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13 years of German Equity Forum: young businesses and capital providers seize opportunities even amid crisis


Around 150 young entrepreneurs requiring capital and some 250 interested potential investors met at the 13th German Spring Equity Forum, which was held at Haus der Wirtschaft in Stuttgart on 28 and 29 April. The Forum brings young enterprises that need equity together with equity providers, helping them to establish relationships, share experience and create new ideas.

Fifty selected newcomers presented their business ideas in brief presentations, and numerous intensive discussions were held at the stands about how to join forces in the future. The mood at the 13th German Spring Equity Forum was marked by optimism and dynamism - despite the difficult economic situation. The organisers expect a positive outcome this year as well. In recent years one out of every two enterprises that presented themselves at the Forum so far found an investment or cooperation partner within one year.

Organised by KfW Bankengruppe and Deutsche Börse AG, the Spring German Equity Forum is in its 13th year, and it is Europe’s leading marketplace for the
pre-IPO financing phase. The co-organiser of this year’s Spring Forum was the Ministry of Economics of the state of Baden-Württemberg.

“For our economy, young enterprises and the innovations they initiate are an important motor, and it is absolutely essential that it keeps running even during the currently difficult economic situation. So we are very pleased that the early-stage community has shown itself to be so active here at the Equity Forum. As important as it is to supply businesses with credit, we must not overlook their equity base. KfW is available to the actors as a financing partner, for example through the ERP Start-up Fund, but also as a fund investor and as an organiser of this established market place”, said Dr Axel Nawrath of KfW Bankengruppe’s Managing Board.

The economic crisis will not leave the equity market unscathed either, and it poses great challenges to both the equity providers and to businesses. Investors are called upon to advise their portfolio enterprises in their operations and to support them in opening up new international markets. This applies to established enterprises as much as it does to young technology firms. Promoting innovative young enterprises is an important avenue for overcoming the crisis and creating new growth. For this reason KfW will continue to maintain a firm commitment to the field of equity finance.

“At a time when debt capital is becoming increasingly scarce, enterprises must rely more heavily on equity capital. So we are facing a structural change in financing. Small and medium-sized enterprises in particular are therefore well advised to place their financing on a broader basis and to go alternative ways. The Equity Forum hosted by KfW and Deutsche Börse offers enterprises the best opportunity to prepare for this change”, said Frank Gerstenschläger, member of the Executive Board of Deutsche Börse and head of cash market.

The guest speaker at the Forum was Ernst Pfister, Minister of Economics of Baden-Württemberg, the state in which the Equity Forum was held for the first time. “A high-wage country like Germany cannot prevail in global competition unless it brings forth the right innovations. Without ideas there is no growth, and innovative ideas in particular need venture capital for their realisation. A strong market for venture capital is therefore an important prerequisite for the development of our economy. The German Equity Forum brings innovative ideas and capital together. It helps to turn good ideas into successful enterprises. What we need is not less but more venture capital from inside and outside Germany. I will therefore continue to champion the needs of the venture capital market at the political level”, he said.

Related links
Deutsches Eigenkapitalforum website (


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