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Konica Minolta, one of the leading service providers for IT and document processes, continues its engagement in the international startup community, partnering with Pioneers Festival for the 5th year in a row. For the upcoming Pioneers Festival in 2016, Konica Minolta becomes partner of the Pioneers Challenge and the field of "Business and Productivity".
The Pioneers Challenge is the annual start-up competition which aims to find the most promising start-ups across seven ecosystems worldwide. The focus ecosystems are: Materials & Manufacturing, Financial Services, Energy & Utilities, Life Sciences & Agriculture, Mobility & Transportation, Lifestyle & Entertainment as well as Business & Productivity, the ecosystem of interest to Konica Minolta, for finding start-ups to collaborate with.
Start-ups from around the world are able to enter the festival challenge since the beginning of November 2015, by first applying to the Pioneers500 program. Over 300 start-ups already applied and Pioneers is estimating around 3,000 applications to be submitted by end of March 2016, when the application process closes. Selected start-ups are invited to participate in the challenge at Pioneers Festival in May 2016.
The Pioneers500 program is an annual index of the 500 most promising early stage tech start-ups. The program was introduced to focus on innovative start-ups, which aim to build a better tomorrow, and support them with the full bandwidth of available means, including the costs of two event tickets per start-up. Out of the Pioneers500, 10 start-ups per ecosystem are selected by a jury of industry experts, including experienced VCs like Accel Partners, accelerators like 500 Startups and serial entrepreneurs like Siri founder Adam Cheyer. These 70 start-ups will get additional mentoring, training, access to investors, corporate partners, media, and the alumni network, as well as exposure at the Pioneers Festival, where they will pitch to become “Pioneer of the Year”. One of the Pioneers Challenge jury members will be provided by Konica Minolta.
Structuring the festival and the challenge along seven ecosystems makes it easier to support start-ups with the right means and connections. A special focus is on facilitating start-ups and established partner corporations, like Konica Minolta, to build business relationships. "This is where we step in. We want to continue the success story that started back in 2012 and further empower these start-ups with our worldwide network, resources and knowledge to realise their innovations successfully," says Olaf Lorenz, General Manager International Marketing Division, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe. Selected start-ups, from the “Business & Productivity” innovation space, will be invited to collaborate with Konica Minolta.
Being an innovative IT services provider, Konica Minolta sees great potential in the start-up community as a driver for co-innovation. It provides infrastructure and access points for working with start-ups in 4 Business Innovation Centres, to the extent of finding new businesses and technologies and helping them accelerate.
Pioneers CEO Andreas Tschas expresses the importance of the partnership with Konica Minolta, "We are proud to say that we have a long and strong relationship with a company which, on the one hand, has an experience of more than 140 years, and on the other, is such an innovative and forward thinking institution when it comes to start-ups. 'Giving shape to Ideas' is not just a tagline but a promise. Back when we were a start-up, Konica Minolta supported us too. Now we can help start-ups together."
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