Building Bridges to India: A start-up is bringing STEM specialists from India to German SMEs

05. September 2017

Building Bridges to India

A start-up is bringing STEM specialists from India to German SMEs

Markus Wiencke Adlershof. Bild: © Adlershof Journal

Markus Wiencke and his company Bluebilities moved into a new office at the OWZ Adlershof Start-Up Centre in May 2017. His goal: bringing German companies and Indian graduates from the STEM fields together – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – to improve cooperation between India and Germany.

After studying ethnology and completing a PhD in psychology, Markus Wiencke wanted to get something going between India and Germany. He visited the country for the first time during a backpacking trip in 1999 and was there last in 2010 while working on his dissertation. “I am interested in bridges between Germany and industrialising countries. Like China, India is a country that will influence the world in future,” says Wiencke. “What fascinates me about India is its diversity: the multitude of languages and religions. Unlike Africa, India has not been influenced as strongly by Europeans. Really exciting.”

India has 1.3 billion inhabitants, more than half are under 25 years old. Wiencke noticed that Germany is quite present in India. German classics are taught at Indian schools, including Kant and Habermas. “They have a very positive image of Germany and, I think, it works the other way, too.” This is not merely a cultural aspect.

India is wooing the German Mittelstand, the small and medium-sized companies in Germany. German engineering is held in high esteem, which is why most Indians who come to Germany study IT or engineering. Recently, both countries have been increasing cooperation on a political level, for example, on cyber politics. Bangalore in India is seen as the Asian Silicon Valley. German companies, including Bosch and Siemens, are opening branches in India and require skilled labour. “Their problem is,” says Markus Wiencke, “that India’s level of qualification is not as high as German companies require.” This is where Bluebilities comes into play. There is another side to the story: after Brexit, many more Indians are coming to study STEM fields in Germany. 14,000 of them in 2016.

Markus Wiencke has been planning to launch his own company for a long time. He is excited about building bridges between India and Germany. There is already a job fair for Chinese graduates. He wants to be the first to do the same for India – based in Adlershof.

The Bluebilities website went online just a few days ago, allowing people to register on a closed database. A matching process brings together the registered graduates with companies and higher education institutions.

If successful, the companies pay an agency commission as well as a monthly service fee. On the other hand, it saves the companies expensive assessment centres and costly preselection. Bluebilities also takes care of the so-called EU Blue Card, which Asians require to work in Europe. Wiencke also plans to offer coaching and mentoring programmes, prepare job interviews and mentor people in companies. He also plans on using the contacts in universities and companies for long-term cooperation projects. He is looking forward to this new endeavour and is already feeling quite at home in Adlershof.

By Jördis Götz for Adlershof Journal

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