get closer to the goal of MotionLab.Berlin to create a future with hardtech innovations that is exciting.

But what can be done today to support young IoT talent?

A key competence of the IoT+ network is to bring the right experts to the table. Discussions were held between our members MotionLab.Berlin and CODE University of Applied Science. The former is a hard-tech innovation center that offers easy access to machines and workstations as well as tailored startup programs; the latter is a private university for digital pioneers that focuses on interdisciplinary practice and project work rather than teaching theory.

Together with the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK), the IoT+ Network supported MotionLab.Berlin and CODE University of Applied Science in developing an innovative, two-year program and provided over €0.8 million in funding to empower the IoT talent of tomorrow. The result is a tailored support program: MakeUp IoT empowers 130 students over a two-year period in four batches to bring their ideas to life, helping them build a secure foundation for their future entry into the IoT industry. By promoting young professionals, the aim is to strengthen Berlin as a technology location and highlight the state’s innovative strength.

The results are already visible today, for example the sound and light startup Aulios or the Windbox project, which focuses on predictive maintenance systems for wind turbines. But creating startups and raising money are not the main focus of the program.

With our IoT education program, we are laying the foundation for future IoT pioneers to learn how to technically implement their ideas by providing them with the optimal tools, methods and expert knowledge" Nadine Obermeier from MotionLab.Berlin.

Today, the program includes: monthly hard tech coaching with a designated hard tech prototyping coach, machine and prototyping workshops, business workshops, access to experts in the IoT+ network, budget for prototype building, and most importantly, the experience of learning by doing combined with excellent knowledge from CODE University of Applied Science. In 2021, 38 students had the opportunity to present their ideas and build prototypes. The results are surprising:

  • an improved, interactive method of learning to play the guitar,
  • a system for predictive maintenance for old wind power plants,
  • an acoustic monitoring device for measuring biodiversity in the environment,
  • a smart device, that measures the energy needs of larger buildings,
  • a midi controller that projects instrument keys into a single setting,
  • a device to optimize the work environment at home,
  • a solution that automates light shows and eliminates the need for lighting technicians.

Now we have moved on to batch #2. 30 participants will present 10 different projects at the MakeUp IoT DemoDay on May 24. Tayla Sheldrake, Head of Startup Success, says MakeUp IoT is one of the most beneficial programs of MotionLab.Berlin.

"During the first round, teams not only participated in electronics, 3D printing and laser cutting workshops, but also developed their skills in user/customer testing, business modeling and pitching. The confidence this program has given them will undoubtedly have an impact on future digitization in Berlin and Europe. And the best part is that we will have 2 more batches. After only one year, we are seeing great success with students. Spin-offs and innovative projects are proof that students are learning applied skills to invent and implement technologies. We at MotionLab.Berlin are ready to invest around 0.5 million euros in MakeUp IoT again."

In the IoT+ Network, we encourage our members to join forces and fill industry gaps – in this case, the need for skilled workers given the rapidly growing demand in IoT. MotionLab.Berlin develops strategies to integrate partners into the MakeUp IoT program. Your expertise and good practices could be key to making this program design sustainable. Please contact us to learn how you can connect your own ideas to the MakeUp IoT program!

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