On September 2, 2015 the “Your City, Your Ideas – New Heroes in Rhine-Neckar” competition officially kicked off in the SAP AppHaus Heidelberg. In this competition, the crowdfunding platform SPONSORT has joined forces with the SAP Design & Co-Innovation Center, Volksbank Kurpfalz, and the cities of Heidelberg, Ludwigshafen, and Mannheim to search for people with creative and innovative ideas for the Rhine-Neckar region who don’t have the finances to make their ideas a reality on their own. In addition to the participants themselves, the event welcomed numerous guests from the world of arts, culture, and finance.

As the first crowdfunding platform of the Rhine-Neckar region, SPONSORT helps individuals, associations, and organizations realize their creative ideas with the help of enthusiastic supporters, communes and companies.

Its founding members Corinna Pape and Marco Müller opened the event with a short introduction, followed by a speech by Friedrich Ewald, CEO of Volksbank Kurpfalz on how the collaboration came into being. A voting phase of one month will start on September 20 on the SPONSORT homepage to decide the five best ideas of the competition. These will then be awarded prize money totaling €10,000 from Volksbank Kurpfalz. “The most exciting aspect of the event is its cooperative nature,” says Marco Neubauer, content manager at Volksbank Kurpfalz. “We want to support the region, and this platform allows us to do so long-term. SPONSORT has exactly the right approach.”

As part of the kick-off event, attendees could participate in a creativity workshop led by Leonie Fremgen, design strategist at the SAP Design & Co-Innovation Center, to learn how to turn their ideas into successful projects. The goal of this workshop was to encourage the participants to share their ideas and thus gain new perspectives for their projects. The participants completed various Design Thinking exercises in small groups, where they learned how to better identify their potential customers and attract different target groups.

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Among the many interesting projects presented that day was the Bicycle Workshop, an initiative that collects and repairs bicycles for and with refugees so that they have more mobility. The Kids World Cup project also works towards the better integration of refugees into German society, by organizing a mixed soccer tournament where German and foreign children play together. The Kulturhaus Karlstorbahnhof in Heidelberg had an entirely different concept with its Mixing Possible project. It needed a new mixing desk after the old one was damaged, and hoped the crowdfunding platform could help them cover the €32,000 price tag.

First feedback from the judges and founding members of SPONSORT

At the end of the AppHaus event, the judges (Frank Zumbruch (C-Hub), Jürgen Brückmann (Dezernat 16), Barbara Limbeck (gig7), and Jochen Koop (business design people)) shared their first impressions about the ideas presented. Although the final results will not be announced until the end of the voting phase (October 19), they had already singled out some favorites. The Kids World Cup project especially stood out to the judges for its great crowdfunding potential, as it offered excellent opportunity for regional companies to participate. The judges also noted that the refugee theme was very prominent: Among the nine ideas presented in total, only three concepts were not devoted to this topic. This prompted Koop to propose a closer collaboration between the individual initiatives and ideas. “This is where the phrase ‘There is strength in numbers’ applies,” he points out. The Mixing Possible project was also very well received by company and city representatives.

The organizers Pape and Müller were pleased with the course of the event as well as with the event’s location. Müller was impressed: “This is the first time I’ve been to the AppHaus Heidelberg and I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the workshop space for the first time a few minutes ago.” Pape agrees: “Looking back, all I can say is that the location really did improve the event. I don’t think it would have been quite as successful anywhere else. The workshop space here makes it very easy to manage large groups without a problem. I want to sincerely thank you for the good work you did on this place.”

SAP is glad to have been able to offer a suitable venue for such an important event for the Rhine-Neckar region. The AppHaus Heidelberg will continue to serve as an event location with special focus on innovation in the future, and we feel very privileged to be able to support such events.

Associations and organizations from the Rhine-Neckar region can participate in this SPONSORT competition by submitting a regional donation project until September 19.

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